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how you post and share content matters

If you listen to me long enough and you’ll know I am more focused on social networking and being engaged than creating content. I’ll keep saying it too….

 

Your content is designed to play a supporting role.

 

People do business with people. They build relationships. They act on those relationships. When they choose to act is when your content matters. It is at that point they will read (or read again). It is at that point they will decide if, aside from having that relationship with you, they trust you are the right person or business to hire.

Content isn’t the most important thing…. what you post and more importantly, HOW you write, post or share content IS critical.

Your content MUST have a purpose

Your content MUST serve a purpose. It must help build relationships, must be authoritative and/or must drive action.Click To Tweet

Not every post needs to do all of it, and the best content will hit multiple points. If your content doesn’t hit on at least one of those points, you’re wasting your time posting it. PERIOD

I adore Rhonda over at Fat Dog Creatives. She’s a fantastic graphic designer and her process is incredible. She’s also a big proponent of me (yes, I have an ego).

She shared one of my Facebook posts about the value of engagement  to her business page. I immediately thanked her (as Tactical Social Media, though I could have as myself.) and as quickly as I did, I scolded her. Love that she shared it, hate that while it was good for me, it did nothing for her!

She already decided to share my content. She gave me something, so why not leverage it to truly nurture the relationship, to establish her own authority, drive some action and share a little bit of herself? She should use it further help herself.

 

Blindly posting or sharing content provides little value to YOU. Make what you post count for you AND your audience.Click To Tweet

How you create your post matters

How the share first appeared…..

How you post and share content matters

Here’s the edited version…..

How you post and share content matters if you want to see results

The difference?

She leveraged my content to help build her authority. She continues to nurture our relationship (more than simply sharing my content, she acknowledges she is learning from me – that ego thing again) and she is making it personal and herself more relatable to her clients.

 

The bonus… Rhonda will get some HUGE additional visibility:

*  She tagged me (with permission – do not ever tag a person in a business post without permission. It is rude and a relationship killer) placing her post on my timeline. Her brand was promoted to my personal network.And since I was tagged personally, I responded personally. That adds further reach.

*  She has real content that could be found later when someone uses Facebook’s search function (and trust me, they do!).

 

While I will continue to preach that content is less important than social engagement, there is no doubt content is vital. It’s not about how much content you post, how often or when.

 

It is about WHAT you post and HOW you post and share content that matters.

What if you could spend less time writing content and still drive web traffic and generate leads?

Oh. Wait. You can….and I do!

Social Networking: Lead Generation Without Content

I spend the majority of my time actively networking, not posting and sitting on my ass hoping my content is seen. I follow specific people and pages. I interact, support and add value. That simply activity, which is easy and honestly, fun, is what YOU should be doing and what I  have found to be the BEST way to leverage my time on social media.

 

One of those I follow is my friend (and one of my influencers) Debra Jason. We met on social media through a mutual friend. While we have yet to meet in person, we have spent a good deal of time networking together and supporting each other.

I am always reading her content (it is that good). She recently shared a post from her website, The Write Direction. As a standard practice I commented on the post itself and to further support her, also took the time to add a comment directly on the blog post itself.

 

The result of networking and interacting with Debra:

  • I saw her social share of the post.
  • I added a valuable comment on social and the blog post itself
  • One of her blog readers saw my comment.

 

Apparently, the comment made an impression. Not only did they track back to my post (Want Results From Facebook? Stop Sitting On Your Ass!), they filled out my lead capture form to sign up to receive my content in their inbox!

 

Lead generation through social networking, not content.

 

A perfect example of driving web traffic and lead generation WITHOUT content.

I’ll add this is not an isolated example of driving web traffic from social networking. There is this one:

 

Value of commenting on a blog post found through social networking

 

And this one:

 

Driving web traffic through social networking

 

Social networking is how I have been able to leverage social media effectively to build my brands since 2007, and it’s proven to remain highly effective through all of the algorithm changes.

A single value-added comment might just be worth far more than any piece of content you post.

 

Consider spending less time on your content and more on being active, visible and engaged.Click To Tweet

Business Is Built On Relationships.

