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Building Social Media Value through Tuning In, Connecting and Contributing

I attended a Chase Business Insight Seminar yesterday on the topic of "How to Win Business Using Social Media: Three Simple Steps to Success." It was presented by author Tim Sanders, former Chief Strategy Officer for Yahoo! and now an author and speaker.

The three steps are:

  1. Tune In
  2. Connect
  3. Contribute

These were offered with context on the current state of social media, and good case studies.

The advice reflects what I tell people who are just starting in social media, but aren't sure the first step. For instance, after you sign up for Twitter, just watch, don't tweet. Do searches for things that interest you, and start following the threads. Who is saying what? Who do they follow, and who follows them? Who has made lists out of those people? After a while you'll see bigger patterns, and you'll see where you fit in, and at that point, you can't help but jump in and tweet.

Sanders refined this advice with some case studies. Tune in - that's the watching part. Connect - that's finding the people to follow. This is as simple as clicking "Follow" in Twitter, or "Subscribe" in Facebook, adding them to your circles in Google+, grab a feed to their blog posts.

Starting to contribute is the key. Don't start contributing about you. Once you've found influential people to connect with, add value to the connection from their point of view. See what they are tweeting about, and retweet them, with your own comments. Add comments to their blogs or their posts. After a while, they'll recognize you as a supportive and important part of their social ecosystem, and your point of view will emerge.

Then, when you finally get around to connecting that point of view, and social value, to your own business or your own interests, feel free to contribute that connection. If it's relevant and valuable, the social credits you've earned by your own contributions will pay off.

It is best to be genuine and not manipulative as you establish your social value and credibility, but it is worth the effort.

[Get a good start on social media marketing. Download AP42's free Social Media Workbook.]