Let’s talk about why your business is on social media. Brands often think they are online, particularly on social media, to sell something. Their content is geared toward making a sale and, quite frankly, ignores the needs of their prospective customers.
Social media is a great place to promote your business. But, if you’re spending most of your time online promoting yourself, you are definitely missing the biggest opportunities social media has to offer.
But that’s not going to be you...
Shift your mindset to think of social media as a tool to offer value to your target audience rather than sell, convince, or get them to do something (this is what your website is for!).
A brand that is always using social media to sell and promote is called an “interrupter”. Much like when you’re watching your favorite TV show and have to stop several times to watch ads, your social posts about what you’re selling are an (unwelcome) interruption. People came to the platform to catch up with friends, play games, or partake in a wide variety of other activities that do not include being advertised to.
Rather than being an interrupter, start using social media to offer value. You can do this in many ways:
Even if it isn’t directly related to your products and services, you can share information that compliments your brand. This shows people you’re an expert in your industry and that you care about them outside of your business relationship.
Offering value will result in likes and follows. And your new followers will presumably be far more dedicated and engaged than any likes you could have paid for. When you offer value consistently, you nurture your followers through the customer journey, resulting in a sale when they are ready to buy.
The Main Objectives of Social Media
The main objectives most businesses have when communicating on social media are getting people to like them, get to know them, and to trust them.
To the first point, not everyone will like you. If someone sees your social channels and decides they don’t like your style, content, or what you have to share, they likely won’t like your product or service either. This is fine!
We’re not using social media to try to convince people to like us. We’re just giving them an opportunity to decide whether or not they like us.
Be authentic and transparent, focusing on people in your content. Let your followers go behind the scenes by showcasing employees and your processes.
Similar to your favorite restaurant, coffee shop, or bar, you’d probably say you like it because of the people. Of course, the food might be great, the coffee out of this world, or the drink specials easy on the wallet, but at the end of the day, we want to go places where we know people. It provides comfort and makes our experience that much better.
That’s why you should get to know your customer too… ask questions, read and respond to comments, and engage in conversations. Social media is a two-way street!
Of course, any conversation about content should come with a reminder that boundaries are important. Decide what topics you absolutely won’t discuss online (religion and politics should come to mind for pretty much every business) and steer clear of them.
Finally, we use social media to build trust. This is important because, at the end of the day, we are building these relationships to hopefully result in a sale.
Picture the car buying process… we often approach it with a little (*cough* a LOT *cough*) of anxiety because we expect to get jerked around and dragged through the mud. But, what if you knew the salesperson before you got to the store? Perhaps you’ve purchased from them before, know them personally, or maybe even learned about them through tip videos on the company’s social media page.
You’d probably feel much more at ease walking into the store, not to mention more comfortable discussing your needs and fears. That is the powerful role social media can have in building trust with your target audience!
Listen to this week’s podcast for a deeper dive into how your businesses can foster relationships using social media.
Today, we are actually going to talk about why we are on social media. I think that this is an important topic, because I think still, so many times, folks get it wrong. They think that they are online, especially social media, to sell something. Now, obviously, we're in business, we're trying to convince people to do things, right? We're trying to sell something, whether it's your products or your services, or even trying to get someone to come to your event, even if it's free... that is still trying to get someone to do something, right? Well, we cannot just focus on the transaction. Social media, obviously, is a great place to do this activity -- to promote your business. However, if you are spending most of your time promoting, then you are missing the boat.
