Would you like to grow your Facebook likes? Do you want more Twitter followers? Regardless of the social network you are targeting, these principles will help you grow awareness and increase traffic to your website and business.
The number one principle is to always add value. Whether you are writing a blog post, an email newsletter, a tweet or a Facebook post, always try to say something that would be of value to your target reader. There are a variety of ways to create value. You can provide inform people regarding current events or happenings in your industry. You can educate them about your category of product or service. Or you can provide entertainment (this is a tricky one, of course, because not everyone finds the same things funny). Regardless of how you add value, the important thing is that you do. High on the list of not creating value for your readers is to bombard them with marketing or sales messages. If you consistently provide value, that is your marketing and sales message. The message is, “if you get this much out of what we give away, just think how much you’ll get if you pay us!”
The primary agenda of the social networks is to be social. If your primary agenda is to market or sell your product or service and that is the agenda you constantly operate from, people will ignore you like they do obnoxious sales people that call too much, don’t listen and never take a hint. No one wants to do business with someone like that. You have to first prove that you are a trustworthy friend or social connection by having no agenda other than to be friendly, make connections and be an interested and interesting member of the network. For example, if 9 out of 10 of your comments or posts on Facebook are friendly, informative and/or funny then you can post a marketing or sales message every once in a while and your network will accept it and even perhaps find value in it. However, if 9 out of 10 of your posts are “hey, check out my product or service,” you are going to be ignored more often than not.
The best social networkers participate on a weekly, if not daily basis, in their social networks of choice. You can’t be an occasional lurker or commenter and expect to make friends and influence people. That means that you may limit the social networks that you participate in. Better to be active on one or two and build a large and connected network then to be barely active on 5 social networks. If you consistently show interest in others, over time people will show interest in, and follow you.
In general, I’m not really one to coach being appropriate. I think some of the best times in life come from being totally inappropriate. I also think some of the most successful people in our world were considered to be wildly inappropriate in business and/or their personal lives. However, social networks have a bit of herd mentality. If you step too far out of line, you are likely to get ostracized. Also, each social network has different social norms. For example, the social norm on FaceBook is to post things about your friends, significant others, kids, pets and funny personal exploits. However, posting something funny about your cat on LinkedIn would be counter to the social norm and would seem strange. Linking to a good recipe on Pinterest will potentially score you lots of points there. However, tweeting about a recipe would be out of context if your business is technology or science related.
Follow these basic principles and you will rapidly become a social networking maven!