LiveBlog/Social Media 101: It’s A Jungle Out There

Ben Teal discusses what if you could create curiosity and evoke enthusiasm and emotion with social media?

How do you create community and facilitate a following?

Who am I?

I am @benjamteal on twitter (for fitness) and also @carib_amphib (the fun Caribbean side).

Write to One Person

In social media you have to write to one person.

I write to a:

  • 34 year old man who is married
  • 2 young kids that he loves playing with
  • LOVES LOVES the Caribbean and Jimmy Buffett
  • Wants to feel “island like” even when not in the Caribbean

Create a “culture” your followers can be passionate about.

Do You?

Be yourself online!

Figure out who you are and write to that.

I am who I write to…I am that guy (bullets above).  I write the site to someone who is just like me.  You want to hang out with people who are like you, so you want the people who follow you to be those people.

Be Interesting…

You have to be interesting.  Well, what is interesting?

It’s pretty easy, actually… interested!

Have you ever know that person who only talks about “me, me, me, me”?

Those people build a community of-1.  That person usually has a very small community, often only consisting of themselves.

People with large followings are usually either famous or are interested in what other people have to say.

People who interact with me, I want to interact with them.

How can you do that?

1. engage

Follow people on Twitter!!  If you are following someone they will follow you.  I like to build my following, so I search Jimmy Buffett followers and then I tweet them.  In return, they follow me.

2. ask open ended questions

Tweet an open ended question and wait for responses.  Then you start a conversation with those who reply.  I spend time everyday to respond to tweets.  I then take 4-5 interesting responses from that day and have a genuine conversation with those people.

Get out there and meet these people and your following will grow.  You have to be interested in other people for them to be interested in you.  The best conversationalist are the ones who shut up and listen.

Remember the Rule of Thirds

People will either love you, hate you, or not care about you.

Lets talk about Howard Stern:

You either like him, hate him, or just don’t care.  Social media is the same.  You start out wanting everyone to love you.  If you Facebook, tweet, and/or blog to everyone you get boring.

Howard Stern has an opinion.  Peole who love him LOVE him.  People who hate him, HATE him.  There is a fine line between love and hate, both are passionate feelings.  You want peole to be passionate.  Either way, people are listening to him regardless of their feelings.

Don’t be discouraged by the haters because you can have a great time with haters.  They will tell people about you.  Then those people will search for you to find out why you are hated.  This builds a community of passionate followers.

Main point: Put yourself out there.

Be Credible

You have to be credible.

-You have to be consistent.

You can’t be on twitter for a week tweeting and then disappear.  If someone tweets you, you need to respond.  You don’t want to be thought of as a shmuck.

– Be Visable

I could comment on more blogs.  Blog comments take longer then tweets.  Most of the bloggers I follow are women so I don’t comment on mosts of them becuase they are looking for a women’s opinion, but I am still visible to them.

I am visible on Twitter and Facebook.  If peole see you being engaged they engage with you


Most importantly

You have to help people.  Even if you don’t know the answer you point them in the right direction.  My biggest pet peeve is getting an email from people wanting an day-to-day exercise plan.  I redirect them to friends who do this.  It i okay to say that you don’t know.

It goes full circle….Be interested!

When you are yourself, you attract peole who are like you.  When you get to the core of who you are, you attract people who have the same core.

You don’t have to have the biggest community, you have to have the best.  You want to like your followers.

Q:  How do you find the time to tweet as much as you do?

A:  I spend about 20 min before work.  I thank those who re-tweeted me .  If someone asks me questions, I answer in 140 characters.  If I need to answer in more, I send an email.  Then I think about an open ended question to throw out there.  You have to set aside some time.  I have missed people, but if you have built a base they will know to just re-tweet you because it is unlike you to not respond.

Q:  How many tweets do you get?

A:  Probably 20-30.  A lot of them are yes/no answers.

How do I find content?

I use Google Reader

On the Social tab I find all kinds of content.  Tons of widgets to add to iGoogle to give you ideas.

Things I don’t comment on:  Politics…I don’t want to start a war.

When looking for ideas, I may post a link to someone else’s blog posts.

There are easy ways to find content.

Q: How did you get so many followers

A:  I follow everybody back.  I found that if you don’t follow people first, they won’t follow you.  My philosophy is that if they follow me, it is only common courtesy to follow them.

Q: Most people follow you first?

A:  On the fitness site yes.  On the Caribbean one, I am still growing it,  so I actively follow people first to build my own following.

Q:  How many of your followers are true followers?

A:  I don’t know.  If someone doesn’t engage me back, I know.  I have a list of people I tweet who don’t tweet me back.

Q:  Is there any advice you can give to brands to better work with you?

A:  I usually don’t get responses from brands unless I am pissed off.  Let people know that there is a person behind the tweets and not just a brand.  Remember that 1/3 of the people are going to hate you.  So re-tweet to those who love you.  It give you some credibility, because you are sharing to the world what others are thinking about you.  People want to interact with a person.

Q:  From a brand:  We are talking about starting Facebook fan pages, but how do we deal with negative comments?

A:  I have just set up two new experimental fan pages.  If you open up to let anyone leave comments, you have to be prepared for spamming and negativity.  My other fan pages, I keep them interactive.  Ask a question, if you have built your community right, and someone leaves a negative comment, your community will support you.  You can block them if they continue to come back.

You don’t need everything to be positive.  Build a community, games and contests help.

Comment:  If you don’t build that fan page, someone else will and you will not have control over it.

Get out there build your fan page.  Keep your finger on what people are saying and then you can control it.

Q:  Your subtitle is It’s a Jungle Out there…what does that mean?

A:  It is a jungle out do you build your community of lions, without getting monkeys.  If you talk to the whole jungle you will get all the animals.  I have my two accounts and, for the most part, they are separate.

Q:  Do you link your twitter and Facebook accounts.

A:  NO, I feel like twitter is an open society.   Facebook it is very closed…you can’t just go out and follow everyone.

Q:  What tools to you use?

A:  Seesmic

You can set it up so you only see the app replies.  This helps me find the interesting replies that I want to engage in that day.

Q:  Have you used tools that you pay for?

A:  No, for what you are paying for you can find the sites that are freeand are easier to use.

I like doing things the old fashion way.  I haven’t seen anything good that makes me comfortable that puts a tool between me and the user.

Q:  Having the two twitter accounts, do you post the same content on each?

Sometimes my accounts overlap.  If I am doing someone thing exciting, I can’t not post on both accounts.  I do tie it to the site.  If I am going to a Jimmy Buffett concert, everyone will know, but on my fitness site I may say something like “going to the jimmy buffett concert, tomororw is a cheat day”.  On my Carbbean site it would be more like “going to the Jimmy Buffett concert, who’s going?”

You can tweet anonomously, but you have to be yourself.

What I want you to take away…I really lke helping people.  You can contact me anywhere and I will get back to you.  Starting a blog about how I get paid, wearing flip flops and have a full time job.  Be part of my community and I will be part of yours….I follow back!

This session was captured by Erin of Enjoying The Chaos