Several years ago I walked into a bar, loud music played in the background with large clusters of people standing around talking. After 20 minutes, two beers, and a few unanswered text messages later. I realized my date stood me up. I planned to leave but having traveled 45 minutes to get to this bar. Leaving wasn’t an option. I scanned the room and spotted a young woman wearing a red dress playing pool alone. I ordered another beer, headed over, and asked the woman if she wanted to play pool with me. She said I could have the table and started walking away. ( I decided to try the truth)
I confessed my main reason for coming over was not to play pool but to gain her sympathy by telling the story of being stood up. The woman laughed. An introduced herself; her name was Brenda. We began talking about the dating scene & two minutes into the conversation, a woman approached and asked Brenda if she was ok. Brenda nodded, yes. The woman asked me how I knew Brenda? “We just met,” I answered. The woman gave me a dirty look and walked off. I continued talking to Brenda, and less than a minute later, two big guys walked over with Brenda’s friend. The bigger man said, “nobody in our group knows you.”(annoyed) I smiled and replied, ” I’m trying to get to know Brenda” The man said, “well, she is not looking for new friends.” He started to tug at Brenda’s arm impatiently. I asked Brenda if she wanted to continue our conversation, and she responded yes but needed to go with her friends. I walked away, confused.
What does this story have to do with your business on social media? Some of you have wanted to feel included in a particular group at some point in your lives. And once you have made it in you, become overprotective about who can join the circle. Too often, people confuse being in an exclusive group with having a strong social network. It’s hard to build a robust social network with a group mentality. When opportunities arise or when you have a product or services to sell, you have a limited reach because of your group’s lack of diversity and non- inclusiveness. You haven’t nurtured any relationships outside of your precious group. You spend more time containing and keeping people out of the group rather than growing a warm social community of individuals encouraged to speak freely. Maybe, it’s my pride talking. Still, I believe the woman Brenda wanted to continue the conversation with me, fear of being ousted kept her from standing up to her friends. Trying to run your business like a private members-only group on a social platform does not make sense. Getting over the fear of networking and doing business outside of your comfortable group will give your business a greater chance to succeed on any social media platform now or in the future.
In two years , I’ve sold over two hundred items online from my 95killers merch before I had a website or online store. I’m not suggesting building a robust social network is the only reason, but being social, providing solutions for people online with useful information, and building a strong network on social media has been a critical component to my success. Below are three essential things that have helped me build a strong social media network and drive sales.
- What’s the point of a private business page; Why is your business page private on a social platform? Aren’t you selling a product or service? Don’t you want more people to know about what you’re selling? Every time I come across one of these pages, I wonder what the person’s thought process was behind this decision. Social platforms for business’s key strengths are transparency, and having their content shared, bringing more visitors to the page. The comments of satisfied customers is an organic review. Say you have a supporter that wants to share your content he copies the link and sends the post only to have the person he/ she shared it with getting the message you can not see this content because the page is private. That supporter is less likely to share your content in the future, An it’s not likey; the recipient will be interested in following your business. Make your business page public today and reap the benefits of a social network for your business.
- Comment Back on your posts. I have seen people with accounts of 500 or less take weeks to reply to comments on their posts or not comment at all. If this sounds like you consider changing this strategy. To clarify, when I say comment back, please do more than like a comment or drop a heart with no words. Try to establish a real connection by taking the time to leave a thoughtful comment or response. Imagine you’re out in the street, and someone says nice shoes, and you nod, that person would get the hint that you didn’t want them talking to you.and avoid talking with you again. If you are having engagement difficulties, Think of the way you are responding with others on social media. A great way to start a conversation and establish a bond with both followers and potential clients is through social interactions. Social interactions are an organic way to create more leads and get eyeballs on your business. Loyal supporters will point out potential problems with your products or services with helpful feedback. I know it sounds time consuming to reply to the comments of your supporters. On average, I spend about two hours a day just responding to every comment across multiple social media platforms and leaving comments on other pages. But the strategy has paid for it self.
- Build a network off of social media
Many of us have built a large group of followers on various social media platforms. History has taught us what happens when a person gets tired of a social platform or doesn’t use it frequently. They either delete or abandon their accounts. You lose a potential person in your social media network. Social media accounts are rented. We don’t own them. The wrong post or too many complaints can get your page deleted. Get as many people to follow you off social media as possible start building your email list. I use a service called mail chimp. You can start with a free account to see if it works for you when I do my online events. I often require people to sign up with an email. I don’t send out weekly updates. But when I have a special announcement to make, I use my email list. Also, the subscription email form on my website is connected to my email database. Having a business where you can access your network off social media puts the power back into your hands.