What if you’re being social, but nobody is listening

What if you’re being social, but nobody is listening

If you’re an actor, and at show time, there’s nobody in the audience, would you still perform? Would one person in the audience make the performance worth it? Will five, ten, fifty? What’s the tipping point?

Obviously, in real life, if the theater was empty, the show would be cancelled. Even if there were a few people attending, it might be better to return their money and close the show. But in social media, we find companies all the time that put on a show for nobody.

First you must have an audience

If you’re Tweeting and Facebooking and nobody follows or likes you - why are you doing it? If you send out a promotional offer and you only have 48 followers - while the potential audience for your offer may be greater (through magnification) the effort is too much for too little.

My point is, before you dive full tilt into social media, or rather social media marketing, you need to first find an audience. You need to have a plan on how to gain followers and likes (on your page). Without them, you’re simply shouting into the wind.

So how do you gain an audience?

1. Email - We generally recommend tapping into your email list. You have been studiously building your email list, right? Send out a call to action - like us, follow us. Just don’t sound desperate. Instead admit you’re new to social media and you want to build a following. And since “they” already subscribe to your email list - you thought they’d want to follow or like you too.

2. Online Groups - Reaching out to online groups is a terrific way to gain an audience. Provided you’ve been participating in the group. If you’re on Linkedin, promote your new profiles. If you’re a member of a discussion board, promote yourself there.

3. Promote Yourself Relentlessly - A sticky point for many is that they feel self promotion is “spammy” or tainted in some way. It’s not. If you’re generating good, helpful content, or selling a product or service that’s valuable - people will want to know about it. It’s how you promote yourself that matters. If you’re genuine it’ll work. If you’re “used car guy” it will fail.

4. Follow and Like Others - The unwritten etiquette is... if you follow or like someone, they should be polite and follow and/or like you back. Of course “social standing” matters too. If they’re famous or popular and you follow them returning the favor is not obligated. So choose wisely. And beware, they can always unfollow you too.

5. Be Worthy - Perhaps this should have been first. But make sure you’re worthy of being followed or liked. If you’re not generating good content. If your opinion or shared knowledge isn’t any good.... well you’ll lead a lonely online existence.

6. Ask For It - Everyone who visits your site. Everyone who enters your door. Try to connect with them online. Follow them. Like them. Ask for the same. Hey, you’re building an online empire, don’t be shy. Just don’t be a nag. Ask once, OK. Ask twice, I’m annoyed. Ask thrice, I’ve just unliked you.

7. Never, Ever Pay - Don’t buy followers or likes. First, if you’re really trying to build a quality social list, acquiring dubious people that have little or no interest in you isn’t going to assist you. It might make you look popular, but your message will still be sent to tons of useless, disinterested profiles - that are most likely fake anyway.

Once you have an audience...go full throttle!

Once you reach your magic number - that only you can define - keep going. Don’t rest on your laurels and think, I’ve made it. I can simply generate content. Keep doing steps one through six. And in no time at all, you’ll be sharing with hundreds or thousands. And magnification (friends of friends) will have your reach amplified to tens of thousands.

Once you’re packing them into your theater, you can perform, and their applause and reviews will continue to help you gain more followers and likes. You’ll be a hit. And your promotions will start to work and affect the bottom line - in a positive way.

So go ahead, start building. Follow me. Like me. And if you’re worthy....I’ll return the favor.

Feb 28, 2013

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