I’m old enough to remember all it took to close and honor a business deal was a handshake.  There was an unmistakable level of trust. Yes, there was an unwritten code that you honored your word and would not enter into an agreement you couldn’t fulfill, but there needed to be more. You still didn’t do business with just anyone. You KNEW whose hand you were shaking.  You had a relationship with them.  You weren’t doing business with a brand. You were doing business with the person behind the brand.

Business has changed.

It’s now legal contracts, binding agreements, pre-payment. It’s become less personal and more business. Large brands came in and took over where the small mom and pop stores once dominated. They didn’t do business better. They did it cheaper, faster, easier. All of us have had a hand in that shift.

The shops and businesses that survived did so, not because they could out-compete the big brands. They survived because their owners had built long and solid relationships with their customers. They knew them by name. They didn’t just sell to them. They talked. They shared stories. They bonded.

 

They became friends and those customers stayed loyal.

 

I do still see that as very much alive. I see it often in the local shops here in Proctor. I see it when I travel to Idaho. I know it exists throughout the world. Businesses small and large are thriving and growing on the simple idea of building and nurturing relationships.

When it comes to social media I am constantly hearing that reach is done. That ‘we’re getting no engagement’. That ‘we’re not seeing results’.  What I see missing – social media should be an online equivalent to what you are doing in the real world. How you network, how you interact with customers, how you conduct business should be how you operate on social media – only it’s not.

 

Why Not?

We broadcast, we promote ourselves. We don’t interact or engage (and I’m not talking about your own content). We don’t act as part of a community. We’re not out supporting that community, we’re not building relationships. We’re not being social.

As a small business owner, you ARE the face of your business. The more you are personal and the more of yourself you bring into your content, the more opportunity you provide for others to connect. The more opportunity you have to create, develop and grow relationships. The more opportunity to develop a friendship.

If you are inextricably linked to your brand, why not leverage who you are? I get the privacy issue. I get why you would want to limit posting personal content. You can actually do both.  It’s why I run a Facebook workshop dedicated to properly setting up your personal profile properly. I want you to be able to be personal yet maintain your privacy when and where necessary.

 

Keeping it separate.

I think there is still a point at which we can separate personal from business and still succeed. If you are engaged, if you are out supporting others, you post non business content that is relevant to your audience (you’d better know their buyer persona) and as my friend Randy Clark has said, as long as you bring a more personal tone to blog content.

Me? I do control my privacy. You won’t see pictures of my family (unless from behind) but I do share my adventures and stories. I share other non-business content. I share from others, I regularly visit and interact with others. I try to be open.

 

The vast majority of my social time is dedicated to being social.

 

I’m after relationships. Know, Like and Trust only goes so far. To be successful, you need to connect with your customers.

 

My challenge to you:

In the next 24 hours post something to your business page(s) that has nothing to do with your brand. It could be a community event, an adventure you just took, a great meal at a local restaurant, a dream vacation you’d like to take.

At least once per day find the page of another business you could support (maybe a local place you do business with) and add a valuable (not just ‘I agree’ or ‘great post’) comment.

In short, I want you to work on developing relationships.

There are 2 parts to social media: Social AND Media. Your content is only PART of the equation. Social + Media = Success; Tactical Social Media Agency, Tacoma: #BeTactical

There are 2 parts to social media: Social AND Media. Your content is only PART of the equation. Social + Media = Success; Tactical Social Media Agency, Tacoma: #BeTactical

There are 2 parts to social media: Social and Media.

Less broadcasting, more engagement.

If you’re not doing both, success will be limited.

Are you doing both or just broadcasting?

Maybe We Should Call It “Unsocial Media”

Too often people using social media as a tool to build an audience to pitch or as a broadcast platform rather than as a relationship tool.  Social media is a powerful tool when used right….but it takes time (sometimes lots of it) to generate that ROI.

