Stop using social media to broadcast your own message; start creating connections
Social media is never as easy at is seems. And there is a simple reason why: it is social space. That means that opinions, voices, conversations and conflict are a part of daily interaction and engagement. Except when they’re not. And that’s when your business really has a problem.
Too often, businesses look at social media as a necessary evil, another account they need to create, another place they need to be, but the strategy stops with the sign up. Social media participation needs to be looked at as a living relationship in order for it to be successful, and for it to be worth the investment of your time and resources.
Less Ego, More Interest
The key to any kind of social media success lies in sharing consistent, quality, relevant content. Not all of that content should originate from you. In fact, choosing to share only the content you create, and to link only to your own announcements, products and pages, limits the usefulness of your social media, puts boundaries on the relationships that you are working hard to build, and undermines your value to the audience that has chosen to spend more time with you by following you on social media.
By posting links to content created by third parties, including news sources, clients, industry blogs, or others, you are demonstrating your appreciation for quality information and your appreciation for others. You are acknowledging that you are not the only source for quality information at the same time that you are underscoring your commitment to providing your community of clients, partners and friends with information that is worth their time and attention. This shows that you respect their time and attention and that you want to be trusted, and can be trusted, to connect your audience to what they need. You are making it clear that you are a resource, not a pitch machine.
Ultimately, by providing your social media audience with quality information created by others, you are bringing them back to you as the expert, the trusted resource, the central point around which a productive conversation can develop.
When you use your social media platforms exclusively as a broadcast medium, you are failing on multiple levels. You are undermining the function of and the quality of social media, a tool that is meant to be used to create and participate in conversations as a way to engage and encourage, rather than blindly advertise to brand users.
Social media is not a billboard or a network television spot. It is a two-way exchange. It levels the playing field by making the voice of your audience equal to the voice of your brand. Take advantage of the unique character of social media and the wealth of interesting, engaging content that lives online to connect with the interesting, engaged users who choose to follow you on social media.
Sharing links to content that is relevant to your audience, content that they appreciate, is a smart use of your social media assets for a number of reasons.
Because you are connecting your audience to content, events and opportunities that are relevant to them, they come to trust you and turn to you for the kind of information and interaction that they want. Once you fill this need for them, an important part of your communications objective and your sales process has already been completed. And it has been done in a way that is focused on value for your audience.
Connecting your social media followers to the content that interests them also enables you to connect with prospective partners and press, the other audiences that you want to build strong relationships with and create value for. Using their content, you are able to create connections in a way that promotes relationship building online and off. Colleagues, peers and press whose content you share are encouraged to share your content. In turn, this opens up conversations that can lead to mutual support and to mutual gain.