An explosion of social media popularity has sent a flurry of new broadcasts out into the “tweetosphere” producing a lot more noise. Kind of like getting every FM radio station at once. No one is arguing the value of your message on social media. It’s clear that the right business using the right social media tools can have a huge impact in their marketplace. But how does a business push through the social media noise?
In the audio world (and a lot of others) there is a term called “signal to noise ratio”. Signal to noise refers to the basic concept of how much music (signal) is getting through versus how much garbage (noise). The higher the number, the stronger the signal. When we look at, for example, a Twitter account we can ask how much information coming in is useful (signal) versus pointless (noise).
We all have them: the followed user that pumps out tweets every few minutes twenty hours a day. Sure every few days you may get a useful link, but for the most part knowing what percentile their newborn is on a growth chart is hardly of interest. Yet, if you unfollow the person, will there be a emigration of followers? So you put up with the noise. However, when was the last time you reviewed your own tweets?
With tweets (and most anything in business) “be remarkable” is the axiom, but what’s remarkable to everyone? This is where interest communities come into play. Interest communities are the online families that are bound together by a common interest. Interests can be a product, an activity or even a topic and when that interest involves your business—it is critical to be a part of it.
“Be remarkable to the community” suddenly makes more sense. Look back at your tweets—how remarkable are they to your interest community? Is retweeting a viral video of a skateboarder wiping out signal or noise? Noise to a lot, but signal if you’re selling protective gear or promoting a skate park. The difference between them is knowing your interest community and knowing if your broadcast message is signal or noise.
Of course, you have the overlapping of interest communities where signal to some is noise to others. There is no perfect signal—no environment devoid of noise. That is what allows our interest communities to expand. Customers or consumers searching for a signal, lost in the noise, can never come to you unless you keep broadcasting. Keep pumping out the signal and drawing customers or consumers in.
Self-examination and keeping your marketing message a strong signal may mean you drop from ten tweets a day to one or two. This also means considering another important element to keeping a strong signal—timing.
Timing is everything. Know when your interest community is online. A coworker fires off an email just before 5:00 pm on Friday likely means the average Joe won’t see it until Monday. Sending out a tweet while the interest community is otherwise engaged likely means it will get buried in the hundreds of other tweets. Your signal becomes noise unless it is received. When it comes to participating with your interest community, timing is as important as having a relevant message.
Keeping your signal to noise ratio strong will require keeping in tune with your interest community. Burning through the noise means keeping your signal on-message or of relevance to your community. Finally, delivering your signal when your community is listening will bring it all home. When a customer or consumer find a strong signal, they will stay with it until the end.