I really want you to shift your mindset so that you're not thinking of social media as a tool to sell or to convince or to, again, get someone to do something for you. That, my friends, is where your website comes in. Your website is the hub of transaction. This is where people can come and find you, learn where you're located, learn what your phone number is, figure out if they want to buy your products or your services. And that is where that activity needs to happen. Because at that point, they are in control. But if you are always using social media content to sell and promote, then you are what's called an “interrupter”. So if you think about when you're watching a show, right, your favorite show on TV, and it gets to a really, really good part, and then all of a sudden they go to commercial… it's an interruption! It's interrupting what you're going through, right? You didn't choose that interruption, you’d rather not see those commercials and you just want to get back to the show. It's essentially the same thing… When someone is in their newsfeed, and if you're always interrupting them to sell them something, then you are an interrupter. And so many businesses use social media, and they just they look at it as another tool to sell. But imagine if someone's in their newsfeed, and all of a sudden your post shows up. But instead of it being something like an online commercial, essentially, you are offering value, you are sharing a tip, you're sharing some inspiration, you're sharing something fun, something entertaining, something that brings joy to them or sparks a positive emotion. That is how you gain followers -- dedicated followers. You're offering value. And, if you do this consistently and continually when they are ready to buy, they will buy. Okay? If they're a good fit for you. But if you're just always using your content to sell and promote, they're going to unfollow you and you're going to get a bad reputation -- you're going to be viewed as an interruption.
So the reason I share all this with you is because I want you to really ensure that you are using social media as a way to communicate to build relationships. The main objective for social media is we want people to like you, get to know you, and trust you. Now, not everybody is going to like you, okay, and I want you to get used to this -- not everyone's going to like you. And that's okay. You need to let go of trying to make everyone like you. It's all right if somebody sees your valuable content and decides that this content is just not for me. Then they're not the good follower for you. They're not the ideal customer. So when you're putting content out there, and you're offering value, and it's related to your business, your industry, your own personal skills, and they appreciate what you're sharing, then they are a good fit for you. If they don't like the stuff, if they don't like your style, if they don't like the content or they don't care, well, then they probably aren't going to care that much about your products and your services either. So we're not using social media to try to convince people to like us. We're just giving them an opportunity to decide whether or not they like us.
So how do we do that? How do we make sure that our content is aligned in a way where we can make sure that the right fits do like us and the wrong fits are able to make the decision that they don't like us? Well, it's very simple… you need to be authentic. You need to be transparent. Let them in, let them in behind the scenes. Share some stuff about your employees, about your customers, the people in your business. I am very much about showcasing your people in your content. People buy from people, so you need your people in your content. Now, if you're a one-person show, then you are your people, right, you need to be in your content. This will give people an opportunity to decide whether or not they like you. The relationship that they want to build with you online is not with your logo, it's with you, it's with the people. And the best way to help people decide whether or not they're going to like doing business with you, or shopping from you, or working with you is to put your people in your content. So by putting yourself out there, putting your people in your content, you are able to attract and repel people. So you're going to attract the people that genuinely like you and you're going to enjoy doing business with and you're going to repel the people that maybe don't like you. Now, it can kind of sting a little… That's okay, I get it. I understand. We're humans, we want to be liked. However, we need to go ahead and be okay with this. So when you're transparent, authentic, you're going to repel those people. And we just got to go ahead and divorce our emotions from that feeling. That feeling of I “Ugh, I really wanted them to like me. Ugh, I'm trying to get as many followers as I can. I want as many likes as I can. What does it mean about me? What is wrong with me?” Let go of those feelings. Move forward, move on. If you're being yourself, and you're being transparent and authentic, you have nothing to worry about.
