Sure, social media is viewed as a brain drain and time-sucker by hoards of people because they don’t know how to use it. They focus on promote-promote-promote instead of providing value, and then wonder why they’re not getting the results they’re after.
There are countless tutorials, self-study programs, and teleseminars on the hottest new way to market your business using (insert social media platform here). But one thing these gurus fail to mention is the sheer power of hanging out with your tribe (your target audience) on social media and becoming visible to them over time.
Getting to know your audience by talking to, supporting, and encouraging them in their own lives and businesses will build long-term and active relationships. Then if you do choose to promote your services, you’ll have a community who backs you up.
As a small business your entire foundation is built upon personal relationships.
So how do we build our online social spheres?
Facebook groups are a fantastic place to find and communicate with your tribe. Be careful though, a lot of groups are pitch fests and don’t have much conversation or community support within them. Find a group with active members (of your target audience) who genuinely care about one another.
When you first join, introduce yourself but don’t start pitching your services or offerings right away.
Think of it like meeting a new group of friends. They’ve been together for a while and you’re just coming to the party. Would you immediately barge in and start shouting your principles over everyone else? No, you’d join the conversation. You’d get to know people. You’d compliment and respond. You might give an indication as to where you hang out more (your business page) but you wouldn’t try to overtake the gang.
It’s the same on social media.
Don’t make it all about you.
Join the conversation.
Express genuine interest and excitement over other people’s shares.
Share content that will benefit the group.
Only promote things that will contribute or augment the well-being of the members of the group.
Be a friend, a colleague, a supporter, and a provider.
LinkedIn is another great place to find and engage with the people you want to do business with. It’s a professional networking site and you are a professional. Tap into that and be a source of information and guidance to other professionals.
Promote and comment on posts from your connections. Share useful articles, inspirational quotes, and helpful tips with your community – on your personal profile and your business page. Become a follower of those businesses who follow your page.
Regardless of where you choose to engage in the social media scene, always keep in mind:
The name of the social media game is
- Provide value
- Engage your audience
- Show genuine care and concern. Remember these are people, not computers (which is sometimes hard to recall when you’re shouting across the mighty web)
- Focus on one to two platforms (you can’t be everywhere – and you don’t need to be) and do the above consistently.
One little last reminder here:
Social media can suck you in faster than a jet-fueled vacuum cleaner. I know you know this, but it bears repeating. Schedule times (and time frames) to check in. For example, mornings, mid-day, and just before closing up shop, are good times. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes max. That way you’ll be feeding your network, without losing focus on your work.
Put yourself out there so that others can get to know you, like you, and trust you.
You never know who you’re going to meet. They may be future affiliates, JV partners, clients, mentors, mastermind buddies, or super fans.
You never know who you’re going to connect with, so just get out there, be yourself, and deliver value without concern as to what you’re going to get in return.
It’s the law of attraction guys; what you send out will always come back – so don’t worry, just send out the good stuff!