Paul Hanrahan
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A recipe for disaster?

Welcome to the party

As an avid fan of Come Dine With Me and social media accounts, I thought it would be nice to explore the similarities. A recipe for disaster? I think not. Growing relationships and making a lasting impression is at the heart of both. As humans, we all share a natural instinct to be liked – our social media activity is the same. Although there is no one universal method to likability, there are certain traits to look out for in people that can crossover into social media. Let’s start with an open assessment of the contestants you may find on Come Dine With Me or meet at a dinner party:

Martin (me, me, me)

Anything you have done, Martin has done better, bigger, smarter. Martin imposes himself by only sharing his successes, his greatness, his triumphs. He fails to listen to other points of view, dismissing them instantly.

If Martin was your social media account: If all of your social media activity revolves around your organisation, your achievements and your events, you’re doing it wrong! Nobody likes someone who is motivated purely by his or her own self-interest. Equally importantly, if your fans/followers are trying to communicate with you and you are not involving yourself in the conversation, then your organisation is losing out. Engagement is the number one factor in building relationships.

Rita (rambles on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on)

You introduce the enjoyment of cheese as a topic of conversation to the group. Rita proceeds to tell you everything she knows on the topic: how it is churned, where the cow was reared, what the average temperature was in the cooling-off period. Rita rarely gets to the point of the conversation – the enjoyment. You barely get a chance to get a word in edgeways and the conversation has moved off in a dull confusing direction. You switch off quickly and look for someone else to talk to.

If Rita was your social media account: It would contain lengthy sporadic rants about an event or topic.  By the time you get to the point, it’s already lost. To make an impact with social you should make your promotional posts actionable, impactful and – most importantly – as short as possible. Less is more. There are lots of interesting conversations going on, so you need to get your message across quickly.

scruffy guy wearing big glasses that spell out GOOGLE

How can I increase my organisation’s digital reach?

Harriet (humble, hilarious, honest)

In the corner of the room there is an understated Harriet, quietly getting on with things. Harriet doesn’t take life too seriously – she’s comfortable sharing jokes and listening to the conversations going on, before occasionally offering opinions, adding to debates, sharing other people’s experiences and thoughtfully involving others in the conversations. These types of people make you feel better about yourself because it appears you are being heard and valued. It’s rarely about Harriet at all, which makes you appreciate it when she does share.

This is the kind of social media account we’d all like to follow. One that listens to its fans, takes time to appreciate the conversation, shares experiences of other organisations and includes others in conversation where possible.  It also helps to share a joke or two now and again. When it comes to being promotional, it’s occasional and well thought through, with their fans at the heart of the message.

Be Like Harriet

The more we focus our social media activity, social media plans and social media strategies on relationship-building, the better our channels will perform. Likeability allows others to find out about your organisation, care more about your programme and share more of your stories. A common approach to your social media activity that mirrors the humble listener is to take an 80-20 approach. 80% of the time, you should listen to others, involve yourself in the conversation, be part of the community, tell fun, funny and interesting stories and share other experiences. During the remaining 20% of the time, be promotional with a considered approach. Your fans will appreciate the relationship you have built and will be more likely to tell their friends about you. Give it a try.