Now, with that being said, you are going to have to decide on some boundaries. Are you going to talk about politics and religion? You know, in your content online… I am very passionate that I feel like pretty much no business really has any reason to be talking about politics or religion online unless they are in the industries of politics and religion. To be totally honest with you, if you can convince me that your opinions about religion and politics absolutely is going to contribute to you delighting and serving your customers and changing their lives and it has to do with your products and services, then that is fine. But I'm going to tell you that most people aren't going to be able to convince me of that. So let's just get that out of the way. There are certain topics that I think you should avoid… personal, you know, opinions about things that don't have anything to do with what your customers care about in relation to your business. So, you gotta decide what kind of content are you going to be willing to share? What stuff are you going to talk about? Now, obviously, we want to be offering value. So teach people stuff, share things with them, help them. Even if it has nothing to do with your specific products or services, share information that they care about that’s complementary to your products and services. When you do this, this is how you can show authority that you're in expertise, but also that you want to help people. So that's the kind of content that I want you to be focusing on. But use your people to share this content. This will give people the opportunity to make the decision of whether or not you're a good fit for them. And vice versa, it helps you understand that they're a good fit for you. Ok? Ok. So moving on to the next reason we're on social media -- we want people to get to know us. Now I covered a lot of that when I talked about helping people make the decision of whether or not they want to like you. But let's go ahead and assume that they were in the phase of people have decided that you may be a good fit for them. They do like you, right? Okay, so all of this matters about helping people decide whether or not they want to like you in general, which is kind of just like following you, right? But it also is a huge piece of how people can get to know you. As I said, it's all about them, liking you, getting to know you and trusting you, right? But when we are transparent, and we showcase our people and you put yourself in front of your business, you are letting people in. You are developing a relationship. You are being authentic and honest and transparent. And this is about your style. You’ve decided what your style is...what do you go for? What are your values? What do you care about? And when you do this, people learn about you -- they get to know you. So I want you to think about some of your favorite places that you like to dine out. Maybe your favorite coffee shop, maybe your favorite, you know, burger joint, or your favorite bar that you'd like to go to after work on Fridays, you know, one of those types of things.
Think about why you love to go to those places on a reoccurring basis. Yes, the food might be great, the coffee might be great, the environment might be great… all those things do matter. But I'm going to go ahead and say I bet a lot of it has to do with the people. Now, this is the people that work there, but also maybe the other people that go there as well. There's a sense of community in this place. So, you go to the restaurant and you have those servers that take care of you or the hostesses... you walk in, they kind of know you, you know them, you get to know them. And you just enjoy it, you're building a relationship. So when you're sitting with the family, and you're thinking about where you want to go out to eat, or you're obviously at work, and you're thinking about what am I going to do after work today? I had a crappy day… What are the emotions that you think about? You want to go places where you know people. It feels comfortable… you like these people, and you know them, they know you… it's just kind of a comforting kind of thing to do. Now, there are times of course, that we don't want to go places where everybody knows us or that we know people, we kind of just want some alone time or some peace and we don’t want to be interrupted when we go to dinner and we want don’t want to talk to anybody, we want to just spend time with our family, we want to focus, you know, and then there's of course, the times that you want a new experience… I'm not talking about those times. I'm talking about your favorite places that you like to go, the places you go on a reoccurring basis. A big part of the value you that you get when you go to these places is that you know people. And the other thing that happens here is that even when somebody makes a mistake, or there's an issue, you are a lot more forgiving because you know the people, right? You know them, they care about you, they've shown that they care about you, you've built a relationship… this creates forgiveness and grace. And all of us in business need forgiveness and grace. We make mistakes, we have issues, we run into those problems. So why am I sharing all this? Because you can use social media to help people get to know you better. Now, you may not have the kind of brick and mortar type of business where you're going to be out there building these relationships with people literally in person with your customers. Maybe you are maybe you aren't. But, you know, you can use social media to start to build these relationships. Whether you are in a brick and mortar type of business, or whether you're in an online business. So, what I mean by this is by sharing, you know, information online, getting a little bit, you know, personal again, being transparent, letting people know what you stand for -- your values, your style, being yourself -- this is a way for people to get to know you. But I also want you to get to know your customers too. So ask questions, pay attention to their answers. Use your content to share your thoughts and your opinions about, you know, the things in your industry, but also ask questions… what are their challenges? Get to know your customers as well. And you can do this by comments and responding to comments, direct messages, make sure you're always responding to those direct messages… build a relationship with your social media so that you can get to know your customers and they can get to know you. Now, not everybody that we're building these relationships with is a customer just yet, right? Sometimes we're in a business where it takes time for people to decide whether or not they want to get to know us, or whether or not they want to do business with us or buy from us or you know, invest in our consulting services or our help. This is important. So, if you're in that type of business, where the relationship, the trust, all that stuff needs to happen first, this is crucial that you are able to share more about yourself online. Because anymore, people are not going to come in and waste their time to get to know you, before they've decided whether or not you are a good fit for them in regards to business and making a transaction. They are going to want to look you up online, learn about you for a while and make their decision that way. So again, the first step is they decide, “Okay, I think I like these people”. And then the next step is letting them get to know you.
