We all know people who are “inwardly focussed”. OK, let’s not beat about the bush here, self-involved. Whether they be friends or work colleagues, we all have that person who dominates conversation. If you have done something, they’ve done it better. If you’ve been ill, they had it worse. No matter what you’re talking about, they skilfully turn the conversation back round to them.
No matter who it is, or what the situation they’re in, these people are a royal pain in the what-not. However, when it comes to networking and marketing, it’s potential business suicide.
Think about the last time you went to a networking event and were faced with a total stranger who thrust their hand out, introduced themselves and shoved a business card at you. Five minutes later you’re still listening to them drivel on about their business, the product, their experience, their sheer wonderfulness.
Did you ever do business with them?
Have you ever referred to them?
Come on be honest, do you now avoid them at all costs?
Social media marketing is absolutely no different. When I start working with a new client they often query what to post on social media, usually citing the fact their industry isn’t interesting enough to post about twice a day.
When I reply that the last thing they want to do is keep talking about themselves, their industry or their product they look at me like I have two heads.
But how will I sell if I don’t mention my latest gadget?
Over the years I’ve learnt to curb my urge to face palm and cry; however, this still remains my initial instinct.
I know I’ve said it before, but if you’re new, or have forgotten, let me say it again: social media marketing is NOT about selling. It’s about building relationships with your audience, and you can’t do that if all you try to do is sell to them.
No matter how many of my ramblings you’ve read in the past, you may well find yourself thinking this makes no sense. Your business is on social media because you want to sell things. Your audience knows you want to sell things to them, and clearly they don’t mind otherwise they wouldn’t be following you.
The key thing you need to remember is that your audience is not on social media because they want to buy things. They use social media day in, day out for entertainment, to learn things, to keep on top of news and current trends, to interact and to be, well, social.
Your constant posts to buy, buy, buy are nothing more than spam.
They can’t learn, they can’t interact, they can’t engage.
If they can’t do these things at any point, they will tune out. It doesn’t matter if they unfollow you, or simply mute you – the end result is the same.
You are never going to get them back.
When it comes to social media marketing your job is to inform your audience. Tell them about products that are on the market – even if you don’t sell them. Let them know you are the best person to come to when they are looking for advice. Don’t judge every interaction by what you immediately get out of it.
A customer may come to you, ask your advice and go elsewhere. But they will always remember how you took the time to help them in the first place. Next time they need something they may come to you and actually purchase. If you wow them then, I assure you, you have a customer for life. And that is definitely worth whatever time it cost you in the first place.
People cannot build a relationship with someone who just talks at them constantly – you need to find ways to make them want to interact and engage with you. Let them learn about you, what your values are, what you stand for and what your experience is. Get them to care about your story.
Look after them, and they will most definitely look after you.