all you can eat tweet buffetSo it's Saturday night & you're headed to your favorite restaurant.  You know the one. The one that you spend too much money on, eat too much and come home feeling like you are going to pop.  It has all the things that are good and bad for you. You leave fulfilled yet planning the next time you will visit again.

As social brand marketers, business owners and entrepreneurs how can we give our audiences, clients and partners the same excitement to engage with our brand? How can we leave them fulfilled each day but wanting more at the same time? How can we get them to over indulge in our communities, and love it?

Many business leaders are accustomed to the days of corporate collateral and one way dialogue websites, micro-sites and store fronts. You know the kind. The ones that are safe, leave no room for bad feedback and leave the marketing director feeling good at the end of the day, week or month as they've crossed all the random acts of marketing off of their list.

My question to you is how does your communities and audiences feel at the end of the day or week? What about your clients? Are you giving them nuggets of knowledge to power up their afternoon or inspiration to make it to another day? Are you offering them enough choices that they can find something that resonates with their thinking, with their objectives or simply their mood at the given time? Are you engaging with them in meaningful conversation? Are they hanging out on your turf or on your competitors turf?

One of the topics our clients, partners & colleagues are most confused about when it comes to social media and community development is what to talk about. If I had five bucks for every time I get a raised eyebrow or utterly confused face with the six words “but what do I talk about?” let's simply say I would have many free nights at my favorite restaurant!

This is the first in a series of posts to get your business on the top list of preferred menus for your readers, engagers, and buyers!

Since Twitter seems to be the place most folks struggle I am starting there with the tips below. Note, most of them can also be applied across more social platforms than Twitter.

7 Tips to PREPARE Your All You Can Tweet Buffet:

1. Content is not one size fits all. Acknowledge that all people learn, are inspired and engage differently. What makes me tick and click on your online social platforms may not be the same as the guy next door. Deliver content in different sizes, shapes & flavors!

2. Perfection is the enemy of good. Although you have one time to make a first impression, perfection is also the enemy of good. Don't over complicate it. Focus on providing relevant, compelling and valuable content.

3. Know your audience. Who is eating at your buffet? What makes them tick, click and like? What inspires them to order dessert? What blog content are they most consuming? What do they share with their friends? What do they take one bite of and set aside? What content do they ask for seconds?

4. Don't get stuck in your own world. Take a look around at the larger ecosystem once in awhile. Be aware of what others have on the menus. Ensure that yours are better and more appetizing. Status quo is not going to cut it.

5. Don't get stale. A good buffet menu always has choices. Half the fun is finding that one surprise menu or buffet item you have never seen before. Who doesn't love the fab special of the day or week.  Do the same with your business and content. Always strive for fresh and real good!

6. Inspire yourself. If you aren't inspired, how can you inspire anyone else? Make time in the calendar to hit the gym. Take time with the kids and neighbors. Take the time to read and engage in content that will educate and inspire you so you can feed it to others. Our pastor from Crossing Church always says “you must be filled up yourself to be able to pour out.”  Fill yourself up with goodness and you'll have more to give.

7. Don't forget the conversation. Don't over plan your menu and content so much that you lose site of being real, dynamic and engaging. Keep the dialog real and human. Otherwise you'll lose out on the most social and beneficial part of social media which is connecting with real human beings.


The All You Can Tweet Buffet Meal Planner:

Your goal: Completely satisfy them, fill them up yet inspire them to come back for more!

A. Pre-Dinner Drink
Wet their whistle. Inspire and get them excited for what's ahead.

Depending on the audience the content will vary. For some it may be inspirational quotes. Could be a simple hello or sharing of what you are up to for the day to spark a conversation.

Ask a few questions to check their tone. What is the tone and rhythm of the twitter communications. Are people joking, laughing or serious? I can usually tell within five to ten minutes what kind of content people are engaging with and what the overall twitter mood is of my engaged followers.  Based on their response to my first couple of tweets I know how to proceed.

B. Appetizer
So you've wet their whistle. Now we need to give them the first round of substance.  You can try a few “wow factor” statistics that open their eyes and make them want more. Could be a link to a light hearted blog post. Their tone and rhythm described above will determine what you offer them. The appetizer may be thrown out all together or combined with the main meal if you can sense they are ready, engaged and want the meat!

C. Main course
The focus here is to give them something to chew on. You want to provide them real substance. Prove to them you know your stuff. This is where you do more than talk the talk. You include some real thought leadership type of content, real tips, real data that will help them better manage their business. Give them the knowledge they need to grow and prosper. Don't filter, don't be afraid to share all. The more you share the more they will want.

D. Side items
Just like a meal at your favorite restaurant, side items will be different based upon the main course.  Depending on the main course you may provide a lighter type of supporting content such as Infograhics, tweet blog posts from other thought leaders, or even a funny post that is guaranteed to make them bust a gut.

If your main course includes thought leadership, pushing an idea or unique and different way of thinking why not provide some stats to back it up. Link to an industry leader and highlight a good study or research report that aligns with your thinking.

You can obviously include more than one side. Focus on variety. The side items are a great way to connect with your audience. By providing content that comes from you, partners, other thought leaders you are also sharing you within each share. It shows what you like, what you believe and what inspires and educates you.  The side items could vary from inspirational quotes, statistics, research reports, infographics, kudos to friends and colleagues, or a simple conversation.

social content buffet dessertE. Dessert
Oh now it's time for the best part! Don't let them down. Who doesn't remember the chocolate decadent dessert from your favorite restaurant?

Knowing your audience is key when it comes to dessert time. The content must taste, smell and feel good.

The content here may be similar to the pre-dinner drink or even appetizers depending on your audience. The only difference is it may have an extra southern twang of wholesome goodness. An extra layer of chocolate icing. Add a bit more personality to make them laugh harder. How about a video or quote that makes a grown man tear up. Focus on real human connection. Spend some time thanking those who helped you today or yesterday. Give kudos to clients, partners or colleagues who hit a milestone or achieved recognition publicly.  There are numerous ways you can show some social love. Don't be afraid to do such!

F. After Dinner Drink
For me, the daily after dinner social drink comes after the kids are in bed, and it's just me, my laptop and my comfy couch ready to rock the end of the day together. It's easy to connect with people post-dinner on Twitter. Simply say hi, tell a funny joke and you'll be amazed how much people respond.  Talk about what is on TV, what's not on TV. People want to chill out, they want to do a little business while at the same time simply chill.

Don't forget your business objectives though. Remember to add some value. Have a goal of balanced social conversation with real value and you can't go wrong.

Another great after dinner drink to connect with tweetin' peeps in the evening is via Tweet chats. Tweet chats provide a platform for people with a common interest in a specific topic to connect. I host the #GetRealChat on Tuesday nights at 9pm. Amazing relationships have been fostered in our tweet chats. There are peeps who we tweet with at midnight that are now some of my best friends, business partners and best friends for life. You can learn more about Tweet Chats on a recent article I wrote here: Tweet Chats 101


Your Turn

So what is your favorite part of the buffet? What is your favorite restaurant and why? What is your favorite tweet buffets and why?

What do you do to provide your twitter followers with inspirational, engaging and meaningful content every day? Is your menu kept fresh and up to date? What tips do you have for newbies?