Being Authentic Always Wins in Social Media
Most of us know what it’s like to sit down to Twitter or Facebook or Google+, and try to collect our thoughts ready to post a message.
We want to connect. We want to add value, contribute meaning, and be part of an Important Conversation.
And, since some of our goals on social media include business networking and marketing, we definitely want to generate some sort of interest in who we are and what we do.
So, we publish our post out on Facebook or Linked-in…
We’re not always sure what is going to happen next. Maybe it turns out to be the most brilliant status update of our life and we get like 200 likes and 22 shares – leaving us floating up on cloud nine!
Or maybe we really spill our guts and write the most personal heartfelt post of our life – the one we feel really describes what we’re all about and what we have to offer the world – and nobody seems to notice.
Ugh! What does this mean? Does it mean that your personal thoughts and values are not important, not desirable, and not share-worthy?
Maybe… but most likely not. Many of these social media sites have a formula (Facebook calls theirs Edge Rank) that decides how many people actually see each of your posts, and it is possible that was the only thing that went wrong with this particular post.
So the key to being seen more often is to post more frequently. But also, work on building relationships so that more people are following you more often, because they want to hear what you have to say.
Here are some tips to help you be more Authentic in Social Media:
Show some personality – People interact better with a real person who can engage them, make them laugh, but still maintain a level of professionalism that is appropriate to their business. Posting things that you find interesting, funny or amusing, and making comments that you think people will enjoy is important. Showing your audience the fun side of you is a great way to be authentic, while at the same time building confidence and trust.
Show off some expertise – This is a great opportunity to indulge your potential clients’ interests by showing off your expertise about your product or service and the industry as a whole. Social media is about knowledge sharing and by doing just that you will help build trust in your company while showing others the value in your business. You will also be creating brand awareness.
Get to know your followers – Building relationships is why many people turn to social media in the first place. Starting conversations with your audience, asking questions about what they like or don’t like – all of these are great ways to personalize the interactions that you have with your followers and to help build relationships.
Give, Give, Give… and Take – It’s important to not just fire messages out there, but to manage a fine balance of give and take. You can do so by continually searching for conversations about your company (or your niche) and commenting on what they have to say. Always respond as quickly as possible to questions or comments that are directed at you and your business. Be sure to search out loyal customers online and thank them for their patronage. And you can also reward your followers by offering discounts, or first access to a new product or service to those who follow your social media accounts.
Once you start, don’t stop – Getting on social media is like a marriage, and you need to think about whether this is something you want to get into a relationship with long term. Customers can lose trust in your business if, down the road, if you get busy and just stop making updates , so make sure you are ready to commit.
Building relationships online is really no different than building them offline. It takes time. But the key is to be authentic. Let your real self shine through so that the people you’re connecting with start connecting with you.
With Social Media, it is important to give and give and give… and then maybe get something in return. You can write a blog post trying to be helpful. You can share something on Google+ trying to be helpful.
But your desire to be helpful, and your act of helping, has to be enough – Enough reason to share that something in the first place, enough reward on its own.
You can’t hinge your success based on whether or not someone responds and says, “My God! That was helpful. Thank you.” Know that what you’re offering is valuable without needing that external validation. Over time, your audience will grow because you cared enough to give first.
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By Lynn Huber
p.s. Social Media creates a Learn/Learn situation. I learn about you and you learn about me. And we learn from each other!
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