How do you find your competitive edge?
This is the subtlety that separates the successful social media profiles from the ones that fail.
And it all revolves around one question:
Why should people read YOUR updates?
To stay competitive, your social media updates must do something for your readers. They must make them FEEL a certain way, so they view them when they can (or even add you to their Twitter or FaceBook close friend list so they get your updates first), and more
importantly, decide to stay connected with you. And that's when you'll stand out from the thousands of other updates that are vying for your audiences' attention. So, how do you do this?
You must deliver VALUE to your audience. This value to your audience could be tangible, like getting a special discount, being the first to know about a new product, or learning something new. Those tangible offers are straightforward. You put a coupon code in your update, an image of your product, promote your latest book or consulting package, etc.
People love those and they can definitely be a good reason they'll prefer to stay connected with you on social media.
But it also could be something less tangible. Many of the most successful profiles maintain an emotional connection with their audience. Their audience looks forward to their updates because they either make them laugh, make them think in new ways, or inspire them to take action in their lives.
When I started on social media, I talked about my running, my outside work life, etc. in my updates, because I noticed that my audience responded positively when I shared personal parts of my life. I didn't overdo it, but I would just share spontaneous updates, like my vacations or what I was doing. You might see on some sites that people think it's inappropriate to share more personal information as a way to build a relationship with your audience.
But when I look at them, I find they don't have the audience or results I have from being on social media. I will tell you from experience that it’s relationship that builds businesses.
And it's something that earns you a lifelong community of friends, new customers, referrals, and fans.
So, if you're posting new content into your social media profiles, without giving much thought to your audience, you're actually doing more harm than good. You want to have your sales strategy in place, but don't ignore the personal relationship. That's where your social media updates can really shine.
Some people like knowing about new products and promotions. Some people might think your updates are amusing, inspiring, or motivating. Others might just like you, and they like feeling connected to you. The benefits really do range from very rational, to very abstract and emotional. So make sure you deliver both in your social media updates.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when focusing in on how your updates will benefit your ideal reader:
• Do you want them to feel confident in you and your services or products?
• Trusting in your expertise, like they know you personally?
• Motivated? Inspired?
• Eager to receive more of your useful information?
• So impressed with your updates that they retweet, like and share them with their network?
When I mentor a business owner who is on social media, but not getting the results, it's often the case that they do not post or "publish" their updates on a consistent basis. They post something when they have time, which could mean hourly sometimes, once a day other times, or only once a week if they're really busy.
And it's costing them…
In the professional publishing world, deadlines drive the business. Advertisers count on their ads being launched to the world for the full term of their contracts, and publishers are accountable for making sure their staff produces each issue on time. Your social media profiles are virtual advertising space for your business and any affiliate programs you're part of, and it's crucial that you get your updates out there consistently. So by making consistency a priority when it comes to publishing your updates, you WILL have the advantage over millions of business owners.
The benefits of consistency are two-fold.
For starters, there's the 7-to-10 marketing rule. It's a golden rule that says your prospect has to see or hear your message 7-to-10 times before they'll even take action. People need to get to know you and trust you before they decide to take the next step with you. So, if you're only posting your updates once a week, for example, it's likely that you will wait almost an entire quarter before you start getting traction from it. But, think of how much this window shrinks when you start posting twice a week. It shaves off WEEKS of waiting for new prospects, new customers, and new sales to come in for your business.
So, do not take your posting schedule lightly.
Consistency also builds trust on a very unconscious level for your audience. If your updates pop up from left field at random times throughout the year, people will likely doubt that you're delivering anything of value to them.
Think about it. Would you rather get your news and information from a completely unreliable, "flaky" news source that only reported on things when they could, or would you trust the source that is there for you every hour, day, week, year after year? This again is a subtle, but powerful force that will make your social media profiles successful. It's going back to how your updates make someone FEEL. They feel like you're taking them seriously, yourself seriously, and you're there for them whenever they need you.
Here's the truth: most people won't see your every post. I hesitate to write this because some of you might take it as license to NOT give your social media updates the proper attention on a consistent basis. But, it's true. Some of your audience will see one update, and maybe the next, and some won't them until the week after that when they go to your profile or page. And of course some will devour EVERY update. If you ask me, that's why it's so important to keep your social media updates consistent…making sure that every post is full of that winning combination of strategic and valuable information.
At any point in time, your social media updates could resonate with someone and result in a new referral, a sale, or press.
Every day, there are more and more fun ways to add interactive content that your audience LOVES to your social media updates. You can deliver video messages, audio messages, poll your readers, and more. For some people, speaking on a topic comes much more naturally than writing an article on it, so shooting a video or recording an audio message is an easy alternative that would probably save time.
Think about adding audio or video to your social media updates for just about anything, such as:
• Personal greetings (maybe from your fun trip!)
• Brief interviews with experts
• Special announcements or promotions
• Product recommendations
• Testimonials from clients/customers
• Question and answer
If you prefer to shoot video, use your phone camera or a digital video camera for making short recordings.
A contest is another great way to get people excited and engaged in your social media updates. For one, everyone loves a freebie. And when that free prize is one of your books, e-books, reports, consultations, gift certificates, etc., it's a great way to
spread brand awareness.
For example, you could ask a trivia question related to your business's area of expertise and give free prizes to the first 5 or 10 respondents who post the correct answer to your profile. Then in an update, announce the winning posters' names and tell a bit about them. People love seeing their names posted (just make sure you ask for permission to publish their information).
And here's an extra benefit—you can bet the featured "winning" posters will probably share your updates with their network—they won, and there's their name in print! Not only did you make a reader happy, but they may have just referred several new followers—prospective new clients/customers—to you as well.
These are just a few examples of the ways you can kick your social media updates into high gear and make sure they're holding their own among the competition.
It's also a good idea to keep an eye on your competition. Take a good look at what your favorite social media personalities are up to, as well as updates by people in your industry: what works, what makes you continue to keep them on your Twitter or FaceBook close friends list, and what doesn't work? Add a few social media profiles by leading online marketers to your social media lists (they're usually the ones on top of all the latest trends and shiny, bright new objects).
Remember, your social media presence isn't a one-time only launch. You have time to come up with a formula that works for you. Just commit to providing value, be consistent, get interactive, and adjust as you go.
I'll be honest, it took me some time to really pin down a formula that worked for my social media updates. But once I got it RIGHT, my business was OVERFLOWING. And when I've taught my formula to new and seasoned entrepreneurs, many have enjoyed equally amazing results in a fraction of the time…