This article is not one of those “what you should be posting about on social media” bits. I am going to explain how I use social media as a business owner, a salesperson, and as a representative of my company to connect with people in a similar way to how I would be connecting with people at a trade show.Hosted By
Is anyone else out there missing the good old tradeshow days? I was rolling through photos looking for a good shot to use in an ad and I saw all these photos from a tradeshow a few years ago and felt this overwhelming feeling of loss. A loss I am continually trying to fill virtually in a number of ways…two of which I’ve talked about already in other episodes of the Connecting Outside the Show Series – using livestreams, or email and now I’m going to explain how to connect using social media.
Now, first, I need to offer the disclaimer that I do not consider myself a social media expert. I mean who is? Really? It changes so fast–if it’s not your full time job, it’s a devil to keep up with. It’s worse than trying to figure out who’s in the “in” crowd in my daughter’s 4th grade class. I’m not even sure I really like social media, but it’s a necessary evil to do business at this point.
And now that I just said that I realize it was probably not the best way to start this post. So…what I’m trying to explain is that what I’m talking today is not going to be one of those “what you should be posting about on social media” articles. And even if you’re not a social media expert you can do what I’m going to talk about today.
I am going to explain the way I use social media as a business owner, a salesperson, and as a representative of my company to connect with people the same way that I would be connecting with people at a trade show.
When you’re posting things on your page in social media you’re throwing stuff out there to everyone to see if it sticks in the hopes of starting a conversation. That’s like putting up a trade show booth.
Just putting up a booth doesn’t make relationships though. It’s the conversations you have at the booth or, more importantly for me, the conversations I have at the booth’s of others that build relationships and eventually close business.
Being successful at connecting via social media using the methods I’ll explain today is about paying attention and doing you activities with consistency. And you do that everyday. You listen to what others need and want and do what needs to be done so you can do this.
My goal is to get you to think about social media like a tradeshow so you can use it to make connections. Because that’s what we do when we’re at a show, right? I look around the room and think, “that company looks awesome, there’s a representative, I should go talk to them.”
When you network in person you have a conversation one on one. And that’s what we’re missing right now.
The networks I’d suggest using to connect the way I’m going to explain today are Facebook and LinkedIn. These tactics work best on those networks. Most of my language will be Facebook related, as I’m on Facebook the most so that’s what I default to. But I have many people tell me it works on LinkedIn too. Heck I had a person in a mastermind group tell me just that yesterday.
I’m not saying you can’t do it on other networks, I’m not suggesting other networks are bad. I’m just saying for this specific strategy I find Facebook and LinkedIn work best.
Good marketers and sales and development professionals are a student of their audience. And just you being here is an indicator of your awesomeness so you’re clearly good. So you probably already know that you are the student and your audience is the teacher. (I totally sound like a yogi right now, I know but bare with me…) Breathe in, exhale out and use the social posts on your page can give you a gauge of what your audience cares about.
My husband, Mike, always says how much he hates social media and I get it. He says people aren’t real and they’re always just griping or posting randomness. I tell him he’s just using social media the wrong way.
If you’re feeling like Mike (Do you remember that jingle? Dang I loved that thing. If you want to hear me sing it I actually perform it on the podcast…because I’m a complete and total lunatic.) but if you are indeed feeling like Mike then you too are likely not leveraging the right social media tools for business.
See, I hardly ever hangout in my own news feed filled with posts from ex-colleagues, high school friends and business acquaintances. That place holds no magic for me.
I use social media to observe my prospects from afar and I do that in groups. They are unguarded and I can see what makes them frustrated or excited. Most importantly I can see the challenges they face as a business and consider how I can position myself to help them solve those problems. You can do the same.
People in social media groups all have a collective interest, and often have a common problem they’re trying to solve. In a productive group people act closer to the way they’d behave in a mastermind group or a networking setting. Asking questions, looking for answers, talking back and forth. They’re not posting fake news or sharing cute photos of their toddlers…unless you’re in a group that does that…and I most certainly am not.
They could be groups that serve them personally or professionally. Consider the types of individuals you need to meet to help you meet the people you need to grow your organization. As you’re looking for groups to participate in, remember, just like in networking, not every connection is about a sale, many times it’s about meeting the right person to connect you with the next person you need to meet.
You need to contribute value to the group to get value from it. You’ll get farther by interacting with the content of others more often than posting things yourself.
You can also start your own group, that’s another way I connect with people one on one. When they join the group I ask them to explain their biggest marketing challenge. And then if I can help them overcome that challenge with a free resource, blog post or podcast I’ve made using a direct message to reach out to them personally and share the resource.
Sending a direct message can be very effective to meet people. Most of my clients have Facebook Messenger installed on their phone and notifications enabled. So if I can’t catch them quickly via email, I’ll follow up via Messenger which is basically the same thing as sending them a text.
Even though a direct message may feel anonymous it’s just like any other conversation. So treat it like one. BE NORMAL. Don’t just send everyone a bunch of crappy sales junk. They will block you. Instead, just like in a networking situation approach the message by listening first. What indicates to you this person may be someone you want to connect with? What problems can you solve for them? Do they even know they have that problem yet? Each person needs to benefit from the connection. Make their benefit clear and make it personal. In my opinion, it’s better to engage in a better quality and lower quantity of prospecting than just sending the same canned thing on repeat to everyone under the sun.
Now, I do have a few things that help me along in my journey toward making social connections. I have regular content that I create in podcasts and on my blog to share with people. I also have free online resources I’ve built over the years like white papers, case studies, how to guides and calculators that I can offer. These are nice because then I can turn a person from a social connection to an email connection and then I have a more direct path to contact them in the future about things they may be interested in. And I get many of my ideas for resources, blogs and podcasts by observing people on social media to understand what they need that I can offer to allow me the opportunity to connect.
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