Social Media is More Than Advertising Your Products or Services

03 Feb Social Media is More Than Advertising Your Products or Services

Social Media for Small Business

Your social media audience doesn’t want your spam.

Last week I wrote an article about the importance of social media in your business and marketing plans. If you’ve read that article, you now understand that social media is an effective, low cost marketing tool and strategy for your business. But you’re probably still wondering how it can be so effective and how to use it properly.

A lot of businesses make the mistake of hearing the benefits of social media and they jump right into using it, but they don’t get anywhere or see an immediate return on their time invested. The problem is they’re treating social media as another form of interruption marketing and they’re blasting their audience with messages that promote themselves.

Interruption marketing doesn’t work

Listen, nobody wants to be interrupted or distracted by constant ads or sales promotions. That’s why telemarketing is so ineffective. That’s why billboards don’t work very well, and why it’s so expensive and time consuming to get results from television and radio ads. So when you’re using social media, you definitely don’t want to spend all your time selling your products or promoting your business to anyone you find.

But the expectations from people who are using social media is a little different. They don’t want to be constantly spammed. They want to receive valuable information in a timely manner, and from people they trust. So when you are using social media to help your business grow, you need to constantly be aware of how “spammy” your content seems.

Social Media is about building trust

When you use social media tools, you have a golden opportunity to build relationships. Good relationships build trust. When someone trusts you, they’re more willing to do business with you. See how this works? You need to spend more time adding value to the lives of your audience than you spend selling and promoting what you have to offer.

Let’s think about this for a second. If someone did something for you that made your life better, and they didn’t charge you a dime, you’d be grateful, wouldn’t you? When your business uses social media, look to serve your audience in ways they don’t expect. I’ve heard the ratio of 75/25 used a lot, meaning you should spend 75% of your social media time adding value and only 25% selling. In fact, I try to do better than that and push for a 90/10 ratio.

Social media isn’t just about you

I also try to selflessly promote other people and their content. If there’s information that can benefit my audience, I want them to know about it. Even if that means promoting someone besides myself. There again, doing so builds trust because the people I’m connected to know I care more about them than I do about myself.

Additionally, I schedule time to interact on discussion forums and answer questions in my area of expertise. When you can help someone out for free and provide them with some free resources, you position yourself as an expert and people begin seeking you out for help.

This starts to sound like it’s really time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Next week we will cover some specific tools and products that you can use to apply these principles. They’re all free and I use them everyday. The following week we’ll talk about how you can set up systems to save yourself some time and effort with your social media strategy.

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