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megaphoneSo I’ve been working on a strategy for social media preeminence, which you’ll soon be seeing more about here. I’m developing a whitepaper, presentation, and some other relevant content to help you accelerate your social media success.

While that’s in the hopper, I wanted to share with you some thoughts about getting noticed and managing attention within the social media space. As I’ve been spending more time lately on Twitter, I’ve been noticing more often how many people are yelling into the wind.

The way I think of it, “yelling into the wind” means you keep pushing your ideas, thoughts, agenda- without taking part in any conversation or providing relevant links or substantive content. Does this mean each and every contribution has to be unique or brilliant? No- and, in fact, if you watch my updates, you’ll see that I alternate between four kinds of updates: ones where I’m advancing my brand, ones where I’m sharing good information, ones where I’m connecting more deeply with friends and colleagues, and ones where I’m advancing my authority or expert status. Let’s analyze each of these more thoroughly:

Advancing your brand updates: these would be updates that help people know you better on a quasi-personal level. They are not as mundane as what you had for breakfast, but they might include something fun or interesting you’re doing, which helps people know more about you. In my case, these include updates about my pottery classes, upcoming concerts I’ve bought tickets for, and the like. They might also include other hobbies or interests I have, or unique ideas that just occurred to me.

Sharing good information updates: these would be updates that show people the causes and issues which matter to you. These can also help advance your brand, and help you make new connections, so these serve many purposes. Remember that most people are humanitarian, and are attracted to others who want to make a difference. When you can share about causes you’ve contributed to, or which are important to you, this helps people know and like you. Sharing good information updates would also be ones where you are providing links or information to interesting news or relevant issues to your target audience.

The third kind of update, direct conversations are updates which help you connect more deeply with people you already know. These are conversations about events you might be attending together, as well as updates where you compliment or promote someone for their achievements or contributions. The goal with these is to make sure they are relevant and significant- not just “we bought new purses at the mall”- but instead, “Sarah showed her amazing fashion sense and helped me pick out a fabulous new purse.” Think acknowledgements, not just statements.

The fourth kind of update are those which build your expertise or authority status. Again, there is overlap between this subset and the others. The goal of these updates is to demonstrate that you are careful, conscientious, and well versed on the issues impacting your industry. These help build your brand, and can often bring you new business opportunities. For example, recently, I answered questions about Joomla, WordPress, and psychology- each of which is an area of expertise for me. One of the people I helped actually hired me to consult with them on their WordPress blog. So these kinds of updates do work for business.

So take a look at your own particular stance and positioning within your social media sphere. Are you focusing too heavily on one kind of update, at the expense of the others? Remember that people like to do business with people they like and respect.

Pay attention to this advice. You’ll be sure to get noticed by those people you want to reach.