I love quotes. I think that the most interesting thing in the world is listening to what other people have to say. Honestly, do you know who’s more interesting than you? Everyone. Literally, everyone. I think I have some pretty cool thoughts sometimes. Sometimes I have some really boring thoughts. But I strongly believe that an alternate point of view should be the planned destination of every day. Every. Day. But I’m busy. As much as I’d love to read every book on the planet and hear what every single person thinks. But ain’t nobody got time for that. My daughter wants her bottle and my son wants me to help him build his animals of Africa puzzle for the 15th time today. I don’t have time to read every book that I’d like to read. And that’s where quotes come in. I’ll often look up quotes on a given topic and just read a whole bunch of them. I find it an interesting way to absorb people’s points of view. And last week I read this, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we talk.” And while this may not seem earth shattering to most people, this one blew me away.

It’s mostly because I spend my day on social media, interacting with as many people as I possibly can. And I would say that half of the people that I interact with could really stand to read this quote…a few times…maybe get a tattoo… I’ve written before about networking and how to do it effectively and it continues to surprise me and how wrong people seem to get the most simple interactions. Here’s an example. Tonight, I was speaking with someone on social media who was talking about trying to get in touch with a company. A local company. A big local company. He was trying to get in touch with them so that he could discuss using their likeness for a product. He was getting nowhere with them but noticed that he was seeing promoted tweets for their product. You’re doing it wrong. LISTEN when people speak to you. Answer them as best you can. Don’t spend your days on social media just shouting into the void.

People recognize when businesses are being genuine and when they are not. They recognize when a business is trying to use a social platform for straight up advertising. And there’s nothing wrong with using Facebook or Instagram or Twitter as a marketing tool. In fact, there’s a lot right about it. I make a lot of my consumer decisions around my social media interactions. I love companies that advertise using social media. But that love presupposes that they seem to be as interested in me as I am in them. Do they ask genuine questions of me? Do they give genuine answers when I ask questions? I don’t care if a company gets back to me in a timely fashion, so long as they get back to me.

When I’m working with a client on developing a social media plan to help them grow their brand and their network, we always talk about the same thing; engagement. For me, it’s the absolute basis for many social media platforms, especially Twitter. Engagement. Engagement is not favoriting and retweeting. It’s not following or liking. Engagement is simple. It is listening and responding. If you don’t want to read what people have to say online, you’re incapable of engaging with them in a real and valuable way.  I would say that at least half of my online interactions are responses, echoed sentiments and calls for clarifications. Sure, I love to talk to myself. But I’m not on social media to talk to myself. Maybe you are. Maybe that’s you’re thing. But I recognize that I have two ears and one mouth and wherever possible I try to act accordingly.

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