Guest Post by Sarah Arrow.
I meet quite a few people who are passionate about social media marketing. The chances are if you are reading this post, then you are too. If I meet them through offline networking I’ve noticed that there’s a tendency to look down on someone who blogs…
I’ll share with you a typical example of the conversation:
Them “I just love social media, it’s my life.. my passion, I think every business should use it”
Me “That’s great, I love social media too. Which site do you prefer?”
Them “All of them, Facebook, Twitter you name it and I’m there.”
Me “wow, and all your customers are on those sites too?”
Them: Blank look.
Me “Which site sends you the most traffic then, which one really works for you?”
Them “Traffic? it’s not about the traffic it’s about the relationships.” spat out in a condescending manner.
Me: “Yes it is, but those relationships are you measuring them solely on the platform the conversation is taking place?”
Them: “I don’t know what you mean?”
Me: “Relationships are not just conversations, they start with reading, They read your update and they make a call as to whether they should respond, share or ignore. So what are you sharing with the people you are having relationships with?”
Them: “Content of course!”
Me: “your own content or other peoples” worried that this is starting to sound like an interrogation now…
Them: “Other peoples of course. I don’t have time to create my own stuff, and I don’t need to as I use social media properly.”
Me: “Do you remember the social media world before Twitter and Facebook?”
Them: Blank look
Me “There was blogging, creating useful, funny and shareable articles and then sparking conversations with your own content. Have you tried it?”
Them: “No, blogging doesn’t work in social media it’s all about the relationships…”
ME: “How do you measure these relationships?”
Them: “By followers. I’m really popular. Everyone loves me I have 2,000 followers”
Me: “okay nice to meet you. Thanks. Bye.”
No matter what form of social media you use to market your business, you need a home base. Somewhere that is owned by you, filled with your thoughts, your dreams and your aspirations. Somewhere that a follower on social media can connect with you and take that relationship one step further – they can follow your blog, grab the feed, subscribe, leave a comment longer than 140 characters – anything can happen to take an online friend to the next level, but only if you have a home base.
Relationships are not measured just by conversations, but also by commitments. Can you remember back when you first started dating, and you fell head over heels in love with the wrong person? You were convinced they were the one, you’d walk over hot coals for them but they would just brush you off. They wouldn’t make a commitment because in their heart they knew things were not meant to be. Sure, they’d still talk to you and be pleasant but make a commitment like meeting you parents? Heck no, that was never going to happen.
And a lot of social media conversations are like that, polite interaction that isn’t going anywhere. And you have to learn to recognize conversation and small talk for what it truly is. The only way to know when the small talk is going to become more meaningful is to have a home base where they can check you out and decide to commit.
For me, that’s my blog.
For the members of the B3 community it’s also their blog. It’s where we go to have deeper conversations and further our social relationships. Blogging is an integral part of social media, it’s where you demonstrate your expertise, and it’s where your fans and followers make a commitment to getting to know you better.
I don’t think it’s an either/or situation, I believe you need both to make a success with your conversations and your relationships.
Bringing people into the conversations
I’ve also noticed that communities on social media platforms like Facebook and Google Plus are starting to ban sharing links in the groups. In my Free Kindle Book club we only allow Amazon links, and one share per free book. And even that rule is abused on an almost daily basis.
Group owners want conversations to take place, and they’ve recognized that if they don’t do something, then it becomes a spam-fest, but what about the other participants in the group? I’ve found that other participants don’t think they are wrong when they drop random links with no explanation. Yesterday someone quit our group as (supposedly) we were making it too hard for Indie Authors to succeed. And that leads me nicely into my main point – all of these relationships start with the reader.
These “spammers” are also the people that will say social media doesn’t work.
I believe that sites like Twitter and Facebook have left people in a position where they don’t communicate in a meaningful way any more, and the best that some people can do is drop a link and then run. Some can be educated, but most of them can’t or don’t want to participate in a conversation that can go deeper than small talk. They’ve forgotten not only how to talk, but who their ideal reader is and how to find them.
For some people, it’s the lack of confidence and the fear of being judged over their writing or grammar that prevents them from participating. It’s the aggressiveness of others to quickly find fault that stops them from using their voice.
For others it’s the not knowing where to start and they are sick of reading but don’t know how to cut into the conversation or say excuse me and be heard.
So it’s up to us as bloggers to make a difference:
We need to use our blogs to educate people. Not to make them feel small or make ourselves feel superior (easier said than done at times), but to bring them back into the fold, to show them that these conversations are worth having. That you can use social media and your blog to make a connection, that a conversation isn’t just about the words you speak, but the value you bring, and of course that we know that we are all flawed human beings that make typos and forget to run spellcheck from time to time, that we drop a link into a conversation because we want to help but can’t find the right words to say that.
So will you join me in blending the two together so that those that don’t know how can read your comments and get better at it? That blogging is not seen as the awkward older step-child but a bridge between conversations?