A lot of people ask me why I’m so successful with connecting with my tribe via social media. It’s a great question, because it lets us explore how useful social media can be – and how to utilize it without broadcasting endless pitches to people, but actually engage them and provide true value.
Here are my seven secrets that transcend all social media platforms and allow you to apply them in ways that grow your business, no matter what field you are in:
1) Be Findable
You have to take your business where the people are and be in the relevant conversations. And in today’s world, the relevant conversations are taking place on social media.
The particular platforms will be different for different businesses. Someone in the corporate arena needs to be on LinkedIn while a band would still be a better candidate for a page on MySpace. The criterion for deciding which social media platforms you need to be on is simple: where are your customers and prospects hanging out today?
Once you know what those platforms are, make sure you have a presence on them and are contributing to the community there. Be certain that when prospects are looking for your area of expertise, you can be found.
2) Have an Attitude, Yo
If you’re a business that sells accounting programs for accountants, you probably have a certain vibe on your website and other marketing materials. If you sell exotic automobiles or couture fashion, your vibe would be quite different. Whatever that vibe is, it should bleed through to all your social media accounts.
This attitude should show up in all your graphics, such as the header and pictures on your Facebook Fan Page, your avatar pic and wrap on your Twitter page, and even the style of your headshot on your LinkedIn profile.
I can’t count how many times someone has messaged me or shared one of my posts, and when I click through to their page to see if I should be following back, I find… nothing. No picture, no bio, not even the city they live in. If you’re in the witness protection program, you probably shouldn’t be on social media in the first place. But if you are hoping to use social media to build your brand, expand your reach, or actually make money, give us something to go on.
You can start with a pic! If we go to your Twitter page and there’s only a colored egg where your face should be, it’s like a billboard that says, “Hi, I’m Amish, and I’m checking to see if this computer fad is gonna last.” Even 97-year-old mammies are emailing pix of their great-grandkids. If you don’t know how to upload a photo, ask someone.
Make it a real photo of you, not your dog or cat or llama. And please, post a current one. (Don’t be one of those people who sends a pic and shows up 15 years later!) We want to know who we’re conversing with. Likewise with caricatures or icons. Use them only if they really are an essential part of your branding.
And by the way, for many of you reading this, your avatar should be your logo. But don’t just do it mindlessly. Think about who is actually doing the feed and whether a personal photo would be better instead. You can place the logo somewhere else on the page.
The vibe should carry through in the copy as well. Lang Lang’s Twitter bio might include the music conservatories he studied at and the orchestras he has performed with. Mick Jagger’s, not so much.
Most important, the feel and vibe of your brand should come through strongest in the actual feeds you post. Your feed should be congruent with who you are. If you follow Joel Osteen, you expect inspirational tweets; if you’re reading Bill Simmons, you expect occasional doses of snark. Make sure your social media posts are in line with the messaging (and feel) you send through all of your other channels.
3) Engage, Don’t Broadcast
There is a reason it is called social media not broadcast media. So stop broadcasting at people and start talking with them. Nobody wants to follow a feed for any business that is nothing but pitches. But if you make your feed valuable and relevant, people don’t mind you making an occasional offer for your products or services. Even so, it’s always better to present these in the context of the problems they solve for your followers, not the features of what you’re selling.
The greatest benefit social media offers is the relationships it allows you to develop with your tribe. Offering real value through your posts is one sure-fire way to make that come about.