We’re told by those that know that we should be in social media. Not just in it, though, but participating.
Jumping in; joining conversations; leading the way; growing our audiences while talking with them at the same time.
And of course, in an ideal world, we should and would follow the above and more.
Problem is, we don’t live in an ideal world.
Time or budget restrictions. Fear of the big scary world that is social media. Lack of buy-in from decision-makers in our workplace, and so on.
All decent points, all valid arguments.
But even if you can’t justify participating actively in social media, there are a ton of ways you can be cleverly quiet in social media and know all you need to know too.
Here are just three. Best of all, they’re all free too.
Use the Search, Luke
A vastly under-used yet hugely effective source of silent participation are the various search options in social media. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Slideshare and virtually every other social media platform you can think of has a search function.
Just like Google’s search box, all you need do is type in the keywords relevant to you and see what’s being talked about when it comes to you and the customers you’re after.
It doesn’t stop there. You can save searches on Twitter, for example, and then jump back in any time and see what’s new in your industry – it’s basically an ever-growing resource centre.
Search is your friend – look after it.
Real-Time or Your Time
So we know search is your friend. But one of the arguments against social participation is the time involved, and that same argument can also be used against searches – you have to always be there. Which is why alerts are also your friend.
By plugging your keywords into real-time search and monitoring platforms, then setting up alerts for them, you can get the information you need to know at your convenience.
Tools like Google Alerts, Social Mention, Surchur and others allow you to set up search parameters and then choose when you want to receive that information. Hourly, daily, weekly, as it happens – you choose. There might be some words less important to you than others, so choose the important ones for more frequent updates, then the others as you see fit.
Alerts are also your friend, since they let us decide when (and if) we need to jump in on something.
Subscribe to Knowledge
According to Technorati’s last State of the Blogosphere, there are more than 133 million blogs out there (probably more since that report came out a year ago). That’s a heck of a lot of blogs – and many of them cover business. Which covers social media.
By combining social and “normal” searches, tags like Technorati’s own social media tags and reading blogs that offer excellent research and information, you can soon build up a great knowledge base on the topics you need to know about to help your business.
Like I said at the start of this post, you don’t need to participate actively in social media to benefit from it. Obviously the more active you are, the more beneficial it’ll be. But if time and resources are currently against you, then silent participation can still benefit you immensely.
How about you – what ways are you using social media silently to benefit you and/or your business?