I just read an article in Inc. magazine about the right (and wrong) ways to introduce yourself when you meet someone new. The piece reminded me of the advice that I give to business owners and companies looking to get into social media:
“Picture yourself at a cocktail party. If you’re going to be ‘that guy’ that broadcasts about yourself, your position and how much money you make, no one is going to talk to you. If you ask questions and let others in and give them the chance to lead the conversation, you’ll most likely make a new friend (and maybe get a number to take home).”
Getting started or “introducing” your business to others by using social media is really no different than what you would do when you meet someone new. And so, just as Inc.’s piece, we should all keep the following three items in mind:
Keep it short.
There’s a reason you can only text or tweet 140 characters. Your customers and clients want short and snappy information. You don’t want to sift through drawn-out introductions, information and text and neither does your audience. Keep your social media updates and posts short and sweet. As your customers are drawn in, they will then lead the conversation into natural conversation, feedback and comments along the way.
Focus on others.
It’s all about your customers–whether we’re talking sales, services or social media channels. Keep your social media interactions focused on what your customers want. What interests them? Ask questions and respond when they answer. Leave the push marketing and crazy sales tactics out of it. Show genuine interest in your audience and they will do the same for you. Connections come from listening.
Think about your audience using each social media channel you’re a part of. Those who are on Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Pinterest choose those channels for different reasons. What might be cool on Twitter (ahem, hashtags) really doesn’t work across the board. Likewise, just as it’s not necessary to blurt out your job title during a casual night out with friends, it’s also not necessary to be authoritative and stiff online. Keep it relevant. Keep it breezy.
Social media is meant to be fun and entertaining. Yes, it can be a great tool for business, but keep it light and natural. Don’t force the conversation and always keep your audience a key part of what you’re doing online; let them lead the way. You may end up with a whole new circle of friends and business leads you would have otherwise never have met!