What’s your Signal to Noise Ratio?

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I’m very happy to have my friend and colleague  Tammy Lenski here writing a guest post for SocialMedi8r.com.  Tammy has been a wealth of information for me and is the author of the book, “Making Mediation Your Day Job.”  If you would like to find out a bit more about her, there is some more information at the bottom of the post.  Enjoy! 

Signal vs Noise: How to Be a Beacon for Your Market

In a world of signals and noise, it’s better to be known as a signal.

The signal-to-noise ratio, or SNR, is an engineering measure that compares desired level of a signal to the level of background noise. In the online world the SNR refers to the idea that it’s better to be a source of useful information than background chatter — to be the preferred signal for your market instead of noise that’s irrelevant or worse, interfering and annoying.

Signals are beacons and guiding lights. Noise is a distraction. There’s a great deal of noise in social media and it’s one of the reasons people can feel overwhelmed and turned off by Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Yet if you’re a signal, you’ll stand out and others will notice. When you share more signals than noise when you’re online, you’ll be striking the right SNR for your marketing efforts. Here’s now to get the ratio right.

Reduce the Amount of Noise You Contribute

What constitutes noise?

  • It may differ across markets, one reason clarity about your particular target market(s) really matters. I’ll say more about this a little later.
  • Retweeting (a Twitter term referring to reposting something another person wrote) most of the time instead of being the source of some of the good ideas you share.
  • Talking about yourself endlessly, like “that guy” everyone at a party wants to get away from.
  • Posting a lot on topics that don’t really matter to your market. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be your genuine self and let some of what you enjoy show — that’s good for relationship building and it’s normal human stuff. But if you’re using social media to market your services, be sure to strike the right balance.
  • Posting junk just to post something and feel like you’ve put in your social media marketing time. You want your market to see you as a helpful resource, right? Junk wastes everyone’s time.
  • Posting constantly. Your market probably doesn’t have the time to read everything you post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networking sites. If you post a great deal, you risk them missing the things you most want them to notice. And it makes you appear as though you don’t have a lot else to do.
  • Hopping on every social media bandwagon that comes along. It’s fine to experiment, but ultimately, the place(s) you spend your time should be those you enjoy and where your market spends its time. An added benefit is that your time will feel less fractured.
  • Subjecting your market to the games you play. If you want to play Farmville on Facebook, that’s fine — but don’t imagine for a second that your business market will be pleased by your repeated Farmville posts. Pay attention to your settings and who sees your posts, or designate certain online platforms for private use only.
  • Overusing automation. Most social media platforms now include mechanisms for automatically adding certain kinds of content. For instance, on Twitter, you can arrange for anyone who follows you (chooses to be notified of all content you add) to receive a brief automated message from you. You can also arrange for others’ content to be aggregated automatically into a type of Twitter newsletter. Easy, yes. Effective? Not if you overuse it. People want to network with the real you, not an automated substitute.

Cultivate Strong Signal Habits

Becoming a signal isn’t hard, in large part because there enough people yet many making the effort. Do even a few things on the following list and you’ll begin differentiating yourself in a good way to those who follow you online.

  • Know your market so well that you know what they find relevant and interesting and what turns them off. To do this successfully you need clear, narrow target market(s) and have done your homework on their needs and interests.
  • Provide them with resources and ideas they can’t get from someone else. Become their trusted online advisor and source for great content.
  • Generate your own content as well as share others’ good ideas. If you only share others’ ideas, you mark yourself as someone without any of your own — which, of course, isn’t true. Again, this about striking the right balance.
  • Curate content for your market. Instead of retweeting (Twitter) or sharing (Facebook and Google+) everything that comes along, take the time to read the tweets and posts, then share the best. It’s another way to become a trusted advisor.
  • Talk with your market, not at them. Reach out to individuals, connect with them, human to human. Forward useful and relevant tweets and posts to a specific person (the social networking version of article clipping) you’ve gotten to know. Be their go-to resource.
  • Put relationship before chit chat. If you use this rule of thumb, it will guide you well.
  • Pay attention to other people you view as signals. Watch what they’re doing and not doing. Learn from those who are already succeeding at being signals.

The world needs more conflict resolution professionals who are signals. Why not become one of them?

About the author: Dr. Tammy Lenski has been helping individuals and organizations turn conflict into growth and opportunity for two decades. Author of the award-winning book, Making Mediation Your Day Job, Tammy can be found online primarily at her blog, on Twitter, and at LinkedIn.

© 2012 Tammy Lenski. All rights reserved.

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  • January 18, 2012, 12:20 pm  Reply

    Thanks for the invitation to write a post for socialmedi8r.com, Jason!

  • January 18, 2012, 8:09 pm  Reply

    Tammy has it dead on, so much of what comes through our feeds is just noise, not real conversation, just tidbits of junk. She was also talk about using it wisely to build the relationship.

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