Keep It Social
Most businesses use social media as part of their marketing activity. But very few seem to get the results they want. One of the reasons for this is that people forget what the purpose of social media is. If you want success then you need to use it for its purpose and keep it social.
I host a workshop on social media marketing. During the half day session one of the things we explore is what is the purpose of social media and why are you using it. Social media isn’t a selling tool. It definitely isn’t there to help businesses generate leads. It’s a way for people to interact, keep in touch, share thoughts and discuss ideas. So if you want to get people to notice you on there, you need to use it in the way it was meant to be used.
Let’s have a look at how the most popular platforms describe themselves on their own websites:
· Facebook - We build technologies to give people the power to connect with friends and family, find communities and grow businesses.
· LinkedIn - LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network on the internet. You can use LinkedIn to find the right job or internship, connect and strengthen professional relationships, and learn the skills you need to succeed in your career.
· Twitter - Twitter is a service for friends, family, and coworkers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages.
· Instagram - Instagram is a free photo and video sharing app.
Just by the descriptions alone, you can see that none of these have been designed as sales tools. Almost every platform uses the word ‘connect’. And that’s at the heart of social media. Don’t sell or broadcast. Instead find a way to connect with your friends, followers and connections. As that’s the purpose of the platforms, it will be easier to do this and it will give you better results.
Many business people network. Whether it’s part of a formal group that meets every week or ad hoc dropping in every now and then to a local meeting, it’s quite a popular thing to do. Networking is about connecting to other businesses. It’s about sharing ideas and getting to know other people. It’s very similar to social media and we can learn lessons from how we behave in the networking world to improve our social media experience.
Firstly, you would never enter a networking meeting and ignore everyone. You wouldn’t then reel off your very salesy one minute pitch before ignoring everyone and leaving the meeting immediately. You interact. Whether you like doing it or not, it makes sense that if you don’t interact then you won’t get any results.
A lot of businesses schedule their social media posts on Hootsuite or Buffer or another similar tool. They don’t enter the platforms to post content, and they’ll just check their notifications to see if anyone has reacted. That’s the same as shouting out your one minute pitch at a networking meeting, but in no other way being present. People aren’t going to take notice. We don’t buy from each other because we were amazed by that short post or few sentences. We buy from people because we’ve built a relationship with them, we’re interested in what they do and we trust them.
In today’s world, there is an extremely small number of businesses that are truly unique. One way or another, virtually every business has competition. So it’s not what you do that will attract attention. It’s who you are and how you do what you do that will entice people to work with you.
Are you building that trust with your weekly post that you scheduled a month before on a completely separate system? Because if your competitor is out there speaking to people, engaging with them, commenting on things, sharing ideas and generally being present, there’s a much higher chance your potential customers will be going with them.
Think about how you’re using social media for marketing. Are your messages meeting the purposes of the platform? Are they actually sharing ideas, engaging people or in any way connecting to your audience? Walk in your customers’ shoes and see how things are looking from their perspective.
If you don’t play your part and get involved, just as you would at a networking meeting, you’re simply going to get ignored. It’s the people who are present that will get noticed.
Yes, doing this is hard work. Yes, it’s time consuming. It’s also sales as well as marketing. But there simply isn’t a way to cheat the system and get sustainable results. If you want to grow your business through social media, then you must be social and connect. Otherwise you might as well focus your efforts elsewhere.
If you’d like to learn more about social media marketing and how to get better results from it, please book on to my half day workshop. I am also partnering with Pilkington Communications to run a separate workshop tailored to the not-for-profit sector.