Many people have asked me why I connect so well with my tribe through social media. This is a great question because it allows us to explore the potential benefits of social media and how we can use it to engage people and give true value.
These are my seven secrets, which transcend social media platforms. They can be applied in ways that will grow your business no matter what industry you’re in.
1) Be a findable
It is important to be there for the people and participate in the relevant conversations. In today’s digital world, these relevant conversations take place on social media.
Different businesses will have different platforms. A person in corporate circles should be on LinkedIn, while a band page on MySpace would be better. It is easy to determine which social media platforms you should be on: Where are your prospects and customers hanging out?
Once you are familiar with the platforms, ensure you are present on them and contributing to their community. Make sure that you are easily found by prospects who search for your expertise.
2) Be positive, Yo
You might have a particular vibe if you sell accounting software for accountants. Your vibe might be very different if you sell luxury automobiles or haute couture fashion. It doesn’t matter what your vibe is, it should be reflected on all social media accounts.
This attitude should be reflected in all your graphics. These include your header, pictures, avatar pic, wrap, and style of your LinkedIn profile headshot.
I don’t know how many times someone has shared one of my posts or messaged me, but when I go to their page to check if they should follow back, I find… nothing. There is no picture, bio or even information about the place they reside in. You shouldn’t use social media if you are in witness protection. If you want to use social media to grow your brand, increase your reach, and make money, we have some suggestions.
Start with a picture! We can start with a picture! Even 97-year old mammies are sending photos of their great-grandkids. Ask someone if you don’t know the right way to upload a picture.
It should be a photo of you and not your pet cat, dog, or llama. Please post a current photo. Don’t send a picture and then wait 15 years to see it! We want to know the person we are conversing with. Similar applies to icons and caricatures. Only use them if they are essential to your branding.
Your avatar should, by the way for most of you who are reading this, be your logo. Don’t do it blindly. Consider who is actually posting the feed and if a personal photograph would work better. The logo can be placed anywhere else on the page.
Copy should reflect the vibe. Lang Lang might have included in his Twitter bio the music conservatories where he studied and the orchestras with which he has performed. Mick Jagger’s bio is not as extensive.
The most important thing is that your brand’s vibe and feel should be evident in the feeds you create. Your feed should reflect who you are. You can expect inspiring tweets from Joel Osteen if you follow Bill Simmons. But you should also expect some snarky humor. Your social media posts should be in line with your overall messaging and feel through all channels.
3) Don’t Broadcast, Engage
It is social media, not broadcast media. Stop broadcasting at people, and instead start talking to them. A feed that only offers pitches is not something anyone wants to follow. If you make your feed interesting and relevant, people will accept occasional offers for your products or other services. It’s better to show these in context of the problems they solve, and not the features of your product.
Social media has the greatest advantage of all: it lets you build relationships with your tribe. One way to do that is by offering real value through your posts.
Your personality and the things you offer will determine what “real value” means. People who follow you as a home builder will love to see your tips for remodeling and construction. Bill Maher would probably say that witty jokes are the real value of your work.
Share solid content, interesting observations, and engaging conversations. Engage with your followers, post, and become part of the community.
Here are some examples of what you can do.
Let’s say you are an appliance retailer with a new model refrigerator on sale. Many businesses would just broadcast sales pitches such as “New model X KitchenPro fridge available” or launch a race to the bottom by offering discounts like “Save $100 on model X KitchenPro fridge.”
What if you blogged or uploaded a YouTube video about how to lower your electricity bills and the energy savings that the KitchenPro refrigerator provides? What about getting a local nutritionist or chef to write up something on the benefits of eating healthy and mentioning the temperature-controlled crisper drawers, ample storage space, and other benefits of the new refrigerator? The blog can be linked to, so you can provide value while also selling your product.
Suppose you’re a website designer. You can post some announcements about your website design. What if instead of posting about your website building abilities, you could write a blog or a video that demonstrates the success of clients who have used the websites to increase their reach and profits?
Highlight the design features that you have created to improve search engine optimization, user functionality, and other benefits. This will help you become a trusted expert in your field and increase your business.
Social media can be used by ice cream shops, pizza places, and yoghurt shops to promote new flavors. How much stronger would it be to have customers vote for the flavor they want in a social media campaign? My followers give me real-time feedback on my books, which makes the manuscript stronger.
When the Internet first exploded, everyone was talking about three Cs: content, community and commerce. It’s not that much different today. People will follow people who write content they care about. If you show that you are part the community by sharing your knowledge, conversing and offering value, commerce will naturally occur for you.
You will likely need multiple social media accounts for your large business. One account might be needed by an airline to provide customer service. Another one would be used for elite frequent flyer members. A third one could offer specials and bargains. The last one would be used for flight updates. One university might have one account from the dean, several dozen from professors and one each from the administration and the sports departments.
4) Where can you plant your flag?
It is impossible to keep up with all social media platforms. To find out where prospects are talking, search key terms and terms. Take a look at your top customers to see where they spend their time on social media.
Concentrate on the platforms that you enjoy most. Let your tribe know where your time is spent. Tell your tribe if you upload a YouTube video every other day or every other week. You can also tell them if you only check Facebook at the beginning of the morning, and not throughout the day. If you tell people where and when you hang out, they’ll follow you.
5) Monitor Your Brand.
Hootsuite is a third-party app that allows you to set up a column which tracks when your company or business is mentioned. This will allow you to identify what delights clients, and then reward those employees. You will also be able to identify when problems are occurring and take action immediately. This instant feedback is valuable and can help you plan for improvement in your service and process.
Social media is a place where people will talk about you, regardless of whether or not you want it to.
It is absurd to not listen to them. It amazes me that so many companies spend millions on market research and focus group, but ignore social media where they can get better information free.
If you don’t react to a social media brush fire, it can quickly become a wildfire that becomes anti-social media. If you are able to identify a problem early on and solve it, you can turn enemies into loyal fans.