We all know the pressures of the first moments we jumped online and signed up for our first social media profile accounts. I can remember signing up for Twitter in 2009 and thinking how silly it was to be tweeting into what seemed like thin air. I think my first tweet read something like "hello, is anybody out there?"
It happens to all of us. We jump on the social networks and are quickly humbled. We may have a few followers, if we're lucky. The promises of social media community, friends, likes, followers, tweets and retweets seem like a mirage.
For the smart business leaders it doesn't take long to realize (or be reminded) that there is much more to social media than a Facebook page, Twitter handle or a bunch of followers. Seeing results using social media requires much more including a plan with goals, objectives and most importantly a deep understanding of your target audience, their needs and a plan for how you can provide for them.
It's What Happens After the Facebook Like that Matters Most!
What happens shortly after signing up and jumping in heads first to social media can make or break your results. Will you jump in with a goal of helping your audience solve problems, or will you fall victim to the Facebook edge rank and let your online actions be controlled by such algorithms?
Did you know that approximately 98% of people who sign up for a Facebook business page never visit that page again? This combined with the fact it takes at minimum 4-5 brand impressions before making a lasting impression in someone who experiences your brand makes it extremely important you are focused on more than getting Facebook likes.
We get many calls from potential clients who fill out our web contact forms asking (or begging) us to help them get more Facebook likes. This is usually a first red flag. The second red flag is often the fact they want to have all of their social media problems solved in the next 30 days. Sorry folks, not going to happen. Seeing results with social media takes time.
Focusing on what happens after the like is just as important as getting the like in the first place. Read this article that I wrote almost three years ago, yet still relevant today -> What Happens After the Facebook Like - 20 Tips To Engage Your Audience After the Like
Seeing Some Results, The Next Big Challenge
So let's skip to the part where you are starting to get some traction in building your community. You may have friends and family liking your pages, following you on Twitter and even joining your group on LinkedIn. If you have developed a plan with goals and objectives hopefully you are seeing more than just friends and family joining your community. Hopefully you are organically attracting people who want to learn and grow from the information you provide.
The true challenge comes in at this stage. How are you going to treat your new online friends, followers, fans and community members? Are you focused on their goals or your own?
How do you balance the need to keep your community growing with the need to service your existing audience? The answer to this question is simple my friends. Serve your community the best possible content you can that helps them meet their goals. Focus on being as relevant as possible, nurturing real relationships and providing value at ever corner.
If you focus on inspiring your audiences to connect with you with a goal of helping them achieve their objectives, you then achieve your goals by default. The likes, follows and contacts in your social communities are people. They are not just avatars. They are people who get up tired every day just like you do. They get hungry, happy, sad, mad and everything in between.
They may come to Facebook or Twitter during a ten minute break during an all day, stressful meeting. Serve them up something useful, something that inspires them to keep going, to do better, learn more and not quit!
Are You Building an Empire or a Social Media Community?
2. Do you drive your community crazy asking for likes, follows and tweets?
3. Are you auto tweeting numerous time a day, every day the same tweets over and over asking people to join your Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn communities?
4. Do you treat your community like likes, follows, pinners, LinkedIn contacts or human beings?
5. Are you listening to what your community is telling you? Are you picking up on the vibes, good or bad?
6. Do you care what your community has to say? If they are offering you subtle or blunt feedback are you listening, showing that you care, changing your ways or do you write them off as a troll or hater?
7. Do you know the people in your community? Who are they? What are their demographics? When is the last time you looked at your Facebook insights to learn more about them, what content is most engaging to them? Read-> Social Media for Business, You Must Know Your Audience!
8. Do you know what goals your community has? What problems do they have? How can you help them solve their problems? Are you offering real value to their life or business? Download this worksheet to help prioritize and analyze your audience needs-> Social Media Audience Analysis Worksheet
9. Do you talk about you, you and more you? Or do you talk about things that are of interest to your community? Check out this article-> 50 Tips to Inspire & Engage Your Social Media Communities & Audiences
10. Do you share other people's content or only your own? Is your top goal with your Facebook page to get more blog traffic? If yes, your fans can likely spot your behavior from a mile away. You are not tricking anyone except yourself and a few new fans who will eventually learn your tricks.
11. Are you inspiring actions for your social community to take that provide value to them or actions focused only on helping you optimize your social search, edgerank and Klout or other influence score?
12. Why do you do what you do each and every day on the social networks? Ask yourself this question. The answer to the question of "are you building an empire or nurturing a community" can be found in your WHY. Only you can answer such a question with accuracy.
Empires vs Community.
If you have read this entire post you are likely getting my point by now. If your social media actions are all about you, you and more you, then you are building an empire, not a community.
If you are not providing value to your audience then shame on you. It's time you take off your crown and realize your social networks are not all about you. They should be focused on the human beings within your community.
I challenge you to take a hard, deep look at your social network profiles and postings. Are you truly adding value? Would you want to read your posts? Would you want to engage, like, comment, tell your friends about you and your community? If the answer to this question is no or probably not, then I suggest you go back to the drawing board on your social media strategy, plan, priorities, tactics and content.
It's never too late to start providing real value to your community. Starting today is better than starting tomorrow, next week or never!
You can never go wrong by investing in nurturing relationships, communities and the real human beings that are within them.
What Say You?
What are your thoughts? Did this article hit home for you? Have you been nurturing a community or building a self serving empire? What tips do you have for others to provide value, to nurture relationships?