Using Status Updates Effectively

Status updates are simply the fastest, easiest way to let your network know what’s going on. The challenge is, so many of us are posting things that neither serve us or our network!

Think about it, does anyone really care if you’re “sitting on the patio”?. Of course they don’t. That is a line from a Verizon ad that exemplifies how useless Twitter can be, especially when used incorrectly. I would contend it’s Twitter’s own fault as they ask the wrong question: “what are you doing?” Linkedin and Facebook ask slightly better questions, but not much.

If that’s the wrong question, what are the right questions? While I’m not entirely sure there is one right question, I will submit that if you think about answering any of the following, you will serve yourself and your network better:

What value do you have to offer your network now?

What information can you share that your network needs?

What interesting links, quotes, or ideas would you like to share?

How can the project you are working on be a potential solution for others?

What is it that you love most about what you’re doing?

What type of people may benefit from what you’re doing now?

Can you make us laugh?

Can you make us think?

What exciting news happened in your day or with your business that you would like to share?

These are just questions that I ripped off the top of my head. You can see that they are value focused. That value should be for others and a little bit for you, too.

One last caveat about status updates. While going negative may yield some responses, think about the types you’re getting. Hopefully before you set out on your social media campaign you decided what you wanted to get from it. On that list should be the types of responses you want. It has been my experience that negative attracts negative. I will leave it to you to decide when you have had enough of that in your life.

Connectedly yours-

Terry Bean

3 Responses to “Using Status Updates Effectively”

  1. 1 johnazoni Wednesday, January 13 at 4:44 am

    I think for people who intend to market a certain product, cause, or idea, I’d say you’re mostly right. However you’re leaving out the fact that a lot of Twitter/Facebook users have no interest in strategic messaging. Many don’t even care if anyone else cares. That’s what a lot of people used Livejournal for back in the day – lengthy posts about their feelings about their own life; a breakup, a new relationship, frustrations on the job, etc. There’s something appealing to a lot of people about opening up windows into the details of ones own life. If there wasn’t, nobody would do it. But few would disagree that this is not a good marketing strategy.

    So if the majority of your posts are about things irrelevant to anyone but yourself, then you are probably the type who doesn’t care about mass appeal, or marketing strategy, and merely wants to update friends with the insignificant things of life. To many of this person’s real followers (albeit a mere handful), these updates are in fact valuable.

    For instance, I like when my fiance tweets about where she’s at, or even what she’s eating. It lets me know from a distance that she’s safe, or enjoying herself, without me having to interrupt her to check in. I don’t so much care in that moment what she enjoys about the place she’s at. That’s a follow up conversation for a different setting. Same goes for certain close friends. I enjoy knowing what’s going on in their lives; the cashier who was rude to them, a witty remark about the bumper-to-bumper traffic they’re stuck in, where they’re spending their Friday night. Those updates lead to other discussion about what they feel about those situations, such as whether or not they’d recommend the brewery they were at and what beer they ordered.

    I would also say that for the brand who only posts brand-centric updates, or even “valuable content” that is clearly aimed at wanting me to buy their product, or drink their Kool-aid, I find them irrelevant.

    I think there needs to be a good mix between content that is valuable and leads people in a certain direction, but also content that opens a window into the day-to-day life of the person behind the brand. The balance of those two I think is key in building a loyal following. I have no interest in following a brand. I want to follow a person who cares about something, but isn’t always trying to manipulate me into subscribing to what they care about; especially what they get paid to care about. You have to build trust before you can build action, and building trust comes from engaging in real relationships, real conversations, and getting to know real people. Sometimes those real relationships include getting off the soapbox of your brand and saying something like, “heading to the movies with my wife for a nice evening out.” Not everyone will care, but some probably will, and whether or not they comment on that status update, or retweet it, they will file away in their brains the fact that you are a real person who cares about his wife and likes movies. This, I believe builds trust in small ways for future brand-centric updates.


  2. 2 Rebecca Drzewiecki Wednesday, January 13 at 10:37 am

    Great thoughts Terry, I really like the thought provoking questions. That being said, do you have any thoughts on “Status Stealing”? When someone copies and pastes your status in their status (giving you credit)….good marketing? or stealing? or depends on how interesting and what the status is?

  3. 3 trybean Thursday, January 14 at 12:20 am

    John- Great insight. I think I would have been better served had I added the words “For Business” to the end of my title. That being said, I do believe that it is crucial to add some “personal stuff” to these updates as well. I believe we should be living as holistic of a life as possible. Therefore, I think people would like to know about the movies you are going to see, the sports teams you follow, the hobbies/interests you have, the causes you support, etc. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    Rebecca- Interesting timing on your question 😉 I think if you use someone else’s update and cite them, it’s a good thing. It’s kind of flattering to read your post on a different profile.

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