Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Christine Major of PerkettPR. I first met Christine in August at a Tweetup in Cambridge, MA organized by author, blogger, and Forrester Online Community Manager John Cass. Since then I’ve been following her on Twitter (@CMajor). Through her I’ve learned of several events in the Boston area I would have otherwise missed and have had the opportunity to connect with more interesting professionals.
Christine uses social media both personally and professionally. She’s quite active on Twitter with more than 500+ followers and uses it to track for news, maintain professional connections, and some personal interaction. As a PR professional, Twitter has been a great tool to help her connect with reporters and influencers. She uploads photos to Twitter using twitpic and recently joined the twitter moms group. She keeps up with friends on Facebook with 150+ friends and maintains professional connections using LinkedIn with 92 connections. To help her keep up with the conversations on Twitter, both for herself and for clients, she uses Twitter Search (formerly Summize).
Christine has been on Twitter for a year now. Initially she was resistant to jump into the dynamic Twitter conversation, but quickly started realizing its value and became more active. Through Twitter, she’s found a great blend of online and real life connecting unlike any other social networking tool.
She spends about an hour each day directly engaged with social media. Just like email is a part of everyone’s daily lives, Twitter is now part of hers to check for messages and monitor and participate in conversations. For general Twitter discussions and any replies directed towards her (called @replies), she checks them using the Twitter web site and Twitter search. This system lets her work during the day without being interrupted by the general stream of “tweets”. Any private, direct messages to her go directly to her email inbox. On the go, Christine checks Twitter on her iPhone using Twitterific (sometimes a little too often.)
With her personal connections on Facebook she uses a more passive approach, relying on the Facebook generated emails for comments and messages. Occasionally she will go to the Facebook site to check the statuses of her friends. Facebook has been good for catching up with old friends. She had tried MySpace, but wasn’t thrilled with it’s interface and ultimately found she made much better connections on Facebook and canceled her account.
She is being selective about what tools to use to keep things manageable.
Christine has found success using social media tools by investing time in helping others. Recently she was chosen to be a panel liaison for SXSW . When she tweeted about it to share the news, another Twitter user contacted her to ask how she went about it. She helped get them connected with the appropriate person to get involved. Christine has also witnessed the impact of the medium more directly. A few weeks ago, she tweeted about going for a run. She received a response that it had inspired one of her followers to go out for a run too. The tools have been great in helping her manage connections and make friends.
Using social media has helped her grow personally and push “out of her shell.” To help keep a balance, she has been careful about who she follows back on Twitter. If someone follows her, she looks to see who they are by checking out their bio and reading what they are tweeting about before she decides to follow them back. When she follows someone on Twitter, she’ll take the time to look them up on LinkedIn and Facebook to learn a bit more about them. People she has met in person are more likely to get connected with her across all her social media tools.
Using Twitter was a strategic move by her company. Once she began using it she grew to like it. Meeting people in person and connecting with them on Twitter has been very exciting. She is now working with her clients to introduce them to the space. Some of her clients are hesitant to jump on board, but know they need to do it. In Christine’s view, successful social interaction online needs to come from the client.
You can’t just feed news – you have to add value or people are going to ignore you.
- Remember it’s public. Be careful what you are putting on there. People are going to check online for you. Show your personality, don’t stifle it.
- It takes time to build up your following and your community. It takes effort to cultivate. Be patient. Grow it organically, don’t force it.
- If you are starting on Twitter, follow friends and ask them to follow you. Ask your friends to suggest to their followers that they follow you. Again, don’t force it.
- Put information about yourself in your bio so people know who you are. You are likely to receive a follow back if you seem like a real person with real interests.
- Be consistent, don’t just tweet once a week and expect a following.
- Get involved. Get engaged. Network. Meet. The best success comes from a combination of meeting people in person and extending that relationship online. It takes time and effort, but the benefits are so rewarding.
Author’s note : I want to thank Christine for allowing her interview to be the first posted to Practical Conversations. Not everyone is willing to blaze trails. It’s my hope that more interviews like this, with people sharing their experiences, will help us all to improve our personal processes for managing online conversations. Thanks Christine! -k