I think this is the action that small business are guilty of violating simply because time is money - and if you aren't making it, you are wasting your time. This mentality of squeezing sales out of social media will actually be the reason why you are not doing well in your social media efforts.
If you are always thinking about making a sale to your audience ironically, you wont, because they will smell it from a mile away. Think of the social media landscape as a networking function - good networkers will tell you never to sell immediately and people want to know that you are interested in them and want to help them before they will open their wallets to you. Good networkers also know that sometimes they need to help the potential client get something of value before they can consider pitching their product. I find these people on linkedIn all the time. They respond to my connection request with a "Hey, what can I do to help you?", this gives me a warm and fuzzy and I'm inclined to be more open to what they are saying. If you help enough those people, they will be curious as to what you actually do and feel like they need to give back to you in some way - this is the perfect moment to strike :).
Also a lot of sales made via social media is not actually tracked because most people do research online and then buy offline or call. However they are interested in you because you had a few great testimonials from customers online (not on your site) either via Facebook comments, tweets or blogs.
Remember to always give much more than you take, and the rewards will come, no one wants to do business with the self-promoter that is only interested in themselves.
I will now get off my high horse and share with you how challenging these 3 simple steps really are - they will be challenging for you, especially fitting them into your busy schedule, and the sales and benefits may not come for a little while and it'll take some time to build up. But I'm a firm believer in that if you are not doing this and taking part in social media already, you will be one step behind in the future.
1. Give and receive in the ratio of 6:1
When I was working in Johnson and Johnson we went through a huge radical change management because we had just acquired Pfizer Australia which had a huge culture impact since both companies were managed very differently. The one concept that stood out to me through all our personal development sessions was that for any one person you should give them 6 positive interactions before a negative one is made.
Each positive interaction was considered a cup of water in their "bucket" and each negative one was considered scooping out one. The aim is to ensure that there is water in that person's bucket at all times if you wanted to keep a positive relationship with them.
Make sure that you spend time filling the buckets of everyone you encounter and you will be rewarded with lots of buckets to take water from :)
2. Be responsive
There is no bigger slap in the face then trying to interact with someone that does not respond to your attempts to communicate. If you are involved in social media make sure you take some time or set up alerts to ensure that you respond to any comments, tweets or messages.
If you take it one step further thank your audience for taking the time to share or respond to you. If you cannot think of a reply straight away it's always good courtesy to let them know you will get back to them within a certain timeframe.
3. Don't stay in your house
We all know it's hard to make friends when you stay at home all day. If you don't have any existing friends to visit you, it is hard to expect someone off the street to come into your house to make friends with you. You need to get out there, walk the neighbourhood, visit the local fairs and go to other people's houses with a welcoming gift.
I think this is a good analogy for how to make friends and forge relationships on social media. It's very hard to get followers and fans if all you do is set up your own accounts and then expect people to flock to you. You need to get out there to other people's pages, comment and like other people's content. That's the only way to get your face in front of people and have people want to come over.
I hope these 3 tips help you, if you have any further questions about social media feel free to ask a question here on SavvySME :)
To get cracking on your social media, don't forget to join our January blog challenge by simply blogging. To create a new blog post simple use this create new article link when you are logged in.