There was an old Jewish Rabbi who walked along the same road every day from the temple to his home, but one day being deep in thought about the events of the day, he missed a usual turn and found himself at a city gate he was unfamiliar with. A guard yelled down from the gate, “Who are you and what are you doing here?” Startled by this voice, the Rabbi looked up and asked, “Who are YOU?” The guard explained that he was a guard for the King and then demanded an answer once again to his questions, “WHO ARE YOU and WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”
The City Wall
Instead of giving an answer, the Rabbi asked “How much do you get paid each day to stand and ask those questions to those who pass by?” The guard was bothered by the Rabbi’s odd questions but he told him his wages. The Rabbi then told the guard, “I will double your wages if you will come and stand outside my house and ask me those two questions each day when I step outside.
WHO ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU HERE?
Whether you are an educator, a corporate speaker or trainer, or perhaps you own a business and are trying to reach and engage your customers with your messages, you should ask yourself these two important questions each day to keep you focused on your mission. Remember WHO YOU ARE—be authentic with people and share your personality and be sure they know what it is you do or how you can help them. Know clearly WHY YOU ARE HERE—Keep your activities and content centered on the answer to this question. If you are using social media to connect with a group or tribe of people in your industry- be sure you are “connecting” regularly. You are not here to “collect” people you are here to “connect” WITH people.
And if you would like some assistance, I would be happy to ask you those two questions each day …for double my daily wages!
You see so many people promoting programs that will help you “Gain 78,000 new Twitter followers this week” but what they don’t tell you is that 77,500 of those followers will be porn sites and spam companies. Is that what you want flowing into your Twitter stream? I guess as with most everything else in our lives, we are always looking for that magic pill that will transform our social media landscape into the land of milk and honey the day we create our accounts, and when it seems like “work” we get frustrated and abandon the flock.
In my book Gettin’ Geeky with Twitter, I do share lots of directories, and sites where you can find large numbers of like-minded people to connect with. The challenge for most people is you have to be very specific with your keywords to make it useful, and many people haven’t taken the time to identify the keywords for their business to connect strategically with other people. There are programs you can pay $20- $75 for to double your followers each day, but the real question is, “WHY?” Why are you on Twitter? What information are you providing to those who are following your updates, that will encourage them to listen to what you have to say, or are you just another bloke in their follower numbers that they ignore?
If you want to build a solid Twitter following, and you are not on Twitter to just have a million followers, then here are 10 tips to build connections authentically (that usually means more work):
1. Find and follow smart people in your industry. Using Twitter’s basic search (found on your Twitter homepage)
2. Engage in conversation with those smart people. Don’t just read the information sent your way, but reply to a comment now and again. You can only send a private or direct message (DM) to someone who is already following you, but you can always reply to a post they made. This goes directly to them but also is seen by everyone else who is following your updates.
3. Retweet great content that you find from the people you choose to connect with. This passes along great content to those who have chosen to follow your updates and by retweeting, you are complimenting the originator of the content putting you on their radar.
4. Personally respond to people who choose to follow you. Yes this is time consuming, but when you are starting out, you want to take the time to see who they are and send a note thanking them for connecting. I truly hate the autoresponder systems that send out a sales pitch welcoming me and asking me to buy something from them the moment I connect. People know when it is a personal note- use their name, make a comment about their background or content to let them know you are a real person interested in real conversations. I have gotten a bit lazy on doing this with every follower (well I just don’t have enough time anymore to do this-but I do occasionally send out a few messages welcoming folks. I do still check out each person that follows me (now using TweetDeck’s New Follower column) and will see if they are someone I want to follow back, leave alone, or sometimes even block. There are certain accounts I don’t even want my name showing up on their FOLLOWING list! Protect your brand.
5. Pay attention to the other people who are in conversations with those you are following. If you are following Bob and Kim is having an intelligent conversation with him, check out Kim’s profile and follow her.
