I am often asked by people that are just getting into social media when we start talking about having ”conversations” instead of just broadcasting and billboarding – how? How do I start a conversation with a stranger? They don’t know me, they don’t care about me, I don’t know what to say! My response is – what do you usually do when you are in that situation? And they stare at me blankly.
Small talk is universal and people are turning to social media because they WANT to be social. Why are you trying out social media? Probably, in one way or another, you want to connect with other people. Just like you would at a conference, trade show, party, club, new job, new school, new class or any other instance where “new” people are. Think about how you strike up conversation there – and even how you decide who you want to strike up conversation with.
Look for the people talking about the things you want to talk about – searches are handy for finding new people on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and more that are already talking and posting about stuff you are interested in. A common icebreaker at networking and social events is the compliment-introduction “Great (gadget/accessory/idea/etc.)! I’m (insert name), tell me about (where you got it/ the significance/ why you have it/you)” and works exceptionally well in a social media setting too.
Lifehacker recently shared How to Avoid Awkward Conversations when Meeting Someone New and it has some other good ideas (and not so good ideas – I always encourage reading the comments for second and third opinions on what Lifehacker shares) if you want some more inspiration on starting the online conversation. Their post is about IRL (in real life) conversations but a little tweaking can make them relevant to online connections too.
How do you generally start conversations in different social media channels?