5 Signs you’re unsocial and doing it wrong!

  • You’re only posting your own content.
  • You’re sharing content from others but not commenting or replying first – It’s great you’re sharing and it’s better than complete self-promotion but it’s still broadcasting. (Read: Why I Don’t Use Twitter’s Retweet Button by Bridget Willard)
  • It’s all business.  Yes, it is a business account but I not only recommend you post personal content, I recommend it.  There’s a reason business deals are made on the golf course, at the bar or over 2-hour martini lunches (do they even do those anymore?). You learn quite a bit about someone when they’re having fun and relaxed.
  • You don’t respond when spoken to (or you take too long) or acknowledge when someone mentions you. Ignoring people isn’t social. It’s just plain rude.
  • You use social media for cold calling.  This one is prevalent on LinkedIn and Twitter and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves!
Social media isn't supposed to be a broadcast platform. It's supposed to be social! Click To Tweet

 

Nothing bothers me much more than following someone on Twitter or connecting here and then getting “a buy/download/ attend my….” Tweet or message (and don’t get me started on the automated direct message thing!).

A few weeks back a very unsocial Twitter conversation started with receiving a download request via Tweet within 30 seconds of following a brand:

Why wouldn’t you want fitness combined with personal safety? Download……

My immediate response (and yes, not using their handle first made this public):

Wow! XXXXXX Followed you and secs later you’re asking me to download stuff from your site. .

The remainder of the conversation had me thinking they understood:

They tweeted an apology and stated they thought I might find it a good, useful app…

I do XXXXXX Think it’s a great idea.  builds relationships; Relationships drive biz. 

‘Social’ builds relationships; Relationships drive business. 

Thanks! Didn’t intend on being unsocial, just want to get the word out about our … tech! Downloading is up to you!

Sure thing XXXXXX. Great app for hikers, cyclists too. Getting the word out effectively comes down to how you craft the message.

You’re right! We appreciate the input!

I even helped them by crafting a tweet and sending it out to my audience with their handle and link!

Sadly, a look back at their posts for the day showed a constant unsocial stream of tagging individuals asking them to download their app.  Really?

Needless to say, I deleted my tweet.

Whatever happened to building relationships and being social?

Are we so focused on making a quick buck? Do we see our fans and followers as merely ‘targets’? Are they just a means to an end….money in our pockets?  Are we really that unsocial?  I’m beginning to think we are.

I know they will likely get some to buy their app as a result of the practice, but it’s short-term gains.  Business runs on relationships.  Social media is an incredible tool for building relationships.  Use it right and you’ll see a return on your time and money.  Use it right and you’ll have customers for life.

Do social right and be social!

FYI:

1.  I will call you out (and unfollow you) if you spam me with a DM or tweet me to buy /download/visit/ attend something of yours simply because I followed you.  I follow because I looked at your profile and liked what I saw.  What you have to offer by way of your tweets (or products/services) interests me.  If you want to sell to me, fine.  Just buy me a drink first.

I get enough direct solicitation via email, direct mail, TV, radio…. I don’t need or want it on Twitter, Facebook or any other social – or is that ‘unsocial’ – channel

2.  If I give you advice, you’re welcome to do with it as you please. Tell me I’m right, then resort to your old ways….UNFOLLOWED.  They obviously had no intention of doing anything different and simply paid me lip service.

I like LinkedIn messaging.  It’s a great networking tool and can be every bit as powerful as face to face networking opportunities both in group and one on one meetings.  LinkedIn offers the ability to showcase one’s expertise, create authority and build great business and personal relationships.

Sadly, I’ve seen a shift over the past few years to more sales pitches in the form of status updates and messages, connections being made for that sole purpose and more bulk messages.  While bulk messages in themselves aren’t always a negative, when you’re looking to strengthen the relationships you have already established, lumping me in with 20+ other ‘Robert’s in your contacts is certainly not a positive way to connect with me.

The LinkedIn Messaging Protocol: While bulk LinkedIn messaging isn't always a negative, when you’re looking to strengthen the relationships you have already established, lumping me in with 20+ other ‘Robert’s in your contacts is certainly not a positive way to connect with me.