6. Find Twitter-chat events that you re interested in, jump in on the conversation and follow like-minded people. These are virtual events that are typically scheduled during a set time period (example: Thursday evenings 7:30 pm-9:00pm CT is a lively Twitter chat with educators and corporate learning professionals and each tweet is tagged with #Lrnchat), but even outside of the event time, people will continue tagging tweets related to that group’s discussion to be seen by those involved. You do not need to be invited or belong to an association to jump in on the conversation. The reason you place the # mark before the keyword or letter group is to make it clickable. Click on a few of these tags and it will take you to a search page listing tweets and peeps using that tag. A great source of finding good people to connect with. (see last post LIST OF TWITTER-CHAT EVENTS)
7. Watch who folks recommend on Fridays. You will notice lots of recommendations going out tagged with #FF or #FollowFriday. This is a nice practice to allow others to see who you really want to promote. You can also click on the tag (#FF or #FollowFriday) and see who folks recommend. My rule of thumb is, if someone I respect recommends others, they are probably good folks to follow. Not too hard.
8. Create a list on Twitter or a column using TweetDeck (or other third party tool), add folks to a list and then each day make a point to pay closer attention to a specific list. For example, perhaps Monday is my “Virtual World friends list” and Tuesdays are for my “Tech-educators” list. This way you don’t let too much time go by without touching base with folks. Again this may get a bit unrealistic after you are following several thousand, but a good practice to start and aim for.
9. Let people know you are on Twitter. Add your Twitter-handle (@GinaSchreck) to the bottom of your email signature line, put a FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER box (or widget) on your blog or website and add it to your business cards. Sometimes we forget about the obvious.
10. Provide GREAT content. The best way to grow your followers and then keep them engaged after, is to provide great content. My rule of thumb on any social media site is BE HELPFUL, BE INTERESTING or BE QUIET!
I am always asked for a list of places or events to get involved with like-minded people on Twitter. A live meet up coordinated through Twitter is called a “Tweet Up,” but a virtual meeting of people on Twitter is called a Twitter-Chat. I keep a running list as I come across tags, but there are new groups starting up every day and some events are one time only conference tags, but still worth checking out if the conversation seems interesting. If you want to know more about each group, simply type the tag into Google and you will find information on each group. If you know of any other great Twitter chats, be sure to leave them in the comment section here~
Walking downtown Boulder, Colorado last week, I encountered many people panhandling, or asking for money. Some had signs telling people passing by about their situation, and some just sat with a cup. But when I passed by the water fountain, I was entranced! A man was busy creating art out of pieces of flowers and plants he had picked and sticking them to the water fountain. He had a Cheez-It’s box for people to leave him a token of what they thought this entertainment was worth. Well, this was worth money! He was entertaining and industrious.
I get requests from people all the time asking if I can help them spread the word for an upcoming event, tweet about a blog they just posted or plug a product that they have developed or represent. I love spreading the word on a great conference or an event that has big learning opportunities and if I love a product, book, blog or geeky gadget, you can be sure I will be tweeting, chatting and spreading the word, especially if I think it will be helpful or interesting to the folks I’m connected with. I also love helping out people I have built relationships with on social media, people who have helped me or provided great value in the content they share. Of course I want to spread that kind of love around. But when you ask for a handout the moment we connect, you might be met with a little less enthusiasm. In any relationship, it’s give and take…the first part of that is GIVE. Don’t ask for favors on an empty bank account.
I got a message through Twitter the other day that read “Just mentioned you in my blog. Can you RT?” and then it had the link to the blog post. This came from a woman who had attended a conference that I spoke at the day before. I was flattered and clicked on the link ready to have my ego stroked as I was sure that I was about to read something like “Gina Schreck was fabulous. You should follow her on Twitter @GinaSchreck and become a fan of her LIVE Facebook shows or better yet you all should hire her to speak at your next conference or manage your social media presence or just send her money…she’s that good!”
Okay, so perhaps my thoughts were a bit grandiose and slightly delusional, but they soon turned to disappointment when I read, “Heard a great social media speaker today who said to….” WHAT? She never mentioned my name, pointed people to my Twitter page or even put a link to my website! And she wanted ME to retweet HER? I was more than bent out of shape. As a matter of fact, I started writing this post right after but had to wait a week and edit all the anger out…it was 6 pages before! But seriously, I realized that she probably just didn’t know how to cross-pollinate with links or really get people to “help a sister out!”
