Some times the right road isn’t the easiest way to go.
Let’s talk about what it takes to build social media connections. The vocabulary varies from Facebook to Twitter to Google+ to LinkedIn, but the idea is the same. In that great online conversation, the amplified word of mouth, as a business you engage because you want people caring about what you add to the topic. Opinions sometimes, humor sometimes, breaking news, but mostly what we call content. You don’t clutter.
And what it doesn’t take: the bot-or-bought fake social media. “Bots” are programmed scripts that pretend to be human, winding around social media like nastily little trolls hiding under bridges, faking connections. And “boughts” are fake friends or likes. I’ve seen talk of buying 1,000 likes, or 1,000 twitter followers, for as little as $14.
Bot-boughts are tempting, but shortcuts don’t work. Anybody who cares to scratch the surface can tell, and then you’re looking like that little ethical spot of sleaze is the tip of the iceberg. Those iceberg are slippery slopes, by definition.
So how do you get followers. Are you old enough to remember those commercials where the old guy with the honest-looking face talks says “we make money the old-fashioned way. We earn it.” You grow your social media presence the old fashioned way too. You earn it. And here’s how.
Build connections organically
Use the search features to find people offering content you respect. Follow them. Think of yourself as wanting to be a bird of a feather, so flock together. Search for topics that interest you and connect with people offering content you like. There are bots that will do that but that doesn’t work; it takes a human and it takes time.
Interact with people you connect with
Social media, although it may be typing on a keyboard, is about listening (or reading). It’s about catching what others are saying and offering something back as a response. It’s about scratching the other person’s back. Yeah, they call that interacting. Think about what you’d tell a kindergarten kid about how to have friends. Follow that advice.
Share valuable content
Would you go to a cocktail party saying nothing but “buy my product?” Social media is publishing, even if it doesn’t feel like it, creating content bit by bit. And shouting sales slogans all the time turns everybody off. You have to actually offer something other people want to read. Look for good content and pass it on.
Also, if you’re going to engage in social media for your business, avoid clutter. Don’t use any of these platforms to tell your friends what you had for dinner or that the plane is delayed. People won’t follow you for long unless you offer something interesting.
And you don’t have to be original. Curation means choosing what content you pass along, stuff you’ve seen that you think others would like. Curation is the new content. If you’re curious about that, take a look at our curated social media stream here. That’s curation.
(Photo credit: by John Bauer, via Wikipedia)