If you happen to be in the SEO, or the internet marketing field, you’ve heard of social media. I’ll go so far as to say if you own a computer, you’ve heard of social media. Most all of us have a facebook, myspace, linkedin, or twitter account and we use them regularly. And now because of the truly explosive power of social media, businesses are learning to leverage the instant success and revenue it can bring.
Can bring. Not WILL bring.
Social Media can literally make or break your business. And not trying to scare you folks…but being ‘active’ in social media is not the only factor to that success. In fact being active in the wrong networks or being flagged as spam is guranteed slow death.
Let’s make an analogy.
Social media is social…so let’s pretend it’s a party. You get invited to your friend’s house for a party and you decide to attend. When you walk into the party, who do you talk to, who do you listen to? Well, first you’ll want to socialize with your friends…the people you know. Obviously you know these people; you are comfortable with them and have a relationship established with them. This is no different than social media networking. When most new users join a network like myspace, facebook, and twitter, they immediately search for their friends to add them to their network.
So, back at the party, you’re chatting with your buds and they are chatting with some of their friends you don’t know. These new people seem kind of cool, maybe into the same things as you and your friends. So, you chat with them a bit as well. This is the second phase of the social networking world. Once a user has found their friends online, the next step involves browsing their friends’ contacts. This is how users first discover new people who may share the same interests and personal views. New connections are made, and this is the very tip of the social media iceberg.
Now at the party, you’ve chatted with some friends, met a few of their friends, and it’s time to mingle. Who do you talk to? Well, most often you’ll want to listen in to who is the most interesting, well spoken, knowledgeable, and personable. The person who is charismatic and approachable will most often be the first one you approach to chat with, or in the very least listen to. This person says interesting and funny things, offers up good advice, and seems genuinely interested in you. But then there is this guy in the corner who runs up to you abruptly and says “Hi my name is John, I wrote this awesome book. You can buy it for 15 dollars. I have it right now and I’ll give it to you if you give me 15 dollars.”
Which person would you want to talk to again? Charismatic and personable, or John with the book? Better yet…which one are you going to invite to your next party?
This IS social media. It’s social. It’s about connections and relationships. When you decide to embark on a social media campaign for your business or personal brand, it’s VITAL to remember this scenario. When you constantly self promote and push your products, you start to sound like crazy John from the party. No one will listen to you, or even pretend to be interested in your products or services. You become nothing more than annoying white noise and if you are too pushy or persistent about it, the community will push you out. Plain and simple.
Instead, be Mr. Charisma. Use social media the way it was meant to be used. Offer up personal info (that you are comfortable with sharing) and get to learn about people in your network. Focus on being a contributor to that community by offering important information, advice, or simply a relationship of some kind. Then, once you’ve established yourself as an important and contributing part of that community, it’s ok to offer your services or products. A good ratio to try to adapt is 70/30. 70% of what you post, tweet, or message on your networks should be personal, fun, or informative in some way. Offer up genuinely good content. The other 30% can be about your business, or services.
Wait, I know you’re thinking. What?? 70% should be informative content? Holy Rusted Metal Batman! Where am I going to come up with that?? Here is the kicker. It doesn’t have to be YOUR content. If you run a business about video games, and happen to discover a new trailer for the God of War III game, you offer that to your social media networks as something interesting and informative that you think they may find value in. Be a reporter. Find things that are important to your contacts and share it. Share information your community will find useful. And if that information happens to be written by you that’s fine! Share away.
The ‘secret’ to social media success is so simple it’s ridiculous. Be social. Always in the back of your mind be thinking “would I say or do this at a party/social gathering…?” If not, than you’re doing it wrong.