LinkedIn Messaging Etiquette

I received a LinkedIn message from an individual connection recently.  It was a Season’s Greetings eCard with a clickable link.  From a professional perspective, LinkedIn is about connecting and building relationships.  I think sending a Christmas message, and any personal message for that matter, is a great idea.  Connecting personally develops stronger professional relationships.  What bothers me in this case – not only wasn’t the post personalized, but it was sent, as I reference above, clearly from a block of the sender’s contacts as the majority of the names where ‘Robert’ or alphabetically close.  There was no attempt to even filter who received the message.

Regardless if the intent of the message, it came across as merely an attempt to keep the sender’s name top of mind.  Personally, I see this as spam.  Since every relationship I have on LinkedIn is considered before simply accepting, I’m hesitant to just remove someone from my list so I sent a simple message:

While I appreciate the card, I find being included on bulk messages like this to be spam. 

I would prefer to be left off such messages and those other than of a personal nature.

Thank you.

Robert

I expected a short apology and in the end, no true harm done and as they say, no foul.  What I received back, however, surprised me:

This is LinkedIn!! I prefer to only do or discuss business matters that are not of personal nature on the Professional Business Entrepreneur LinkedIn website. 

Just simply wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays hope the rest of the season warms you up from being so suspicious and you actually enjoy yourself!!

Not only did I not receive an apology, I was accused of being suspicious and not enjoying myself or the holidays.  What struck a chord with me more – this individual prefers not to use LinkedIn for business matters (when LinkedIn is a professional oriented networking site) and the sender wasn’t actually wishing ME anything.  It was a wish to a collective.  At least make it personal to me so I know you care about me as a connection.

I normally would have let it drop at this point but as a social media and marketing consultant I felt it was a good teaching opportunity.  My reply:

It’s not about being suspicious.  Your initial message was not personalized (something I teach being critical for developing relationships) and that message was only a link to an eCard. 

I have used LinkedIn messaging successfully to grow my businesses and consult with others to do the same. I regularly send greetings and other personal messages as well as those for business but I do so with each tailored to the recipient. If I include you as part of a bulk mailing it, to me it (and it should to you) shows I don’t value you personally. How does one grow a relationship if nothing is personalized and the recipient is just part of a collective?

Even the vast majority of my connection requests are personalized with how we know each other or why I want to connect if we do not.

Since this is a network to build relationships, I simply asked to be left off bulk messages as I find them to be spam. I would have openly welcomed a personalized greeting sent only to me.

Case in point, I did recently receive a similar message, replied with a thank you, spent some time on their profile and found they could be a valuable resource for a colleague whom I then referred. Why? They took the time to build that relationship with me.

Robert

…..to which I received no further replies.

So how do you send that ‘message’ to all of your connections?  A status update like Maria Orth’s may not be seen by everyone, but it is the right way to do it.

The LinkedIn Messaging Protocol: So how do you send that ‘message’ to all of your #LinkedIn connections? A status update like Maria Orth’s may not be seen by everyone, but it is the right way to do it.

Update:  Shortly after publishing this post I received another message, that while personally addressed, clearly falls into my ‘spam’ category:

I’m reaching out to you since to see if you might be interested in a ground floor opportunity, or know anyone who might be. I’m wanting to make you aware of this tremendous opportunity and would like to ask you an eye-opening question…

As an Entrepreneur, If you had the chance to get in on the Ground Floor of a company expansion (with a company that’s NOT Ground Floor) where you could generate monthly recurring residual commissions on mobile phone bills nationwide, would you want to know how to get in on it?

In addition to bulk messages, using LinkedIn’s messaging feature for the purpose of recruiting, or requesting that I turn over the names of my contacts, to help you build your network marketing business is spam.

A valid recruiting message is acceptable.  If you want to hire me or collaborate on a project, great.  Clearly this wasn’t.

I am happy to receive LinkedIn messages (and would like to connect and discuss any thoughts you may have – including about YOUR business or interests). Just don’t spam me.

The Take Away:

Regardless of the social site you use and regardless of whether the nature of your message is personal or professional – the end goal is to develop and grow relationships.  You do that by connecting personally.  Bulk messages have value when used correctly.  Just make sure you are using them correctly.