I notice lots of business people who are trying to use social media for their business but they’re stumbling and confused about what to post and share on their business page.
There seems to be this perception that your business page and your personal page must be entirely separate and you mustn’t ever let on that you are a real person with real ups and downs, highs and lows, successes and struggles.
Why is that?
Social media is social. It is about meeting people you wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to connect with. It’s about developing fruitful (and I don’t mean purely financial) relationships which add value to your life. It’s about growing your business by building meaningful and enjoyable relationships with just the right people to help your business flourish.
It’s ok to let people know who the person behind the business, who the people in the business are, what new developments are happening in your business, when you meet a new client and they rave about your product or service. All of these things are social. They are helping people to understand you, your business, your values and what is important to your business.
In addition, you have to get to know them. The people you connect with can be your most valuable source of market research. Please contribute to their conversations and add value to their lives too.
Afterall, that is what a relationship is all about, isn’t it? A two-way beneficial and influential stream of input and output from both parties. Well that’s what I expect. Otherwise if I’m giving all the time it’s draining, and if I’m receiving all the time it’s overwhelming (unless it’s jewellery and then it’s welcome!).
So in summary, you must focus on socialising and you do that just the same way as you do in a face-to-face networking event.
- Awareness – you become aware of a person (or they become aware of you). In the face-to-face situation this may be passing by each other or just saying Hi. It may be an introduction or elevator pitch.
- Rapport – you connect and decide that a relationship will be worthwhile. Many people will quickly know whether they like or dislike a person (for whatever reason) and with the people they want to continue to develop that relationship they’ll engage in meaningful conversation.
- Get to know each other – once you have some rapport you will build a deeper relationship getting to know more about what drives and inspires you. You may share more about your business or your family but you take the relationship to a deeper place where you feel like you’re getting to know the person.
- A relationship forms – this may be friendship, it may be a business relationship, it may be a business partnership. The type of relationship is irrelevant but what will have happened is you will know how you can help each other and what value you add to the other person. The person may become a client, a source of juicy referrals, or a friend.
Can you see the correlation between what happens offline and online?
There really isn’t a lot of difference. It is just the medium which is different. Remember that and consider your time on social media platforms as networking time (on a really big scale).
Be social and build a social, approachable business online as well as offline.