Social Media – Think Outreach, not Magnet

Many clients expect too much from tsocial media, as if a Facebook business page will magnetically draw thousands to you and a Twitter account will accrue followers simply because it exists. Unfortunately that whole “build it and they will come” theory does not apply to social media even remotely, unless you’re Victoria’s Secret or Justin Bieber (and guess what? Even those heavyweight entities need to do a lot of work to maintain their presence).

It’s better to think of social media as an outreach program. You’re offering authentic and helpful advice for people who choose to take it. You’re also creating a sense of trust and relevancy online, meaning that it means something simply because your business and name are “out there” in the ether, taking up space in the minds of others.

Before you say to yourself, “Well what the heck does that matter?” remember: name recognition means a lot. If you’re a pizza shop with a popular social media page, your name pops up in the heads of customers who are driving by your parlor. You mean something more to them than the pizza shop with no Facebook page. You have a virtual history and connection with those customers.

So how can you reach out to others that works and doesn’t eat up all your time?

1. Be consistent. You don’t have to post to several social media accounts a day to maintain your relevancy. More important? Consistency. So if you can only post a few times a week, consistently post a few times a week. Sometimes with social media, less is more. Think of how many times you’ve unfollowed a business (or even a friend) because of overposting. It’s annoying, right? When you consistently post relevant, useful content, you don’t oversaturate your customers and they tend to look forward to your quality posts.

2. Be authentic. We’ve all heard the age-old self-help advice: be yourself. It applies to social media as well. Don’t try to “put on” a persona for your business. Keep it simple and real. Dare to share some personal info. Let’s take that pizza shop example above. The owners posted personal photos of a recent trip to Italy, tasting delicious food. No, the posts were not about their parlor but about them. That type of personal authenticity resonates with people (as well as tying in Italian food, which is a natural fit content-wise for a pizza shop obviously!).

The less expectations you have with social media, the better. Sure, shape a smart, well-constructed campaign but realize it’s a process, not a destination. Instead of “build it and they will come” think “build it, send out invitations, give out free lemonade, offer up good advice, be authentically friends…and maybe they’ll stop by for a visit.”


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