Written by Ted Rubin
Time and time again, I hear marketers cry the blues that they have a hard time making their social media efforts pay off. “How can I create content that gets more engagement?” they ask. “I’m blogging, but nobody’s listening… I’m not getting any response to my tweets… Nobody’s ‘Liking’ my new Facebook page!”
What are they doing wrong? Well primarily, there is a misconception about social that “if you build it, they will come,” which couldn’t be further from the truth. You can have a killer website, a great looking Facebook page, Twitter and YouTube branding—the works. But if you’re not reaching out to comment on other people’s posts, sharing other people’s good content, actively helping where you can, and generally joining in the conversation on these channels, then what you’re doing is like sitting on the side of a busy highway with a “Please Like Me” sign over your head. Lots of luck with that.
If you want more from your social media activities, then give your customers and prospects a reason to take the time out of their busy lives to like you. They’re “up to here” with ad messages. Those fall on deaf ears. They’re looking for answers to their questions, solutions to their problems, and they’re also looking to make real, one-on-one connections with real people (Hint: It’s called networking).
For marketers, however, thinking about approaching social media from a networking aspect rather than a marketing aspect can be difficult—especially if you’re used to traditional marketing and measuring return on broadcast messaging (one-way, convince-and-convert messages to your audiences on TV, radio, direct mail, email or online ads). You may have heard from ad agencies that social isn’t really all that different—it’s just another kind of media. That’s precisely the wrong approach—people who spend time on social channels do so to network, build relationships, engage and interact. To be successful on social channels you need to be engaged and offer value!
There’s no lazy way out of this, folks. If you want the eyes and ears of your prospects focused on you, then take a leaf from physical networking experts and develop a “giver’s gain” philosophy when using social media.
For instance, traditional networking groups are a prime example of physical, one-on-one networking that really works. By making a commitment to show up to weekly meetings with fellow business owners, listening to their needs, and making a concerted effort to bring them referrals and help them get more customers, participants gain referrals in return. The amount of referrals they get tends to correlate directly to the amount of “giving” they do—which requires them to develop relationships with each other and develop trust. Those that attend only to blather about themselves don’t last long—it’s the deep relationships that develop over time that really produce results.
Developing fruitful social relationships in social channels requires the same “giver’s gain” philosophy, and takes the same amount of dedication and work:
- Get to know your customers/prospects by actively listening to their needs in social channels
- Reach out to others without waiting for them to “Like” you first
- Contribute to conversations where you can provide value (not a sales pitch)
- Always be thinking of ways to help others solve problems
- Introduce people when appropriate
- Be genuine in your responses and outreach
- Don’t expect reciprocation, but always strive to give it when someone reaches out to you
In many ways, networking on social channels is like “going back to our roots” as physical networkers. Both are about building relationships. However, those who take themselves out of the equation and focus on the needs of others can expect to get a better Return on Relationship™.
Brands need to attract customers, but breaking through the clutter is challenging. Stand out by “Liking” them before they “Like” you.