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Remember That Social Media Is Just Networking Online

social networkingSocial media as being networking online was an “Ah ha!” moment for a client recently.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in channels, tools, strategies and analytics and forget that, at it’s heart, social media is about building relationships online.

Your focus might be interacting with customers, both happy ones and ones who need issues addressed. That’s relationship building. Your focus might be attracting new clients. That’s still relationship building. We don’t do business with people unless we know, like and trust them. Are you selling a product online, whether widget, craft item or book? We still need to have faith that we’ll be buying something quality. Even someone purchasing a $2.99 e-book wants to feel confident that they are getting their money’s worth. A relationship, even a superficial one, with the author can give that level of confidence.

Let me speak to authors for a moment. Many authors are told (wrongly) that the best way to sell books is to tweet links constantly. It’s wrong because:

  1. It’s annoying
  2. You haven’t given us a reason to care.

Address both of those issues, and we’ll be lots more likely to buy when that (occasional) tweet crosses our path.

One more point to authors, which can also apply to any business owner. Your customers and potential customers do pay attention to what you say online and in other forums. The more famous you are, the more people pay attention. During the whole “Publishers vs Amazon” dust-up last year, readers were paying attention to who was signing the Authors United letter and who wasn’t. I know many readers who quietly moved signing authors to a “Never buy” list.

Nothing happens online in a vacuum. If you develop a reputation of being a kind, helpful, well-connected, valued resource, you will get business. On the other hand, if you develop a reputation as a back-biting, opinionated jerk, you’re much less likely to get business.

Kind of just like in “real life,” eh? Do you give your business to the helpful CPA you met at a networking event or the one who acted like a jerk and insulted everyone? It’s the same with people who “meet” you online.

Build good relationships in every part of your life, both in-person and virtual, and business, job offers and goodwill will come. Build bad relationships, and, well, let’s just not go there, shall we?

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  • Michelle W

    Great reminder here! I much prefer to read Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of people who give some content or share posts that are not all selling their product or service. Same with meeting people in person. If the only thing the person can talk about is selling their product or service, I don’t want to network with them.

    • Juli Monroe

      @Michelle, few thing annoy me more than a constant bombardment of ads on a page or feed. I’m writing a post next week on the mindset to use while on social media. You might like that one too.