Let’s face it. Barring any sudden zombie apocalypse, social media is here to stay. It has earned a solid place in our cultural and digital world – a ubiquitous personal branding tool that will work wonders for anyone willing to work it and work it hard.
If you want to enjoy the thrill of rising to the top of your professional game and banking any amount of appreciable cash, you’ve got to work it, baby. Work your social media engagement strategy like a pole dancer works her audience.
Well, maybe not exactly like a stripper works her crowd, but you know what I mean. You’ve got to take social media seriously and capture the attention of your fans and followers in a way that makes them remember you and your business brand. Apathetic or pushy social media strategies will make your business an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ statistic. Read this post by Murray Newlands about creating a memorable presence for your brand rather than just standing out.
Personal Engagement – shake it like a saltshaker
- Only participate in what you can handle – Don’t succumb to the temptation to participate in every new social media platform that pops up on the virtual radar. Especially at first, start out with just one or two. As you begin building your follower base and form an idea of what real engagement feels like, you can add a couple more, time permitting.
- Spring for your own domain name – Using free domains with a mega-platform anchored in your site address makes you look, well, like an amateur. Perhaps the term, amateur, fits your experience and knowledge – technically speaking. But you want to give the impression of expert talent, experience, and knowledge from the moment you hit that hardwood stage floor, full stop.
- Let your followers in on the scoop – They want to know more about you – your story, your brand and how it can work for them. They want to connect, to learn new things, to find solutions to issues they face. Whether you lay tracks in a music studio, write young adult fiction, or perform life-saving surgeries – your audience primarily wants those three things. Give it to them.
- Bare all – All right, simmer down now. I don’t mean you should lay your deepest personal thoughts and ponderings out there. Remember Senator Weiner of the unfortunate surname and tweets? They don’t care that you’re still hung up on your ex (who’s moved on with the hottie down the street), or that you’ve just experienced some sort of existential epiphany in a dream with the great Greek thinkers. They do want to participate in the story of your business success by taking the great things you have to offer and passing their positive experiences on to others. They want to feel important – and they are. Show them their vital importance by allowing them to participate in your business success.
- Work it with face time – You can automate certain types of social media posts and messages, but you absolutely must show your face – not some intern’s, but yours – every single day. In my opinion, the best way to fully engage with your audience requires you do so several times a day each day.
Create a schedule that includes three or four different times a day where you’ll fully engage with your followers for about 20 minutes each time. I use a timer, so that I don’t fall into a time management trap. My good friend and amazing rockstar journalist, James S. Robbins, always warns me against flouting my deadlines by fooling around too long on social media.
Grandma spoke the truth when she said, “Nothing worth having, comes easy honey.” You’ve got to work that social media like a pro (dancer) – at first. Once you’ve built a following and formed a mutually beneficial connection with them, you’ll think of your social media engagement times as your fun time – those little breaks from your direct income-producing work activities.
Image: dreamstime dot com, sub no. 751367