I am finding that the vast majority of people who use social networks as part of a marketing strategy actually fail at it miserably. I mean no disrespect towards anyone saying this, but even some of my own partners and marketing connections don't get it. The problem is they treat social networks like an SEO platform. They go about posting article after article leaving backlinks all over the place, they go out and comment on other peoples posts, and then they wonder why no one reads the things they post. Often times when people do leave comments on the articles and posts they make, they are nothing more
than program hopping spam comments. They seem to have a major problem getting legitimate people to interact with them.
To me the answer is so obvious its right in front of their noses. Honestly though, sometimes the things right in front of our noses, are the very things that are hardest to see.
Before I explain to anyone how to PROPERLY social market, I want to use an real world analogy that I hope will make the issue at hand very very clear.
Imagine you had a group of friends offline that you could not hold a conversation with. You call them up on the telephone or you go to their house, but their is no conversation. Instead of conversation, all your friends act more like teachers than they do friends. Every conversation is actually a teaching lesson. If its not a teaching lesson, its a large debate about their opinion verse your opinion. How long would you keep these friends if that were the case?
I don’t care how knowledgeable a person is, if its always like a teaching session, there is no friendship. Bill Gates couldn’t become friends with me and I don’t care how rich he is, if he could never hold a conversation with me and instead non-stop tried to teach me. In fact despite his success I would easily get bored with such interactions.
Now think about how most marketers treat social networking. They post links to their favorite sites, they post articles to educate others, they leave comments on the articles other people leave, but they do not engage anyone as a friend.
If you are a social marketer let me ask you, when was the last time you sent a professional social connection an email and say “hey man, just wanted to see how you are doing, and see how the family is?”. When was the last time you received a message saying “you haven’t been active in a while, is everything okay”. When was the last time you just had a conversation with a social connection as a friend. No sales, no education, no business at all?
Are you seeing what I am getting at yet?
I can tell you right away, the last time was just today, and yesterday, and the day before….
I can tell you just yesterday I had a conversation with John Chatman that had no business undertone. I complimented him in a manner of speaking for the way he composes himself on social networks, nothing less or more.
I can tell you I have sat around with Steve Shearer discussing our tastes in beautiful women, no undertone of business what so ever.
I can tell you of Paula Van Dun who I have had numerous conversations with involving everything from her vacations and travels to her home life and the country she lives in.
This is what being social is all about. Its about getting to know your connections on such a level that they become friends. Its not about making new business contacts or getting people to respect you as an authority. If you make friends instead of business connections, they WILL respect you as an authority and it does not take proving it with posts or knowledge.
Think about this for a second. Lets say you have a business contact that sells health food and dietary supplements. Lets further say you have an interest in buying such products. Now logically because they are a business contact you are going to buy from them right? But what happens if your best friend in the world opens up a health food store. Which person are you going to trust more? Better yet which person are you going to shop with?
This is exactly the point of social networking – making friends.
If you are constantly out in the social world building connections and posting articles to prove you are an authority, its very likely no one is reading what you say so you are NOT building authority at all. Friends read what you post, not business contacts. Business contacts are to worried about posting their own content and getting people to view their content! They don’t have time to read your content.
What they may have time for is giving you a a like on facebook, a +1 on google+, or a thumbs up on apsense. Perhaps they will even read the title of your post or article and leave a comment based on that title…. but we generally can see right away they didn’t actually read the content. Why? Because they don’t have time and you are not a friend so they won’t make time for you! They simply do the little things because it puts their name on your pages. It gives them exposure.
If you are finding people do not leave comments on the things you post, or if they simply reply to anything you say with a link to their own programs, its most likely because you are not giving them a reason to do anything else. You are not reaching out to those people on a personal level and getting them to break from the patterns of business.
There is a reason these sites are called SOCIAL NETWORKS as opposed to business networks. Even when business is involved they are called social business networks. The word social is always their because the essence of the social network is being SOCIAL.
Children go to school to learn from teachers. However any parent can tell you aside from the teacher student relationship, a child has social interactions. Not with the teachers, but with other students – because children don’t make friends with teachers, they make friends with students. Teachers teach, social connections are friends.
I hope this helps a few people who have recently expressed that they are suddenly finding less and less people actually read the things they post on social networks. I hope that perhaps you will change the way you are using social networks.
One last note I want to make is – if you speak to people who are NOT involved with internet business, the biggest complaint they have with companies who try to be social, is that the companies FAIL at being social because the companies talk TO you instead of interacting WITH you. Don’t be like a company, instead be like a person…. it will get you a LOT further.
I hope this helps!