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The Real Purpose Behind Social Media

| Flourish Monthly

Do you ever feel like social media is a big waste of time? That all you do is post and scroll and never really get anything out of it? If you’re like most small business owners, you signed up for Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to promote your business and connect with customers. But are you using them the right way? Sure, you can use it to post about your business and keep in touch with customers, but that’s not its real purpose. Let me teach you how to use social media the correct way. And yes, I mean that; There IS a correct way!

Now, you’re probably thinking that you do know how to use social media correctly. You log on, maybe post a photo of your dog or a beautiful sunset, then you catch up with the rest of your friends and family and their dog photos. From a consumer perspective, that definitely is the right way! And that’s actually what social media was created to do: build relationships. Imagine this: You log on to Facebook, scroll through the newsfeed for a couple of minutes, and up comes a post from a company. Obviously it’s no big deal, but they’re selling their product, so it’s not interesting to you. You roll your eyes and scroll on. A few minutes later, you see another post from the same company and they’re trying to sell to you again. Aren’t you going to be annoyed with this company? They’re doing the opposite of what they should be doing: selling first, relationship building second.

Think about it this way: when you meet someone in real life, you don’t just walk up to them and say “Hello, nice to meet you. I would love your money please. Buy my product!” That would be very off putting to the stranger and they probably wouldn’t ever want to talk to you again! When you’re meeting a stranger, you’re likely to introduce your business, tell them about yourself, your personality, and values. Next, you’d talk about their needs and how your product can meet them. THEN you’d ask for the sale! So why would you skip all those steps on your social media pages? If social media is supposed to be a place for people to build relationships, why wouldn’t you put the focus there instead of your products? People will do business with those they know, like, and trust, so make sure they feel that way about you and your company before you try to sell them anything.

So here comes the part that is sometimes the hardest: how on Earth do I give my followers the opportunity to get to know me and my company? We like to use “silly” posts like fake social media holidays (and the real ones), pet photos, questions, shout outs to other companies, etc. to start and nurture relationships with people. Everyone loves a great pet photo! Sometimes something as simple as starting ridiculous debates like what the worst Halloween candy is (there’s no debate here: it’s candy corn) can be the most effective way for people to get to know you! Now of course there’s a balance to everything. If you never sell, then people aren’t going to think to buy from you. We generally recommend the 80/20 rule: 80% of your posts should be relationship-building, and 20% should be sales. And actually, the younger your target audience is, the less often you should be selling.

Social media doesn’t have to be a waste of time. In fact, when it’s used correctly, social media can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal. It all comes down to how you use it. Instead of using social media as a megaphone to shout at your customers, try using it as a tool to build relationships. When you focus on creating posts that help people connect and share information, you’ll find that social media becomes much more effective for driving sales and brand loyalty. Check out one of our previous blogs about how to drive engagement to your page. If you need some help getting started, give us a call! We can help you create a social media strategy that engages your customers and helps drive sales.

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