When you are talking about someone on Twitter, be sure to check and see if they have an account so you can use their Twitter-handle (ie- @GinaSchreck will link directly to my Twitter page, but “Gina Schreck” will not), and if you are wanting to share something that was tweeted by someone, be sure to use the retweet feature, which is basically forwarding the tweet and keeping the person’s twitter-handle attached in the front just preceded by RT (ie- RT @GinaSchreck blah blah blah) to again give credit where credit is due.
If you are writing about someone on Facebook or on your blog, link to that person’s site for that extra boost. This is not just a good ego-stroke for that person, it is a Google boost for your post. First, that person is more likely to send some traffic your way if you have done the same for them (hint hint) and second, you are sending and receiving links from other sites and that helps your ranking with Goggle and other search engines.
So if you see me on the corner holding out a cup, begging, it will not be for a dime, but just for a retweet or mention in that next blog post!
And if you are new to social media and want to learn more etiquette and business-building tips, join our DIY.social Facebook group or our DIY.social coaching program. We will gladly show you the way!
I will admit that hearing the words FAN PAGE made me cringe at first. I mean who do we think we are creating our own fan pages and fan clubs… David Cassidy or Farrah Fawcett? Ok, perhaps I should get with the times…Taylor Swift or the Jonas Brothers? I really wish Facebook would have called them BUSINESS PAGES or COMMUNITY PAGES, but they didn’t and it really doesn’t matter, since most people refer to them as just PAGES (as opposed to your regular Facebook account which is called your PROFILE) I’m going to give you 5 reasons you NEED to get on the band wagon and create your FAN PAGE NOW!
1. Fan pages are PUBLIC. Now some will say that every post on your regular Facebook profile is also public, but that is not true. Because most of Facebook is behind a login and depending upon your privacy settings, some information that is posted goes only to your contacts. The posts from your PAGES are, like Twitter updates, public, indexed by search engines and FINDABLE! I am going to assume that you are in business to be FOUND!
2. You get good FACE TIME with clients and prospective clients. If you have been in business a while you remember the days of using a “tickler system” to follow up with clients. (This was just a weird name for index cards filed in an old recipe box with your client’s information HAND-WRITTEN on them) Your goal back then was to stay in front of your customer at least once a month or once a quarter, depending on how HOT the prospect was. Today we are able to be in front of our customers EVERY DAY using social media tools like Facebook PAGES. Don’t abuse that power-make sure you are putting out great content without yelling BUY BUY BUY!
3. It’s VIRAL marketing. If you are posting great content, it is going out to the NEWS FEED of your customers, prospects and FANS and can be seen by their circle of friends and clients. By putting out helpful and interesting content, you are recruiting a sales force that will spread your message far and wide…for FREE! We try and add lots of videos from the Gettin’ Geeky show that people pass around. Like a sneeze on a windy day… a fan page can add POWER to your message.
4. You can put LINKS back to your website or blog. Facebook is a very reliable source, according to Google (and a few million others). Be sure to utilize that power and have links going to different pages within your site both on your PAGE and in your updates.
5. It is EASY…well…kind of. It is so much easier to post regular content and add videos, photos of events, articles etc than updating an old-fashioned website. A fan PAGE is like a blog site in that you can easily add content yourself without having to have any knowledge of coding. To get started is the greatest challenge. From your regular Facebook profile page (which you do not need to have a personal page, but I suggest people set it up and build your PAGE off of that since they are kept very separate and people who are fans don’t even have to know the two are affiliated) scroll to the very bottom and find the word ADVERTISING. I’m assuming Facebook will soon be making this easier to find, but for now, click on the word ADVERTISING or if you have already created a page in the past, you will see the link for ADS/PAGES. This will get you started.
I would love to hear your success stories (or challenges) regarding your Facebook PAGE. I can also answer questions regarding how to set one up and get it marketed. If this is all too overwhelming for you, the team at Synapse 3Di can help you get launched and even spend time with you one-on-one learning how to post great content, analyze your progress and spread the word to the world so your FAN PAGE will continue to grow and thrive! And if you are looking for a TECHNOLOGY SPEAKER for your next conference or event… send me a TWEET or email Gina (at) socialknx.com