Social Media: Fans, Friends, and Followers
Growing a following on social media is a major component of running a business. It’s a major source of interest that tends to lend towards lead conversion, so it’s important that you do it correctly or else risk being dead in the water. It can be an intimidating process, but that’s only if you look at it from the wrong perspective: treating it purely as a business tool. This follows the philosopher, Kant‘s, categorical imperative which dictates that you should not treat people as a means to an end but rather as an end in themselves. Put more simply, in real life you do not try to make friends simply so that you may use them to satisfy some other need but that you try to make friends because you want them to be your friend. Social media is no different if you go about it the right way. Rather than approach it as a way to build your business your should approach it as a way to relate to others and give to them what you get back. That being said, here are a few tips that will ensure you are able to build successful social media channels going forward.
Win the first impression battle
What are you doing to make their first 30 seconds on your platform useful and worth their attention? If you can’t answer this question, you need to start here. First impressions are everything.
Humanize your brand. Realize that your brand is everything about you from what you tweet to how you respond to comments on Facebook. Don’t hide your employees. Let them shine and be a living, breathing representation of your brand. People don’t want to have a conversation with a cold corporate account.
Be patient yet persistent
You aren’t going to capture your community overnight or on the first day you launch any social media site. Building and launching an integrated online community takes time. Give yourself and your team the time to do it right. Have patience and persistence. Practice different methods of attracting new followers with A/B testing. Slow down, work hard, and do it right, and at the end of the game you’ll be the winner, guaranteed.
What knowledge can you share with them that will make them smarter? How can your knowledge drive real efficiency in their life or business? Share your best stuff, not just the same old same old you wrote two years ago that is over used and over sold, by everyone everywhere.
Make them feel. If you want to grab my attention on social media, make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me feel something, anything. When I have a super busy day managing our clients’ account, and I am replying to posts I have no choice due to the amount of them and time constraints but to choose where and when I am going to respond. It is an easy choice for me. I respond to the people who grab my attention. The people who are nice, who make me feel good. The people who are genuine. The people who make me laugh, playing the emotional card. Take this example and flip the script. You should be the one grabbing attention by making people feel good, by making them laugh, etc.
Focus on relationships
The life of social media is people. People like you and me. People who laugh, cry, get mad, go crazy, get married, divorced, have kids, lose family members, win jobs, lose jobs, get promotions, win new clients, get new opportunities, have fun, play hard and work hard. Offer value to the people in your community with a goal of building real relationships. Offer value and knowledge so that those relationships become cemented and so that new connections are lured into wanting to start a relationship with you.
Inspire your communities to connect with you with a foundational goal of achieving their objectives. Inspire … Connect …Achieve. To do this you must know their objectives and goals. You must know them. When you know your audience then you can know how you can help them be better. How can you help them learn? How can you help them go faster? Work smarter? Be smarter? Share more valuable information with their colleagues, clients, partners and friends? Figure these answers out and use them to help.
Make it easy
People want to connect. They don’t want to be spammed at every opportunity. Give them an opportunity to engage with you, your brand, and your team and not the other way around. Be available. Open up your comment stream on your blog. Listen and be relevant and responsive.
The most important thing you can do to create a positive engagement is to listen carefully. Listen with a goal to understand. Bottom line, listen more than you talk. You’ll be amazed how much you can learn about your audience when you shut up and listen, similar to real life. In summary, building a positive social media community engagement is very similar to making friends. Keep it simple and be genuine.