Social media has revolutionised the business to consumer relationship and changed the way in which we communicate with our clients. As long as it is used correctly, that is.
I see many organisations forgetting why social media was created in the first place and misusing what could be a valuable tool for their business. I think the term ‘media’ throws people off a little. What you need to remember first and foremost is the social aspect of social media. You must reach out and connect with others to truly make a difference.
How social are you?
I’m not asking how many social media platforms you use. I’m asking about the quality of your interactions.
Take a look back over your recent tweets or Facebook posts. What were they about? Were they directed to anyone in particular or were they purely sharing business related information? Did they have the human touch?
If you’ve been using social media for a while and you’re finding that it’s not really working for you, try adding some real connection to it. Make it personal, the way any face-to-face social connection would be.
Don’t allow the computer screen to block your view.
People don’t use social media to interact with organisations. They use it to interact with the people within the organisation.
In the real world, no-one walks up and begins speaking to the doors of a business; they go straight to a human being. In the online world, your screen is the virtual equivalent of the door. Don’t let it block access to you. Your social media contacts don’t want to feel they are interacting with your screen. They want you, so give yourself to them.
But I don’t know how.
It’s simple. Be yourself.
The old proverb ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ is still true. Stop focusing on the business angle all the time, and start thinking about the personal ones. Tell your stories and allow people to get to know you. You are interesting, aren’t you?
For social media to really work, you need to take the time and effort to really get involved. Show your true colours on your network. Don’t just do general broadcast posts or tweets; connect with people on an individual basis and go out of your way to speak with them.
What’s in it for me?
You may have heard stories of how people have connected online and great things happened. These aren’t urban myths. These kinds of mutually beneficial relationships happen often and can be extremely effective for everyone involved.
More importantly though, you will find the social media space a lot more interesting when you become involved with your people. It adds a whole new dimension to the experience. You will get to know prospective clients or colleagues. You will make contacts around the world, and the connections you make can open up new opportunities that you never thought possible.
Now what do I post?
When you go to your social media platforms tomorrow, don’t think about meeting the obligatory 3 tweets/posts per day requirement. Think about starting or entering a conversation, instead. It’s much easier to think of what to say, and you will find yourself becoming more and more involved with people.
Will it have a business payoff? Of course it will. Just don’t make that your focus. People who know and trust you will shop with you, but they can’t know you without connection.
Put the ‘social’ part of social media first. Grab your coffee, get comfortable and settle in for a chat. Things are about to kick off.