If used properly, social media delivers and captures value for your followers and your business

The post headline “Social Media Sucks Doesn’t?” is an attention grabber isn’t it? In my view we all have to “get better” when it comes to how we use, behave and engage on social media. Getting better applies to everyone and every organization.

It applies to you as a Twitter user, your company that is gaming LinkedIn by getting employees to “like” posts and social networks not cracking down on fake accounts.

There are plenty of bad examples but I’m not going there. Instead I’m going to show you some awesome ways to use, behave and engage on Twitter and LinkedIn.

How We Use, Behave and Engage on Social Media

Twitter is the number one source of “leads” for my agency. A lead, for me and my ventures, is defined as a key account or key contact where there is potential mutual value for a relationship. Not, a sales opportunity, not a potential “mark”, not a “suspect”.

It’s a company and some contacts within it that a relationship of some sort might make sense, make meaning and potentially create lasting value.

These leads are segmented using a qualification criteria which allows me to manage a high quantity of quality contacts productively.

In terms of social networks, Twitter is the primary feeder of leads at the top of my network and customer development funnel. LinkedIn is the primary source for me to get more detailed information about key contacts. It is a secondary feeder of leads as well. 

I want to share with you some real world examples of how to use, behave and engage on Twitter.

Number 1: Patrick’s a Dick But He’s Honest and Keeps Others Honest Too

Patrick Kitchell [LinkedIn | Twitter] is a Technical Solutions Specialist at Microsoft. He’s lives in Denmark. He has 89,000 plus real followers. He chooses to use Twitter to give you a glimpse into his personal and professional life and his homeland.

His behaviour is centered around being responsive, honest and direct. He calls and shows things as he sees them. He engages with people and genuinely seems to want to have meaningful interactions. He’s also willing to listen, learn and change based on feedback… including criticism.

His rant below is what inspired this post and it’s headline! It demonstrates that when someone else is honest and direct with him he’ll reflect and learn something from it. We can all learn from Patrick. [UPDATE: He’s started a conversation on LinkedIn as well].

“My highlight this week was being told I am a “dick” on twitter but very honest and keep others honest. This is the issue with social [Tweet].

Any amount of criticism on social is automatically interpreted as being negative [Tweet]. Therefore social can’t be the vehicle of professional or personal growth because the feedback loop doesn’t work [Tweet].

If all criticism is negative and the delivery person is a “troll” or “dick” than you will surround yourself with people who  [Tweet] will only tell you what you want to or need to hear and that means your wheels are spinning without realizing it [Tweet].

Therefore I implore all of you to seek criticism of your work, be open to listen and change your behavior and please [Tweet], pretty please find a mentor who will lift you to the next level and help you with your blind spots, find the skills you are lacking to [Tweet] grow and will criticize you until you move out of your comfort zone and force you to plant new seeds [Tweet].

That you can’t pull it back. THAT is where the magic happens – just believe it and believe in it. Have a great weekend. [Tweet]. Rant over [Tweet].”

Number 2: This Is Not Trolling!

There are some social media “gurus” that say always be positive and nice on social media. I guess that’s an option depending on what your goals are. I use social media to share content and thoughts, to connect with people and build mine and other ventures.

I use it as well to provide direct feedback to organizations and people. Right now, I’ve got a tweetstream running, keeping key government contacts and my followers in the loop on what’s working and not working.

It’s interesting that none of the elected officials are “engaging” though. I get the feeling that they’ve all been told not to respond and just use Twitter as a megaphone for photo opps at ribbon cutting ceremonies and festivals. That’s a shame.

Number 3: “Chris Stick to Marketing Strategies”

Miles Potts and I follow each other on Twitter. He provided me with feedback in August which stuck with me.

For too long I became obsessed with Donald Trump and for some reason felt it was my personal mission to keep him honest.. I became obsessed and according to Miles “off brand”.

While at first I was defensive, and a bit arrogant, I thought about what Miles said and while the odd jab at Donald Trump might make me feel good, his feedback was helpful and appreciated.

Miles is my audience. He’s a key contact that works at a former client of my agency. His voice matters more than what I think and say about Donald Trump. So, I’ve “fired” Trump form my tweets and back on brand focused on B2B content, network and customer development;  emerging technologies; tech companies and entrepreneurs.

So, does social media suck? Yes and no. It’s how you use it.

Chris HerbertChris Herbert is the founder of Mi6. Mi6 is a B2B (Business to Business) marketing and business development agency dedicated to helping companies build their brands and develop commercial relationships. He is the founder of ProductCamp Toronto and the Hi-tech community Silicon Halton. He tweets under the handle @B2Bspecialist.