The other day, someone asked me why I posted something on my social profile—that had nothing to do with my business. I was a little shocked that they asked, because social media isn’t just about selling your services, its about building relationships—and I thought everyone knew that. The funny thing is that post was my highest engagement post of the week—a little humor goes a long way I told them.
What I generally tell my clients when it comes to captivating your target audience on social channels — think of it like riding a subway to work everyday. You probably sit by the same people most of the time, and you probably start to engage with them, and build a relationship of some sort.
So lets think about how that relationship happens.
First , the only thing you really know that you have in common with them, is that you all ride the subway from point A to point B at the same time everyday. The conversations start out casual. At first it is probably nothing more than a good morning or nod hello. Someone may spill their Starbucks, and you help them clean it up. You may discuss the weather, the commute, late or delayed trains, and gather some information about them-either based on their comments or inferred from their reponses.
As you begin to get on that subway everyday—you may expand your conversation to what you did that weekend, a bad day at work, what each of you do for a living , families, sports, news, or share a laugh or too. (hopefully politics does not enter the conversation) At this point, lets just say that you find out someone might be an ideal prospect for you. You might start by sharing information about your company, or your latest product/service. And, then drift off into a conversation about last nights game. What I hope you don’t do is drone on endlessly about your product the whole ride.
The next week , you might share a great article you found about industry information, and another week you might even share a case study. And, I hope that you still ask him about his kids soccer game, talk to the others about the commute, and complain together about the late train.
Even when you find out that he is not ready to “buy” at this time — you don’t you stop talking to him, do you? Do you keep bombarding him with information? (I hope not, or he would probably change seats or trains). Do you still share industry news (yes) or if a new product release (yes) or something great happens with your company? (yes). One day, he may either be ready to hear your full sales pitch, he may go to another company who needs your services or may refer you to someone who might be interested.
The same is true of social media. You don’t know everything about the people following your social channel, you don’t know where in the sales cycle they are, you don’t know if they have the connections or might be a good referral source. What you do know is building relationships with them is is valuable. They have connected with your channel for a reason. And, like the commuters on the subway, its about sharing information and building a relationship. So, as you plan your social content strategy, keep in mind the golden rule of social media– it’s a relationship tool with real people. Think about where you are on the subway ride, with each and everyone of your connections. It will make for better engagement, and better social success.