Feed People

If you’re involved in Social Media/Networked Communications as a marketer or businessperson, one of the key questions you ask yourself is: How can I add value to my community?

Take that question and look behind it to see this (more important) query: What are the unmet needs that I can address?

Always, a big need is targeted information. So, feed people.

Here are a few starting points:

    1. Almost every audience needs consolidated and/or curated content. Did you know that with a few hours work, you can create a public information portal using free (& quite simple) tools such as Pageflakes or Netvibes? And by subscribing to targeted blog and news feeds, you can filter out the most important information and post or e-mail it to your target audience. Doesn’t take much time, but adds tremendous value.
    2. And speaking of e-mail, don’t overlook this tried-and-true method of communicating. Many of us assume that our audiences are as tech-savvy as we’re trying to be. Usually, they’re nowhere close. So as you find technology and solutions* that help move the needle for regular folks to become a bit more advanced in their use of tools, share…using good old-fashioned e-mail and a personal touch. With all the networked communication methods I use, I still tend to get the best response via targeted e-mails (and, if you want to add a new twist to this, use a webcam and send a free video e-mail using a service like Eyejot.) You can become valuable to your network by introducing them to new advances, but by still using the communication methods they know and understand.
    (*Good sources for this kind of info: Lifehacker. TechCrunch. AllTop.)
    3. We all like diversions. So find interesting stuff, and share it. What are some of my main sources for finding offbeat and interesting items that my audiences enjoy? Here’s a few: Neatorama. Book of Joe. Coudal Partners. PopURLs.

It doesn’t take any special talent to become an information aggregator, curator, and communicator. It just takes a relatively modest amount of daily time, and steady effort. Your audience and network will really appreciate it, because they often do not have the time, and when you become a trusted and interesting source, you win.

That’s a few suggestions. What ideas, and other helpful sites, would you add (use the Comments)?

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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

10 Responses to Feed People

  1. This is a great post with some super suggestions! Thanks for sharing your insight!

  2. Deb says:

    Great points. Where I live, I’m still talking people through how to get a certain website (what the address bar is) and what to do when they get there. It’s not that they’re stupid – it’s only that this is a new tool for them and they just don’t know.

    I like the idea of building community and then making sure the people you want to see it, get to see it.

    @debworks

  3. Pingback: Posts about Lifehacker as of July 16, 2009 » The Daily Parr

  4. Jason Baer says:

    Steve, this is a great effort. I am always banging the drum of “be helpful” in my social media training, and this is a terrific extension of it. It doesn’t have to be massively complicated. There’s a fire hose of content being created in almost EVERY category. If you can position yourself as the person that finds and spotlights the stuff that’s truly worthwhile, that defines helpful in my book.

    Nice job. I’ll be sending this around to a lot of my clients.

  5. Adam Cohen says:

    Steve – A great post with tips on adding value around a topic, especially for community managers who work on behalf of a product or service company. These are great tactics on how to build relationships by adding value – as opposed to broadcasting your product in their faces. How do you achieve that balance of not sharing too much? Do you recommend asking community members for feedback on value, or on ideas?
    Thanks again and great post.

  6. Tom Martin says:

    Yes! Couldn’t agree more. Hope more folks take up this charge Steve. Thanks for writing.
    @TomMartin

  7. @Deb – I think we underestimate how many people are still barely crawling on-line!
    @Adam – I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about over-sharing, although that’s partly a function of the nature of my business (solo consultant/entrepreneur with a network biz model). But your mileage may vary. Most or all of what I’ve proposed doesn’t necessitate give away too much, I think…

  8. Steve. I’m with you all the way. My big sticking point is convincing my (ahem, slightly older) executive-level clients that this is worth their time. Is there any ROI data out there that you can point me/them to? Thanks!

  9. Thanks, Steve. This is a good one to share with clients–clear info, presented with intelligence.

  10. Pingback: Building your Small Business « StickyFigure

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