Online, people show their affection in different ways. The question, “Is it better to have received happy birthday wishes on you Facebook wall, then none at all,” will go up there with, “If a tree falls in a forest when no one is around, does it make a sound?”
Digital birthday wishes and virtual get well soon’s are just some of the ways social media and the internet have changed our lives. What may seem like a whimsical interaction is actually indicative of something far greater. Sometimes people share a whimsical quote or an inspirational message. Other times an article is relayed to lift someone’s spirit or show them that they’re not forgotten. These digital tokens of affection work much like they do in the offline world. Just because it’s digital, doesn’t make it less meaningful.
Be it s a retweet, like, +1 or re-pin we’re expressing ourselves more and more online. Outside of showing people that we like what they’re doing, there’s a ton of value in these types of actions as well. From exposing people to new content to forming mutually beneficial relationships, the act of digital love (again, I’m not talking about porn) is a beautiful thing. Let’s go over a few ways spreading the digital love can help you and/or your business.
You’ve done it. You’ve created the greatest digital outpost with, hands down, the best content on the web. Great. Now what? Well, besides the digital strategies that you’ve learned from this site, there’s a little secret that has helped me and many others achieve digital success when it comes to building a community. The key? Interact with other online denizens.
The best way to build up a community online is by interacting with people who you think might be interested in you or what you’re doing. This concept sounds very straightforward (and it is) but ask yourself, how often do you interact with people outside of your immediate social group online? I don’t have a fancy study to quote here, but given personal experience and the experiences of many of my clients, the answer is, not that often. And that’s OK. But if you’re trying to build up a community based around a specific topic, service, product or brand it’s wise to seek out and interact with other people before you start blasting out links to your stuff. Don’t go around and start spamming other people with links to your stuff. In fact, do just the opposite at the beginning. Go around and like people’s statuses, share what they’ve shared and be a helping hand for the people you meet online. The law of reciprocity will start to work in your favor if you do this.
A social action that expresses your interest can be profound. Better yet? Share that awesome status update or post with your social network. You never know, maybe one of your friends will love it. Then you’ve created a bridge between someone else’s content and someone you know. These types of positive interactions have so many benefits that to name them can be likened to naming every type of relationship one person can have with another.
If I had to pick one action that was completely undervalued and underused on the web today it’s the simple act of commenting. It’s one thing to click a mouse or tap your finger to show someone you like what they did. It’s another to take the time to write a thoughtful comment expressing your gratitude and/or opinion on something someone else put up. This is where real friendships and partnerships blossom. I’ve spoken to some amazingly insightful and intelligent people just by commenting on a post. Everyone likes a comment (except nasty ones, but you’d never do that, right?) and most people will respond. Get your name out there by being a positive voice that rises up from the comment section.
You know what else you can do with social actions like commenting, re-sharing and liking? You’ve probably already guessed that the A word is coming back. Not that A word, I’m talking about Analytics.
All of these social actions provide a wonderful opportunity to measure and adapt to the type of engagement you’re providing or receiving. Would you like to know that you have an 80% higher re-pin rate on Pinterest compared to people re-sharing the exact same post on Facebook? Of course you want to know that, what are you a dingus? After you start doling out the digital love and it comes back to you, you’ll have an opportunity to make your digital presence even better. Perhaps, you’ll find that Facebook is the best place to share quotes overlaid on photos. Maybe Twitter is the best place to ask people’s opinions about which article sounds more interesting? Hey, who knows, maybe Tumblr is spreading your content quicker than every other channel combined. The important thing is, once you start raking in the social actions you have something to analyze. Once you have something to analyze you’re on your way to creating a better product, service or brand.
The next time you’re our perusing the web, make sure you +1 this or Like that. Even if you’re not trying to build something online it’s a nice thing to do if you sincerely appreciated someone taking the time out of their day to share something with the world at large, and more specifically, you. To paraphrase The Beatles, “All you need is (digital) love.”