If you have an amazing product or service, which has the potential to greatly improve the lives of your ideal clients, then it's only natural that you'll want to talk about it in your social media posts with great enthusiasm.
Every moment your ideal clients don’t have access to your product or service is another moment they unnecessarily suffer from whatever problem or challenge they have. Or perhaps they're missing out on ways to take their lives or businesses to the next level to enjoy more success and happiness.
I get it, you're passionate about what you do, and you want to share it with those who need it the most - but in your enthusiasm, you might accidentally be coming across as a social media spammer.
How, when, what and with whom you share on social media matters. If you don’t approach your social sharing the right way, then your messages might be perceived, and labeled as, spam, and ignored by the very people that you're trying to help.
In this post, I'll share three key tips on how to conduct yourself on social media so that you don't come across as a spammer, and are instead seen as a professional, trustworthy authority on your topic.
1. Did I make it about me?
The first question you always need to ask yourself before posting on social media or sending out a message is “Did I make it about myself or my ideal clients?”
If it isn’t about your ideal clients, do NOT hit the post button.
Your target customers generally don’t care about you or your business, but they do very much care about their own problems and/or challenges. Remember that everything they see or hear goes through their WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) filter. If they don’t care about it, they’ll see it as spam - and in business, it’s their perception of spam that matters, not yours.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can never talk about yourself, but what it does mean is that everything you post, every message you send, must be viewed through that 'WIIFM' filter. Always remember your ideal clients are the stars of the show.
When you do share about yourself or your company, make it clear why your prospects should care about it and how it benefits them. For example, customers prefer to work with experts and will often pay more for their work. You can share your expertise, in order to establish your authority on your topic, and increase trust among your audience.
For example, if I wanted to share this blog post on social media, I may caption it with something like this:
"Each week I share status updates on LinkedIn that get thousands of views and hundreds of people engaging with them. In this post, I'll show you how to get this kind of engagement, without using tactics that make you look desperate or foolish."
As you can see, I demonstrate my expertise, while also telling my audience why it's relevant to them, and how they will benefit from it.
While you can occasionally share information about yourself or your company, the majority of the time it needs to be about your ideal clients - their desires, hopes, fears and challenges.
When posting on social media, keep these three questions in mind:
Does this solve one key problem or challenge of my ideal clients?
If your newsfeeds are anything like mine, they are littered with noise. Do you quickly scroll past posts from people and businesses that don’t immediately catch your attention?
And what's most likely to catch your attention? Something that directly addresses a problem or desire you have.
Where possible, ensure that you share content which solves a problem or challenge that your ideal clients face. These are tied to the fears or dreams that are top of mind for them.
When you focus the content you share on these hot topics, you'll get more of your prospects’ time and attention, and avoid being labeled as a spammer.
Is it relevant to them specifically?
Have you ever been tagged in a post that had nothing to do with you, or anything you are even interested in? Annoying, isn’t it?
Never tag people in a post that doesn't directly relate to them. This is, most definitely, spam.
It's right up there with posts that have too many, or irrelevant hashtags. They provide no benefit, look spammy and make it harder for people to be interested in what it is you have to say.
Is it easily consumed by them?
If your preferred content is videos, and not blog posts, but a company you're interested in shares only blog posts, how long will you follow it on social media?
We all have a preference for consuming content. Find out what content formats your ideal clients prefer, whether that be blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc. Then, of course, share plenty of content in those formats.
2. Did they ask for it?
How annoying do you find it when the first communication you receive from a person you've just followed or connected to is their sales pitch? Yet so many professionals and businesses do this.
I cannot stress enough the importance of asking permission to market. Your ideal clients will often treat anything they didn’t ask for or agree to as spam, which is why even messages with links or attachments to valuable content you send to your ideal clients could be seen as spam by them.
To avoid this, first work to establish some level of rapport with your clients. Begin by having a conversation with them, and about them. Find out what's important to them, and identify any commonalities you share.
Once you've built some rapport, you can ask them for permission to share a helpful piece of content with them.
When querying them on this, make sure you also share some interesting facts, stats or quotes from the content that you think they'll find particularly compelling. Then you can ask them if they'd like for you to send them the link or document.
When they say yes, you’ll know that they're interested in your offering, and they'll be more likely to actually consume the content, appreciating that you respected their time and attention.
Change the conversation
Essentially, you have to change your approach and mindset on social media from “What can I sell you?” to “How can I help you?”
“What can I sell you?” says:
- I care about your money
- What else can I sell you?
- Thank you for your business
“How can I help you?” says:
- I care about you and your business
- How else can I add value?
- Thank you for helping us do business better
Which type of conversation do you think is less likely to be perceived as spammy, and ultimately lead to more engagement and foster relationships?
3. Am I engaging in conversations?
Have you ever left a question or comment on a social media post from a business and never got any reply or acknowledgment? How did that feel?
It’s annoying when you hope to have a conversation with a person or business, and they can’t be bothered to engage with you. Think about it this way, would you ever go up to someone at a networking event and say “Hi, nice to meet you. Now buy my stuff!”?
Of course, you wouldn’t. So don’t do it on social media platforms. That is spam.
If you don’t want to be seen as a social media spammer, engage with your ideal clients when they ask questions or leave comments on your posts.
People want to be seen, they want to be acknowledged. Your response can often be as simple as clicking the like button, or leaving a quick thanks.
Instead of blasting your ideal clients with sales information, post with the intention of generating more engagement from them. If you aren’t getting engagement, you aren’t having conversations, and if you aren’t having conversations, you're not building relationships and establishing trust. And that means you're very likely not generating clients and sales.
Remember, people buy from people they know, like and trust.
4. Ask yourself “Would I consider this spam?”
Finally, the best way to ensure that you don't become a social media spammer is to always ask yourself “Would I consider this spam if I received it?’
If you would personally find such annoying or irrelevant, chances are that your ideal clients will feel the same way.
By approaching social media the right way, you'll be able to build a community comprised of your ideal clients. These clients will be interested in what you share, and will want to know more about how your solution can solve their problems or fulfill their desires.
Ultimately, this really comes down to common sense. No doubt you use social media in your free time, so you know how you feel about the various types marketing messages you see. Consider why you follow brands on social, what you expect, or appreciate from them, and how you would like to be communicated with.
Take a step back from your own messaging, and consider how your audience is seeing your brand.
A version of this post was first published on the Top Dog Social Media blog.