“Social media doesn’t work.” “I’ve had a Twitter account and a Facebook page for years and I have never gotten business from them.” “My customers are not on social media.”
I hear these statements over and over, and do my best not to blurt out, like a 4th grader, “you have to WORK if you want social media to work!” Which would be much nicer than “Maybe they’re just not that into you.”
The fact is, like anything, if you want it to bring you business, you will have to do some work. I have had an oven for over 50 years and it has never made a meal for me, unless I first did the work.
Let’s take a look at some areas you can put in some effort to reap bigger results.
Improve Your bios and profiles
Using a professional headshot that is closely cropped is going to reap greater results than a photo of your truck or dog. Even a picture of you that is taken at your cousin's wedding and is hard to make out your face, is not going to cut it. On social channels, we are having conversations. We want to see the face of the person we are speaking to. If you are across the street I will be less likely to strike up a conversation with you than if you are sitting right across from me. Use a nice photo of you smiling…not in a creepy kind of way, but in a warm and approachable way. Natural. (Unless of course, you naturally look creepy, then perhaps force a non-creepy smile.)
Your profile should entice. It should provide a hint to what you do or what you are an expert at, so people can get a feeling for what type of content you are going to share. It should also have a bit of intrigue. Giving us just a peek into something about you that is personal so we can find that common ground to connect on. If you love mountain biking or cooking, we can start with small talk around those and build on the rest. To see some of my favorite bios, check out the Twitter list I have under GREAT BIOS.
Most people believe that they can create a social media profile and BAM! People are going to start following them. Unless your name is Justin Bieber or Beyoncé, that just ain’t happening! To gain followers, you have to start being social. Comment on other people’s posts. Like or follow their pages and profiles. Leave comments on blog posts that you enjoy. Yes, this takes time. It is the WORK part that will allow social media to work for you. So many people (and big brands) wait for followers to find and follow them. If you want followers, go out and find them. Look for people who are following accounts that attract the same audience you want to. Connect with them. Like or share some of their content. You know…court them. Get them to notice you. Then the conversations will begin and before you know it, you’ll be SOCIALIZING!
Don’t Alienate Your Audience
I’m writing this post during one of the most insane political times in our history. With so many people sharing mean and nasty political rants on their social media profiles, they are showing the world their true colors. And, while the elections will soon be over, their ugly reputation will not soon be forgotten. There are people who rant about sports in a very unsportsmanlike way and people who are just more extreme with their communication style and seem to alienate others with very long-winded rants about things that are not on brand or helping to share your expertise.
While this may be their intent, it doesn’t make for great social relationship building. Examine your posts. How often do you go off-brand? Can people tell what it is that you do or what your area of expertise is? Commenting or engaging in personal or social banter is great, but if that is all you do, then people will not know where your expertise lies.
Share interesting and original thoughts on your industry or topic
On the opposite hand from my point above, do take a stand on your topics. Show passion for what you do. If you share content that is so bland that people can find it anywhere, why would they follow you. I see accounts that post so many quotes from other people, that I wonder why I don’t just follow those other quotable people.
Too many people go Gung-Ho, posting several times a day for a week or two, then they fall off the social planet. If I go to someone’s LinkedIn profile, their Facebook page or Twitter account, I look for activity. I just was looking for a boutique I visited a couple years ago and found their Facebook Page (not their website) when I did a Google search. I went to the page and the last post was over a year ago. I left a message but it’s been weeks, and no reply.
Sure, social media platforms are a crowded and sometimes loud space. Being absent doesn’t make you more findable or memorable. You have to be active and participate with others to build relationships and business.
Stop Saying Your Audience Isn’t On Social
I will agree, that not every one of your potential customers is active on social media, but saying your customers are not on social is like saying your customers don’t use electricity either. 44% of all registered Twitter accounts never send out a tweet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t read tweets from others. Many people admit they have a Facebook account only to keep up with their children or other family members, and then of course, they browse other content that comes across their newsfeed.
Many people (mostly men…I said it…go ahead and write me nasty letters) are LURKERS (those who peer over the shoulder of their spouse to read what is going on)! They are TWATCHERS (one who watches and never tweets)! They are consumers of content that is shared without ever contributing, commenting or sharing that content with others. There are support groups for you if you fall into this category, but if you are the one posting and sharing content, just know that your content is read by a much larger audience than you may think. I often find a great post and copy the URL and share it with someone via email or text message because I know they don’t regularly check social media. That content was still found on social and may be reaching your ideal audience in a more indirect way. So keep contributing. Keep sharing. Keeping being social. When people are looking for an expert and they Google your topic or service, you never know if a post on Twitter or LinkedIn could very well be the number one search result.
To ensure social media “works for you,” unfortunately, requires work. It requires time. It requires you be there to be social and share valuable information. So instead of saying “Social media doesn’t work,” perhaps you should start saying, “Social media doesn’t work the way I am currently using it.”
Gina Schreck is the president at SocialKNX, a digital marketing, and social media management company. She has been social online for over 10 years and has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years. Follow her on any social media channel or just Google her to find a location near you!