Now, let's go into the trust factor. We want them to trust us. Why do we want them to trust us? Because, eventually, you are going to want to get into a business relationship with them. Now, think about when you go and you buy a car. Okay? Oh my gosh, we walk in and we just already feel vulnerable, we already feel anxious, because we feel like you know what, they're just going to try to sell me something. And the price tag on the car is not what I'm going to buy it for, because it's always too high. And I can negotiate down. But that negotiation process is really uncomfortable for most of us. I mean, I don't know about you, but I absolutely hate it --I hate it! But what if you walked in and you already knew your salesperson... you actually had a relationship with them. Maybe you've bought cars from them in the past, or maybe you actually just know them, maybe you know them personally, or maybe you got to know them a little bit online because there's all these videos that they talk about and they're sharing tips about how to take care of your vehicle and how to be safe on the roads, yadda, yadda, yadda… you kind of already have this little bit of a relationship with them. What if you felt connected to them already? Would you feel a little bit more at ease when it comes to the process of going back and forth about buying a car? Would you be more willing to share your fears your needs? And would you be more willing to listen to what they have to say because you already have this relationship with them? Absolutely! I mean, especially if you literally, like, you consider this person someone you know (maybe it is someone you know)... that process of buying the car is going to be a lot smoother and a lot more comfortable for both of you. And this is what we want to get, and this is our objective online -- we want to get people to trust us. Because eventually you are going to try to get them to enroll in something, subscribe to your newsletter, or buy a product or service from you. And that process feels so much smoother for everyone if we have built this trust. Now, I'm going to share something with you... with my consulting and content business that I have, I have never once, like, cold called anyone. I've never knocked on a door. I've never, you know, reached out and said, “Hey, I'd love to help you, I'd love to talk with you”. I can honestly tell you that every single dollar I've made in that business has come from what I call inbound leads-- they came to me, I did not seek anyone out. Now, I may have met someone through another connection. But that connection sought me out and said, “Hey, I want you to meet this person, that could really use your help.” People basically came to me because they felt like they knew me, they either knew me through the community or through networking that I did, or on my social media! I get direct messages from people that say, “Hey, I've been following you. I really like your videos, we really found this helpful… we would love for you to come and teach a class,” or “Hey, what kind of services do you think you could help our small business?” or “Hey, can we set up a time, we'd love to talk to you, and kind of talk about how you might be able to help us”. Now, I didn't go into business assuming this was going to happen. In fact, it just kind of was like this, honestly, a bit of a surprise. But I've been in business for five years now. And I can tell you this has been the case for every dollar I have earned, except for the workshops that I've hosted and promoted. Now we're not talking about that we're talking about the relationship business that I have. And that's doing strategies and content for people. All of those customers made the decisions that they liked me, they learned a little bit about me, they got to know me. And then, they trusted me, which is why they ultimately decided to do business with me.
That is, like, the nutshell process of what we're all going for. And so the reason I'm sharing all of this with you is because what I want you to start to think about when you start to create your content, or you start to sit down, and you plan out the content that you want to put out there... I want you to think about this process. This is the journey that you need to be taking people on, and your content is one of the ways you can do that. Now, if you're in a brick and mortar business, this process needs to carry over to your brick and mortar business. Because someone may find you online, and then they may get to know you a little bit online. But it may require them to come in and talk to you a little bit further to decide whether or not they trust you. So all of this, this process if you will, needs to kind of carry over with you physically in person, but also with your social media content. But the reason I'm sharing this, like really the big reason, is because social media gives you a huge opportunity to reach more people and to get more people to like you, to get more people to get to know you, and to get more people to trust you. And that, my friends, is what can take your tiny budget and help you maximize it because, hey, we're in small business! We don't have a ton of money. We can put billboards up. We can't blast, you know, everything all over the place. We need to be scrappy, and social media
is a very cost-effective way to go through this process with people who are finding you online.