We here at Intelligent Designs Media know about “the trap” social media can spring. Social media is “free,” anyone can join, and if you are running a business, you can gain followers pretty quickly. Which is why when we talk to a lot of businesses, they usually “know everything” about social media already.
However, 95% of the companies we have spoken to only engage in the first step of successful social media marketing: building a network.
A network, in social media terms, is only a number. It is a giant net you have cast out in the sea of social media. Which, to a lot of businesses, is all they think they need to run a successful social media campaign. But in reality, the number of fish you have in your sea doesn’t really mean anything until you have caught them.
When I was younger, a lot younger, I started @games4gamerz. A little project I created to connect video gamers to video games they needed. It still exists, and still has about 1,500 followers. All followers that I gained through automated sources and non-targeted research models. But I had 1,500 followers, right? And for all that hard work and effort, I got absolutely nowhere. Why? Because I focused too much on building a “network,” and not enough on engagement and influence.
Check out the Klout score for that name:
And the reason I share that embarrassing moment in my life is to show that no matter how many people “follow” you, the only factor that will mean anything to your business is the number of “influenced followers” you have. And by influenced followers, I mean the number of people who actually feel that what you share in social media is relevant, interesting, and worth their time. And the first step to accomplishing this is to stop thinking like a business!
In social media, your business is a member of a community. A community that will listen to you only if you have built up enough trust to convince them that you know what you are talking about. If you don’t have trust, you don’t have influence. Simple as that.
And the only way to build influence as a business is to step off the pedestal, engage as much as you can, and offer solutions to problems you recognize. Do this enough, and people will begin to see you as someone they can count on for a specific need In other words, your business will finally become a business on social media.
In social media, building your business starts by building a network, but your aim is to build a community of people you influence. And the only way to build that is by engaging with the members of social media. Work hard and engage with others in social media and the center of the bullseye, your influence, will begin to grow. Work with a purpose for long enough, and eventually that bullseye will look more like a circle. Where it will be nearly impossible to tell the difference between your network and your influenced network.
Then, you will be in business.