4 Roles to Play in B2B Social Media

by Chris Arlen on March 3, 2015

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4 Roles to Play in B2B Social Media

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” – OK, so you’re a player, I’m a player, we’re all players on LinkedIn and other social media.

Social media is the greatest communication opportunity in history and to make the most of our B2B presence we should be acting in all four of these roles: Creator, Curator, Conversationalist, and Reader.

However, we’ve likely type cast ourselves in just one primary role, and at best a smaller secondary one.

Yet we should be spending some time in all four if we want to fully promote our ideas, reputation, and business.

Take a look at the four and see where you fall short; there’s always time to improve (says the author who is woefully absent in two of the four, you’ll have to guess which ones).

Creator

Creator

You create B2B content; research reports, observations, new thoughts, make visible the invisible, or articulate old gold in a new way.

You publish and get read. If your stuff is good it adds to your professional credibility, as well as your commercial visibility.

Of course, if you’re already a celebrity, you may be invited to become one of the 500 or so LinkedIn Influencers who get the high volume views on this platform.

But there are more lessons to be learned than starting billion dollar businesses, or birthing unicorns ($1B IPOs). That’s the opportunity for more Creators to fill; life’s lessons and illuminating personal stories. It just takes the first plunge and then more practice.

Curator

Curator

You scan the Internet and post links to Creators’ content for your connections, followers, friends, etc. to consume.
Bad curators inundate audiences with tons of links hoping they’ll be seen as valued resources. Nope, they’re just hyperactive linkers who don’t add value to the connection.

Good curators on the other hand add value. They scour terabytes of noise to find a signal so you don’t have to. Then riff on their finds, flavoring them with opinions and why they think they’re important for you to know about.

A good Curator is hard to find, it takes time and discipline. So when you find a good one, follow them for as long as the content is good. Or make that commitment yourself; search, add value, post, and build an audience.

Conversationalist

Conversationalist

You participate in online discussions, contributing to the conversation, challenging group think, adding your professional and personal perspective. You may even start conversations.
Conversationalists, the community-minded B2B people, are the lifeblood of meaningful content. They are the ones group-leaders and discussion-initiators hope will show up and engage. Without Conversationalists, social media is the sound of one hand clapping.

These generous people, through their desire to learn or their compassion to contribute, are the heart of the Internet.

The trick to being a good Conversationalist is to first spend time finding the social media platform that works for you, your interests, and/or business. Once there, spend a little time reviewing what’s been said and then jump in.

And here’s a special shout out for those who respectfully, intelligently, and/or humorously converse online. Thanks.

Reader

Reader

You are a Reader if you consume content and information to inform, educate, and/or emotionally engage yourself.

Online, everyone starts as a Reader, and remains one daily.

However, if one stays only a Reader you will miss an exciting human experience that social media makes possible – that of connecting with someone whom you may be diametrically opposed to politically, ideologically, or religiously. Or, who is far away geographically.

Social media can connect people across those borders. But only if a Reader plays one or more of the other roles; Conversationalist, Curator, or Creator. If not, a Reader devolves into a “Lurker.”

Summary

Yeah, I know these roles may appear obvious but unless we do our fair share participating online, we’ve abdicated content to the few, the loud, the greedy, the overly ambitious among us.

It’s collective participation that makes online communication and its subsequent understanding the prize for all. And worth extending ourselves into all four roles.

This article, “4 Roles to Play in B2B Social Media” was originally published in LinkedIn.

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