It took every ounce of energy (and a short, silent prayer) not to roll my eyes and walk away. When people lead a conversation about social media with the number of followers they have, it’s clear they don’t get it. Unless, of course, their goal is to create an inflated sense of self.
But let’s face it… Whether you’re new to social media or you’ve been at it for a while, it’s hard to not to be distracted by the numbers:
- # of followers
- # of likes
- # of “friends”
- # of subscribers
- # of comments
Your ego is lured into thinking that the higher your numbers, the greater your success — “People like me!” It’s all well and good to have thousands of “fans,” but in my experience the true measure of social media success shows up in my Balance Sheet and P&L statements.
Yes. At the end of the day, I’m a business owner and like the CEO of any major Fortune 100 company, I care about the bottom line. You should too.
I know… Social media is fun. Social media is cool. Everyone is doing it. But unless social media is driving the metrics that truly matter in your business, then social media is also a complete waste of your time.
This isn’t to say those numbers don’t matter at all. If you’re like me and follow Bob Burg’s Go-Giver approach then you know that “your compensation is directly proportional to how many lives you touch.” This implies that quantity does indeed matter. But the key to Burg’s philosophy is touch, which is more than assembling a legion of names and avatars to your follower lists.
Touching lives is about adding value to their existence. It’s about being attuned to their needs, rather than just your own. It’s about engaging and influencing others in a positive way.
Use social media to touch lives and your bottom line will naturally grow.
So today, instead of focusing on how many new followers, likes, friends, subscribers and comments you can squeeze out of your social media efforts, see how many lives you can touch. Here are three ways to get started:
Provide valuable content
If social media were a race car, content would be the engine. From a 140-character tweet to a 500-word blog post, you’re a content creator. Take the job seriously. Thoughtless social content is like getting the windshield of your car pinged by a cigarette butt someone carelessly tosses out their window. It’s annoying. Create quality, valuable content that touches the lives of your target audience.
This starts by getting into the head of your ideal client and developing content that connects to their unique needs, wants, desires and goals. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Use social media to share content that benefits others and you will benefit as well.
Generosity has taken a big hit in today’s “down economy.” (Stated in quotations because despite the reality of many people’s financial struggles, it’s negative perception that feeds the struggle. But, I digress…) Instead of giving, people are hoarding: money, clients, referrals, information, etc. But this reveals insecurity and fear, which isn’t all that good for attracting new clients.
Yet, it doesn’t cost much to be generous on social media. Retweet a link to a blog post you think might be useful to your target audience. Offer an unsolicited LinkedIn testimonial to a professional connection you value. Add a thoughtful comment to a someone’s Facebook page. Link out to someone else’s website from yours. Although you shouldn’t give with an expectation of return, it’s nice to know that genuine generosity often leads to people wanting to return the favor.
Think beyond the first sale
Yesterday, I sat in on an Authority Rules webinar hosted by Brian Clark and Sonia Simone. In it, the idea of nurturing your “second customer” came up. According to Sonia, your second customer may not buy from you but will share and spread the word on you. If you’re too focused on making a sale to your first customer, you won’t even notice your second customers and they’re pretty valuable folks!
Your second customers are brand advocates who amplify your content across the social Web. When you’re creating content think about your ideal clients first, but also keep in mind how you can make your content sharable for your second customers. For example: Add social sharing icons to blog posts; post succinct, clear tweets that are easily re-tweetable; and by all means create quality content worthy of sharing.
I’m sure there are more ways to touch lives with social media. Are you willing to share?
image credit: ©Barry Sherbeck via Fotolia.com