You might have had some practice starting conversations during the holidays or at parties. “Hey,” you might say. “Hey,” says your new friend. “How’s the punch?” you ask. “Pretty good.” your new friend responds. And a beautiful friendship is born. See? You already know a lot about talking! But in case you need to say a little more in an online conversation, here are your…
Social Media Conversation Starters
Before you say anything else to someone, before you tell them to “like your Facebook page” in an unsolicited direct message on Twitter, you might want to start a conversation. Some good times to start conversations are late at night, on Fridays during #FridayFollow, or on the weekend. Holidays are a perfect time to begin conversations, too.
Greetings Are Important
Just as in real life, the hellos, nice to meet you’s, and so happy you could make it’s are the hors d’ouevres of a good social media meal. Without them, conversations will seem a little weird because you’ve skipped steps. Greetings are what get us going in any relationship. They’re the bread and butter of your social media dinner.
Seven to Thirteen Touches
If you’re selling something, as many people are on social media, it takes 7 to 13 touches to qualify a lead. You may have heard this before. I love the chart (Figure 2) in this article about how most prospects never receive enough touches. So using a “soft touch” in social media goes a long way towards nurturing a relationship.
Always Ask Questions
Usually people will tell you something about themselves or their brand on their profile. Take a look and comment on what you see there. Start off with “I love the…” and fill in the blank. “…thing you say about bicycle pumps.” “…way you string together nouns.” Anything to get the conversation started. Even noticing where they’re from or asking about the weather or their holiday plans is perfectly fine. Here’s an example from a recent conversation with Stephanie Mount on Twitter:
— Stephanie Mount (@cr8inno8) November 27, 2013
Make it About Them
Don’t be waiting for a break in the conversation so you can talk about yourself. Let the other person lead and be willing to be surprised by listening. That way, it’s more of an adventure. You never know what people will say! Most people love to talk about themselves, so give them the opportunity. Alex Feinman has some good ideas in his blog (I particularly like the part about “merging” and his comparing it to traffic).
Not all of us are born comedians, but sharing a funny story usually helps to break the ice. I really like self-deprecating humor because that’s just my thing. And if someone makes me laugh, chances are, I’m going to like them because that’s the way to my heart. What’s the way to yours? Try what works on you with other people and you could be surprised.
What Are Some of Your Most Effective Conversation Starters?
Pull up a chair, sit down, and leave a comment!