Social media reminds me of the dating process. I want to be wooed by a company before receiving the direct message or wall post pushing a product or service. I want a first date before they try to round second base. I want flowers and chocolates and all the fun repartee that accompanies a new relationship. What I don’t want is to be sold by a canned response to my Follow on Twitter or my LIKE on Facebook. While there are a lot of tasks we can automate within social media, we can’t eliminate the one thing that creates those prospective ‘dates’ in the first place. The conversation.
Everyone is searching for the right level of engagement. How often should I post, how frequently do I tweet or when should I thank someone for their re-tweet or like? While those are important factors in creating conversation, the crucial aspect you must focus on is your actual level of interaction.
It’s called social networking for a reason. It was designed to expand our sphere and benefit both our personal and professional lives through relationship building. So why then are business professionals skipping through the preliminary dating stages and going straight for the ring?
Why You Need to Get Social
Believe it or not, answering questions and providing valuable information prior to asking for business goes a long way towards creating goodwill. Goodwill translates into prospective clients, which in turn become closings and then residual referrals. By giving freely of your time and knowledge, this chain of events will happen almost magically.
But it won’t happen if you don’t get involved. In order to make social networking a true benefit to your bottom line you have to join the conversation. If all we are is a series of automated posts, tweets and blogs, then the “social” aspect of our social networking becomes stale, lifeless and just plain boring.
Use Automation Wisely
Automation is great for ending time wasting tasks and can free you up so that you can have an authentic conversation with prospective clients. Investing your time into having meaningful discussions, answering questions and providing feedback will establish you as an expert, bring traffic to your blog, and allow you to connect with your target market.
The bottom line is this: The best person to relay your message to your fans and readers is you. The myth of the four hour work week is exactly that – a myth in my opinion. The idea that you can outsource and delegate every part of your life is preposterous in a ‘social’ society. You might save some time, but you sure won’t save your reputation.
The price we pay for not engaging with our audience is the ultimate price. We lose the respect and trust with the very people we were looking to connect with in the first place.
Remember: Social Marketing is not about play time on Facebook. It’s about getting social. Make the commitment today to engage with your audience, fans, readers and fellow bloggers. Then turn that conversation into a money making venture.