Larry said it best – Give and Take

Yesterday I ran across an article on twitter that inspired this blog today.  It was written by Larry Anderson of Trigger Strategies, entitled Social Media is all about give and take.

He is so right!

Please take a moment to read Larry’s article so I’m not repeating all that he said. But for those that don’t – the idea is that conversations must take place regardless of the platform. You wouldn’t pick up a phone to talk to someone if they were not going to reply back to you, would you?

So why would you want to talk to yourself on your social media sites? Engagement is the key to a successful site. Information going out, information coming in. I have been telling my clients this for months. If you look at your business page and all you see is you, you, you, you – that needs to change! One way or another you need to get people to talk back to you.  And that…. is easier said than done sometimes.  My own page for YDV looks like that.

In my case I don’t worry about it too much as my articles are re-posted around facebook and twitter frequently and commented upon in other places. At least they are being shared.  For many others however, I’m sure they wonder why they bother? “I’m talking to myself’ here. Is anyone listening?”

What can you do? Ask questions instead of making statements. Put interesting stories and articles on your page that simply require that people comment – they don’t necessarily have to relate to your business – show that you are a person, not just a business. For example: if you are having a meeting with one of your customers, is the whole conversation about business? Probably not. At some point there is a golf story told, or a funny story about one of your kids, your last vacation – even the weather!  So why not humanize your fanpage as well! After all there is a person behind the business and your customers want to know that person.

Another thing you can do is encourage your fans to post on your wall an experience in your store, or about one of your products – testimonials in a way, but more of a conversation started. Get in the habit of asking your customers if they’re on facebook and then ask them to comment. Most are only too willing. Why? Because as an individual they too usually feel they are doing all the ‘taking’ and not the ‘giving’. In years gone by you learned to ask your customers how they found you, or which ad brought them to your store – this is no different – just a different kind of conditioning on your part!

In my case, I understand this problem. I actually created a new fanpage called Connecting Niagara Daily to encourage businesses to post information and allow me to direct posts back to their pages to create conversations. The page has only been live for less than a month, but even I had my eyes opened a bit. This page was specifically created to help local business share information to “Connect Niagara”, but guess what – it’s like pulling teeth to get local businesses to post on the site.  Is it time? Is it the businesses do not give enough to the ‘power of persuasion’ on social media? I’m not sure.   The site has news, events and information. The event calendar is open to residents to post their happenings, yet if I don’t add the events, few submit their event. I can’t believe there are so many businesses out their unwilling to participate in what is considered ‘free marketing’ for their business?  Sorry – bit of a rant there.

Anyway, I do realize that not everyone has the time to sit on facebook all day to market their business. Me on the other hand, I get paid to be on facebook and twitter by my clients so I’m here all the time. Maybe a few more businesses should consider this. Ask my clients – its working for them.

Ok – before I get into the sales pitch I better close for the day and in so doing, I’ll sum it up with Larry’s words from his article:

“So when you’re ready to dive into social media remember that you can’t just be a taker and you can’t just be a giver.  You need to be a person – be yourself and join the conversation.” 

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