By Eve Gumpel
Tonia Ries has little patience with people who complain they don’t have time for Twitter. “Do you read?” she’ll ask them. “If you read, you can tweet. It takes five seconds to hit some buttons, shorten the link and share it with friends and your community.”
Use your mobile phone to check in on foursquare or similar sites, she suggests. “Take a photo, and share it.”
Ries also touts Twitter as a quick way to find out what’s happening in the world or in your industry, by doing a search or following a group or a hash tag someone has posted to. “You will be constantly plugged into the latest information — because someone will have shared it.”
You might recognize Tonia’s name. She’s the person behind The Realtime Report (formerly TWTRCON), the first conference and website focused entirely on the business use of the social, mobile and realtime web. Realtime NY 11 is slated for June 6 at BB King’s Blues Club.
Ries believes Twitter, facebook and their ilk have turned networking on its head — and all to the good. “The traditional ways of networking are based on things you can’t control — where you’re from, where you live and where you work. Those things make up your network. Twitter and other tools like Twitter allow you to create a network based on shared interest.” A real-world example: Physicians able to connect with other physicians all over the world who share their specialty.
According to Ries, social media has the potential to expand business opportunities. Businesses can provide rewards, such as coupons, for people who check in. They can use social media platforms to tell people about products or specials they’re promoting. Ries pointed to a billboard for GrenataPet brand dog food that dispenses a sample for an instant taste test when people check in at foursquare while walking by with their dog.
The key to marketing, says Ries, is creating value at the intersection of time, location and shared interest — that is, presenting the right message to the right people at the right time. For example, you wouldn’t be receptive if someone in a restaurant interrupted your business conversation trying to sell you discounted tickets for a baseball game. But if you’re discussing favorite sports teams at a sports bar and the same person says, “I overheard your conversation and I can give you a pair of tickets,” you’d probably jump at it.
Ries’ top two tips for success in social media:
- It starts with listening. “Find out where people who are having the conversation you want to participate in are — you don’t have time to do it all. Find out whether your audience is most likely to be talking on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Then spend time listening to the conversations people are having. You’ll learn the etiquette, and you’ll start organically participating in the conversations.”
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s OK to make a mistake, as long as you admit the error — and share what you learned from it. “Turn mistakes into something valuable for your customers.”
For information about Tonia – and savvy social media tips and news – visit TheRealTimeReport.com.