Talking versus Tweeting

Social media IS two-way conversation. It’s all about listening, engagement, and conversation. In its most productive form, it is a give-and-take method of communication, meant to stimulate conversation. Social media is anything BUT a microphone.

So many businesses (and individuals) who have realized the value of this two-way communication platform are anxious to get on Twitter and start posting and sharing content. Individuals and businesses find relevant content, keep their self-promotion posts to a minimum, and start scheduling tweets to go out daily. Bam! They’re “doing” social media.

But…are they doing it well? Are they remembering the all-important conversational component?

Personally, I realized that I am often SO focused on sharing content, constantly retweeting my favorite PR- and job-related posts through Twitter communities like #prssa and #prstudchat that I neglect the conversational aspect. Instead of thanking each individual who retweets my posts or striking up conversation about a tweet or article, I turn my attention to new material and new content. It’s not that I’m becoming a dreaded social media narcissist and promoting only my content, but I am neglecting an important aspect of Twitter — fostering innovation and conversation.

A few weeks ago, I retweeted an article I came across in #prstudchat about tools you can use to strengthen your Twitter presence. A few minutes later, PR student and current Communications and Marketing Intern John Muscarello sent me this tweet:

He was a starting a one-on-one conversation with me about an article we obviously both liked and learned from. He wasn’t trying to increase his Klout score by pushing out more content. It wasn’t really about tweeting. It was about talking.

The ultimate goal is for tweeting to be like talking, and no one wants to strike up a conversation with a “boring” talker. Oftentimes, I find myself reposting an article by simply re-typing the title, throwing in the link and maybe a few hashatags, and hitting “send.” Instead of reading the article to pull out one interesting “hook,” I’ll simply post it as is. For example, this week PR Daily posted this article about 20 things every PR pro should know how to do. It was chock full of content and immediately, PR students in communities like #prssa, #prstudchat, and #pr20chat began retweeting it. Normally, I would retweet it as well with the standard title, “via @____,” and add a hashtag at the end. However, as I was beginning to learn, that’s a little boring.

So, I took the time to be more of a talker than a tweeter. I found my favorite part of the article and used that to promote the article instead:

As Jay Baer said, we can’t measure a single tweet. That would be equivalent to trying to measure only the first words of a conversation — For example, only the “Hi, how can we help you?” That doesn’t mean much. But, if you look at that first question as the starting point of a larger conversation, you can begin to quantify such measures. You can begin to connect rather than just tweet.

How do you make sure you are talking rather than just “tweeting?” What are your tips for engaging in conversation via social media?


About Abby Ecker

PR pro and healthy living blogger in the First State
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2 Responses to Talking versus Tweeting

  1. Love this blog. I’m also someone who is always tweeting content, but normally I don’t engage about that content unless someone responds to it. I primarily engage during chats, so I need to work on that throughout the week as well!

    Good one. 🙂

    • Abby Stollar says:

      Thanks, Melissa! I know that I retweet a lot of your content because it is incredibly useful, but I’ll get in the habit of hitting “retweet” without really evaluating that content before I share it myself. Glad to see that you find this relevant as well!

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