For now, I refuse to get mired any deeper in this thing called ‘social media’.
Like most people I have talked too, I had a heck of a time trying to figure out how to use social media. I am still not where I want to be, but I certainly feel more comfortable. One of the things that has helped in overcoming my fear of building an online presence was to understand how each outlet is beneficial to helping me build an online community.
Your goal online is to build a community. That’s why it’s supposed to be “social” media…so you can actually interact with others. The goal is not to sell your product, but sell yourself, and then the product will follow. Have something to give and be interactive and the result is you will not only increase sales, but – more importantly – you will make new friends and develop a community.
Sounds nice, but how does it work? It’s not a perfect analogy, but I think of it this way:
1) Your website/blog is your home!
My ultimate goal is to get people to my website (which for me is my blog). It should be where people find out all the information about you they can and find out how to purchase your product. I like to think of my website as mission control, the home base where I ultimately want members of my community to end up and enjoy returning too. Any other social media resource is utilized to find a community that wants to gather at my website/blog – my house.
2) Twitter is a quick text or broadcast to those in your community to convey information. There is not much interaction. It is more formal in nature.
I look at Twitter as a news crawler at the bottom of the TV or a quick informative text. You don’t use it to push your product as much as you use it to share information. There isn’t as much conversation in this format, just quick sharing of information.
Whatever industry you are in (i.e. publishing, marketing, education, etc.) it gives you a quick outlet to share your thoughts and share the thoughts of others. It gives people online an idea of what your community is about and peaks their interest. If people agree with you or find value in what you share, they will follow and ultimately end up on your website/blog.
Items to share through Twitter: forwarding appropriate articles; links to industry related news stories; info about upcoming events or activities; sharing the name of Twitter accounts that you find informative
3) Facebook is an actual phone or face-to-face conversation with a group of people in your community. There is back and forth. It is less formal than Twitter.
A community should have a familiar, welcoming, less-formal feel to it. A social gathering. That’s what Facebook does, allows you to interact and converse with your community things about you. Not just business related things, or news regarding your product, but you in general. Your everyday life, your likes and dislikes, travels, etc. Your community on Facebook are interested in learning more about you and you should be interested in learning more about them.
Items to share through Facebook: short questions to get dialogue going, whether about your product/industry or every day life; pictures from industry events or every day activities; uplifting, inspiring quotes or pictures; updates on where you are on your projects
The above analogies have helped me wade through the social media waters. It might not work for everyone, but hopefully it will give you a foundation of understanding to start from. Just remember that in social media less is more and have something to give, don’t just try to take.
You will find your community, just don’t give up!
PS – if you haven’t read it yet, the best book out today (IMO) on improving your presence online and building a community is Platform by Michael Hyatt. Get it…today! It’s his personal story of success online, but also serves as a one-stop-shop for all your social media question and concerns.