Companion Blog to the Social Hermit’s Guide to Social Media
Actual physical networking is NOT happening right now due to the coronavirus pandemic that is keeping us all physically distant. We are all — regardless of where we are on the introvert/extrovert spectrum — adapting to how we are social. We recently refreshed a great article on making the most of social media when one is an introvert. I, too, am a big believer in social media. However, being more the extrovert, I was an early adopter who embraced the social networking opportunities. Good, right? Well, yes. . . and no. I probably jumped in somewhat blindly. After years of participating, posting, engaging, and sharing, I have also learned when to rein it in – observing more, sharing less, offering help, and interacting more strategically. So, for all you social butterflies out there who took the plunge, joined every new platform available and may have–at one point or another–over-shared, this post is for you.
So, how can people like me use social media more effectively to build and promote their businesses? Here are my tips.
Tip #1: Prioritize Blogging . . . Strategically.
A business blog is one of the best sources in establishing credibility and thought leadership in your industry. It also invites commentary and conversation. If you are in an advisory business and are not adding new content to your site regularly, you are missing the boat. Writing keeps you in touch with what’s happening, establishes expertise, helps you “get found” in search, provides a service to clients and prospects and can be an incredible marketing tool, particularly when a strategic content calendar is followed. For the more social among us, it’s also a chance to share stories, mention clients, and recognize other remarkable people and events in our business lives.
Tip #2. Rethink LinkedIn.
Business people need to be on LinkedIn, particularly if you have anything to do with business development. At this point, though, it’s just another requirement of doing business. Two new members join LinkedIn every second. However, LinkedIn has a lower percentage of active users than Instagram and Facebook. What this means is that you may not have as good a response with “active engagement” content like tests or polls on LinkedIn as you might have on Facebook or Twitter. For LinkedIn, you may want to focus on sharing passive content like blog posts or slide shares, and focus on your own active LI group involvement. Regardless, keep your own profile up to date, and use personal messages and introductions for one-on-one communication.
Tip #3. Think smaller.
Think about affecting real business results in consistent, small increments for your core audience rather than broadcasting or casting a wide net. Focus on high-quality impressions and one-on-one engagement. Even in networking, you talk to one person at a time, and when you find that one person you can really help, it’s great. Same with social media. It’s okay if you have a small number of impressions or comments on a post, if it’s from someone who will use your service, share ideas or provide feedback. Think impact. Think outcome. Think contribution.
Tip #4. Be consistent.
Nothing will hurt your credibility more than a potential client visiting your site and seeing that your last blog post or tweet was dated April 2018. If you set up the account (be it LI, FB, IG, Twitter or whatever), make a plan to use it. Put the strategy in place and hire extra help if needed. Also, plan to personally participate. Clients want to hear from you. Even if you don’t have time to write the article, you can certainly be interviewed by your designated writer so your voice is evident.
Tip #5. Show Your Personality, but Keep it Professional.
It’s okay to share some other aspects of your life; that’s part of the fun of social media. Just remember your audience. Chances are, if you’re a talkative extrovert in business settings, that’s somewhat expected on Facebook or Twitter. Just remember, that once it’s out there, it’s out there. Will your clients, potential clients, coworkers, neighbors want to hear about your engagement or adorable new grandchild? Probably! Your messy divorce or political views? Probably not. Check your privacy settings. Make use of private messages and email when appropriate. And if you’re not sure if you should post it, you probably shouldn’t. What happens if you make a gaffe? Apologize where appropriate and move on.
Tip #6. Focus on Relevance Over Reach.
Plan your strategy for social media and focus on the value you provide to your customer. Usually that means your content will inform, entertain, challenge, educate or inspire. But it will only do that well when you understand your customer and his or her true business objective. Ultimately, we are after an emotional connection or reaction–that’s what “moves” your customer to feel or engage in the first place. Relevance fosters that connection. While it’s nice to have lots of followers, it’s more important to focus on your customer and those who are actually engaging (hopefully those are not mutually exclusive).
Tip #7. Enjoy Your Contribution.
If you delight in socializing, talking, writing, engaging and the whole social media thing, enjoy it, and value your contribution. You never know who is watching. A complete non-client type from your circle of old high school friends on Facebook could be married to that entrepreneur who needs exactly the services you provide. Every once in a while, social media works that way, too. So stay connected and enjoy your interactions.