Social Media lets every business communicate, relate, and build a network of passionate customers.
Most businesses, however, are too busy “wasting time” or “resisting it”.
You don’t have to like “Social media” to make it work for you, or your business. No one cares whether you “favor” it or not. There’s not going to be a huge pile up of cash just because “you thought” that “this is what social media is”.
Social media just is.
It’s there for you, whether or not you intend to use it.
Social Media does more to your business or for your personal branding than you think it does.
Smart Insights reports that Facebook has over 1.71 billion users. Over 30 billion content pieces are shared on Facebook each month. Each user spends an average of 15 hours 33 minutes a month on Facebook alone.
Twitter, on the other hand, handles 1.6 billion queries while adding more 500,000 users per day. Google + has about 300 million users already.
Admittedly, social media is in. This is the era of Interaction.
People like you, get influenced by you, swear by your content, and link to you. Traditional marketing just got whipped.
The chances are that you got social media all wrong. You thought it was a “medium” like magazines or newspapers are.
Social media is much like a private party with the “privacy” replaced by “global connect” at scale.
- You don’t get on social media to “sell”
- The more you push, the more the media pushes you back.
- Pitch and you’ll be frowned upon.
- Expect sales, and you’ll be disappointed.
- You can’t really measure Social Media ROI
There’s “Social” In Social Media, as Jay Baer of Convince And Convert puts it.
You are doing it all wrong if you ever tried:
- Putting in the time and effort on Social media and thought you’d make money out of it (you might, but that’s not the point of being “social”)
- Hiring an entire team to drone away on social networks hoping to get ROI.
- Buying your way to get “fans” and “followers”.
- Looking for product sales on social media.
Don’t get me wrong. You’ll get traffic, you’ll be able to push your brand into visibility, and you’ll eventually make sales. Think of all that as bonuses when you get out there.
The primary reason you should be on social media is to connect — To engage. To communicate. To build a community of people who share common interests or have enough emotive to join conversations that relate to the problem your business solves.
I must say I loved The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business.
Tara Hunt is the co- founder and CEO of Buyosphere. She is also one of the 25 Women-led Startups to Watch in Fast Company (2011). I recall that she calls the whole humdrum of social media, networking, communities, and the collective power of social capital as “Whuffie”.
How powerful is that?
Her book itself is a result of community power. Further, the book cover came from the Whuffie, so she says. Social media is here to stay and you’ll be comfortable if you found yourself a lofty corner to be perched at. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are huge and can be intimidating to everyone.
It doesn’t have to be so. You can literally announce your arrival.
This is how you do it:
Give, and then take
When I wrote a guest post titled “5 Simple Secrets to Social Media Success“on Andy Nathan’s Blog, I couldn’t help but mull on this little aspect about social media. It’s strikingly obvious that no one cares about you, at least not right away.
It could be downright depressing and blunt to hear this. Really, everyone out there has something else to worry about and the last thing would be you.
That’s why shift your intentions from “taking” to “giving”. Don’t ask for anything in return (you might want to make requests here and there) but give information and share valuable resources. Write and then share your blog posts, Facebook Fan Page updates, and Tweets.
More importantly, be there to help. Your social networks — together — must be the sum total of all that you give.
When the time is right, what you need is right there for you to take.
When others within your community or network such as fans on Facebook and Followers on Twitter or LinkedIn share something, promote those tweets or updates.
Promote them like they are your own. It might not make sense to you now but when others see that you promote their content, they will eventually want to reciprocate. Check your Klout score regularly and give +K to people who’ve influenced you on your network.
As TechCrunch makes a point, Nobody gives a damn about your Klout score. Use it to benchmark your progress, donate +Ks to people as a sign of gratitude. Just don’t think that high Klout score is some- how going to make you rich.
Be a leader and Follower
Most beginners come with the intention of learning from the community and implementing it for themselves seeking a reward of some sort of fame, recognition, money, etc. You can’t lead without following. You can’t make to the top without crawling your way up from the bottom.
While some do it right, most do it wrong.
You can follow and “like” as many people as you like. Just don’t think all others out there are better than you or worse than you.
As they say, there’s always something to learn from others. It just happens in real time on social media.
Social Media is a level playing field
On Social Media, some people out there are better than you. Most aren’t. There are individuals, professionals, small businesses, medium businesses, and large corporations. I trust that you have things they don’t. They know about stuff you don’t. That’s why social media – and the Internet itself – is as empowering as you want it to be.
Lead from the front. Make it a responsibility to educate, inspire, and share with your followers. If you are a business – irrespective of the size of your company – you are an expert poised to solve people’s problems.
The good news is that the field is open for you. The bad news is that you have to work to get somewhere worth going.
Social Media Strategy? Forget that. Just Be Yourself
Caroline of Retargeter writes on social media done right, and she advocates the need to be YOU.
You are a lifetime’s worth of who you are. You are special (and I don’t care if you agree or disagree with that). There’s nothing more original in this world than you saying, “The grass is greener on the other side” in a way that only you can say.
That’s where the real magic on socal media happens. Depending on what you are on social for, your voice will resonate. You will be heard. People will follow you. They’d love you.
When you fake it, your tricks will eventually grow too big to fit in the decorum of normalcy. Your true colors will show through. With stakes in business and reputation, you can’t afford to do that, can you?
Focus on a clutch of sites
The sphere of social media is huge. Not every social media site will work for you.
For us, Foursquare really means nothing to since it’s more geographic specific. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook work best for me. I am still wondering how Google + fits in.
B2B businesses find Twitter and LinkedIn working for them. E-commerce businesses swear by Pinterest and Instagram in addition to the regular ones, and B2C businesses can’t have enough of Facebook.
For some businesses outside the U.S, Yelp will not work.
You get the drift, don’t you?
Less is more
Much like the Pareto’s principle, “less is more” is proving to have universal connotations.
Doing too much of anything can only hurt you. Don’t rush your Twitter account with 120 Tweets a day because it’ll look like spam (in spite of your apparent enthusiasm to share).
Don’t deluge your Facebook Fan Page wall with 20 messages a day (you don’t need to). Also, you don’t need to post every day on your blog (content quality suffers as frequency increases).
No one cares if you do it more or less. Everyone does care about the quality. Pick your number and stay committed, and that makes a difference.
Publish Long-Form When You Can
I often go on calls to meet clients to discuss strategy and social media inevitably drops into the conversation. Apart from getting all the expectations wrong (that they possibly can), they also say things like:
“LinkedIn Publishing? I don’t care so much about writing there”
“Why bother with Medium when we have our own blog?”
Now, here’s the thing: few opportunities exist for you write at length or launch podcasts or share videos on topics you are passionate about.
These are outlets that others expect you to “write. Speak. Show and tell”.
It helps with personal branding, it helps build bridges to connect, and it’s another way to showcase authority and build credibility.
You could have written a LinkedIn post instead of asking that question, you see?
Are you getting your social media strategy right or wrong? Tell us about it.