Even though states across the country are reopening, the COVID-19 pandemic is still a reality, leading to more screen time and more time spent on social media.
My business, Smart Passive Income, has certainly seen an increase in followers and engagement across the board since the pandemic started. I think it draws from the fact that people are yearning for connection and community right now, and if they can’t find it in person, then they’re going to find it online.
Now, if you’re thinking to yourself, “No, I have not seen any increase in my followers or engagement,” there’s probably a reason for that. There are three primary social media mistakes I see business owners, companies, and brands make every day. In addition to outlining the three mistakes, I’ll share a real life example of how you can reverse course and fix the mistake.
You’re trying to be interesting when you should be interested
Let’s remember why social media was started in the first place — connection. If there’s one thing to take away from this article, it’s that you need to take the “Me” out of your social media if you’re ever going to achieve long term growth and success.
One of my favorite quotes is from James Schramko, founder of SuperFastBusiness: “You have to try and stop being so interesting and start getting interested in what other people are doing.”
Instead of just posting your own company announcements, promotions and events, your primary focus when it comes to social media should be discovering what other people in your network are up to. If you don’t show any interest in what your community is doing, why should they care about your next product launch, book release or sales promotion?
A great example of how “being interested” pays off in your social media game is Nicole Walters, CEO of NapNic LLC. When Nicole and I were first introduced by a mutual friend, she immediately began asking me questions. Nicole wanted to know what I was up to, rather than sharing what she herself was doing. She even shared my book with her social media audience completely unprompted. It’s no secret why Nicole has such a loyal social media following and just landed her own TV show on the USA Network.
You haven’t earned the right to share your content
Have you earned the right to share your stuff with your community? This is the first thing I’ll ask if someone comes to me saying their announcement or launch is not performing well on social media. More specifically: Do you engage with your followers by replying to their comments or direct messaging them? Do you provide value to your audience without asking for something in return?
If you go into a Facebook group you’ve never engaged with before and try to promote something you’re working on, it’s not going to work out well. You’ll be relegated to spam, ignored, or even kicked out of the group. You need to earn the group’s trust first by providing value.
My friend Bryan Harris started his business, Videofruit, by actively engaging in a Facebook group about business. Starting out, Bryan was trying to get word out about his skills in creating informational videos to sell products. On a regular basis Bryan went into the group to teach people what he was learning and share the data he was collecting, while never asking for anything in return. The community was so grateful for the ongoing value Bryan offered, that when it did come time to promote something of his own it was a huge success. He was able to pre launch and validate a product idea, gaining 30-40 new customers from this one Facebook group in the process.
You’re trying to be everywhere
You can’t be everywhere when it comes to social media, and if you’re trying to be, I guarantee you’re not delivering 100% on each platform. Most of us are not Gary Vaynerchuk and can’t staff a 20 person social media team. Especially if you’re a smaller business, you’re lucky to have 1-2 team members working on your social media platforms.
It’s much better to choose a platform that best accentuates your personality and skills, and prioritize that one platform. For instance, if you’re really good at photography and storytelling, then perhaps Instagram is the best platform for you.
Especially when you’re just starting out or trying to grow an audience, you need to show up for your people. That means picking a lane and staying in it. Instead of JOMO (joy of missing out) I tell my community to subscribe to the JOOO model (joy of opting out) when it comes to social media. For example, choose to opt out of TikTok to focus on the audience you’re building on Instagram. There’s no need to make ten social media accounts on ten different platforms to be more widely visible. You’ll get more meaningful results by putting in time and effort with just one.
Take time to be there for your community
Showing up for your followers, even if you can’t do it for everyone, is the most important thing. As your follower count continues to grow there is no feasible way to reply to every single comment, but that doesn’t mean that you should respond to none of them. Your followers need to know there’s a real human controlling the account.
Before you say “I don’t have time,” let me stop you. There is always time to engage with your community on social media, no matter how big your company grows. You just need to proactively carve out time in your week. Here’s what I do: Every Friday I have a 30 minute block of time dedicated to engaging with my community. I use that 30 minutes every week to a) get outside and walk my dog and b) send a direct message to a few of my Instagram followers. I like to shoot a quick video saying hi and thanking them for being part of my community. These simple videos get a 99% response rate. People are absolutely blown away that I take the time to reach out. And it’s only 30 minutes of my entire week.
Show up, engage, and listen. Don’t talk about yourself. Take the “me” out of social media, and while you’re at it, put the “social” part back in.
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