First of all, what is it? According to an article I read written by Sprout Social’s Dominique Jackson, social media outreach is utilizing social networks “to raise awareness for your brand, content, or to build new relationships.” While it sounds like a formal way of saying social networking, outreach is truly more than that, and there’s a right way and a wrong way of doing it. To illustrate what I mean, we’re going to use Twitter.
Let’s start by taking a quick look at a screenshot of a few tweets posted by Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder. First, all four of these tweets are original content; there are no re-tweets or replies to anyone else’s tweets in this picture. As the picture shows, each of Snyder’s tweets have been retweeted at least five times and received at least three favorites. And even though you can’t see it here, all of Snyder’s tweets have replies from other Twitter users. This shows very little interaction, or outreach, on Snyder’s part. In fact, after reviewing the 17 tweets Snyder posted over the course of five days, there are no re-tweets or replies from him at all! He’s just not engaging with his audience.
Now let’s look at American television personality Montel Williams’ Twitter feed. In this picture we see two re-tweets (the first and last tweets), an original tweet (the second), and a reply (the third tweet). Williams’ second tweet, the original content, has been favorite-d by 395 people and re-tweeted 254 times. Next, we see his response to a tweet a woman named Stephanie posted that’s been favorite-d by six people. And finally, Williams has re-tweeted two other Twitter users’ posts. In fact, in a period of 15 hours, Williams has tweeted, replied or re-tweeted a total of 58 posts. In 15 hours! To say Montel Williams is engages with his audience is an understatement.
In view of these two accounts… Which of the two Twitter users do you think has better social media outreach? Gov. Rick Snyder, whose usage is overwhelmingly static, or canned, if you will? Or do you think Montel Williams, who engages with his audience, has better outreach? Which one of these users would YOU follow? And finally, ask yourself: which kind of user are you, and which kind of social media outreach does your audience want?