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I’d like to think that when Myspace and Facebook were first launched that the majority of users were there for nothing more than the simplistic approach to staying connected with friends. Whether they lived next door or around the world, family members, close friends and even folks we haven’t spoken to since the first grade were reunited with us.
I have two half-sisters who I have yet to meet in real life. They found me on Facebook and although we live at opposite ends of the country, we’re using Facebook to build the relationships that we never had during childhood.
The relationship potential on social media is powerful.
The Dark Plague of Useless Social Media Tactics
You don’t have to look very far to find articles about using social media. Google will provide you with millions of opinions about how to effectively leverage social media for your small business or for you online ventures. Follow ten people on Twitter and you’ll probably have a link to an article by a social media guru about every 10 minutes in your timeline.
Many talk about tactics, how to create titles that get clicked, the best URL shorteners, how to format Google+ posts, what time of day to post on Twitter, and more and more. These strategies are everywhere but I’ve grown tired of seeing them because most don’t resonate with the way I believe effective business should be conducted on social media.
If you listen to the radio or watch television, you’ll notice a common theme that many businesses understand and those on social media don’t. Listen to a commercial about a hospital and you’ll hear them talk about the friendly staff that’s going to make you feel like you’re their only patient. Watch a commercial about your local Ford mechanic and they’ll try to sell you on the caring, passionate staff that wants to help with your car.
Although there’s usually a disconnect between the advertisement and the real-life impact of what they’re advertising, at least they make it obvious that they understand what consumers are looking for and it’s more than just a great product.
It’s good customer service and genuine interaction.
They know that people are drawn to a friendly mechanic who waves and calls you by your first name when you come to the shop. They know that folks want an associate with a big smile to ask them if they need help before they have to chase an associate down.
They know that people are drawn toward friendliness.
Using Social Media as a Friend Among Friends
And yet, in a marketplace named for the relationships and interactions that are supposed to be taking place on it, many are looking at social media as nothing more than another marketing medium. As they do, they struggle to figure out why they can’t find any level of success on these platforms. They push links, promote products and self-promote ad nauseum.
So I propose a new strategy or rather a return to an old, tried and true, strategy. Let’s not advertise about how friendly we are or how personal our communications are.
Let’s get out there and do it.
Let’s interact on social media as a friend among friends.
A Few Tips to Get Your Started
Here’s a few tips that can get you started engaging right now. Pick which platforms you’re active on and put these incredibly simple tasks on your to-do list.
- Scroll through your Twitter stream and personally reply to five tweets in your timeline. Retweet at least one of the tweets you replied.
- Scroll through your Facebook and comment on five of your friends’ posts. Reshare at least one of the posts on which you commented.
- Scroll through your Google Plus circles and comment on at least five posts. Reshare at least one…
- Scroll through your Pinterest…
- Scroll through your Instagram…
Start yourself out with five replies or comments, and as you become more connected with others, you’ll find yourself naturally climbing in the number of comments and replies you post each day.
I’m sure that you get the idea that I’m hinting at here. Instead of pushing links, promoting yourself at every turn, take time to engage, create conversations, and connect with folks around you.