In 2007, my younger sister said to me, “Shea, you need to get a Facebook account.” I rolled my eyes and said, “Why would I get a Facebook account when I have a Myspace?” she sighed and walked away. I eventually deleted Myspace and converted to the cool kids’ site in order to keep in touch with my siblings.
I added friends, ex-boyfriends, their mothers and everyone I have ever met. Social media is intended for us to be … well … social. And I was born for this platform. But I had boundaries – I didn’t add strangers (which we now affectionately refer to today as “followers”).
Back then, followers were considered stalkers. The last thing you wanted was to share your personal life in order to get strangers to follow you.
Now, in the business world that is the goal. Why?
Because humans want connection even when they are home alone on the sofa.
What builds connection? Vulnerability. Where is vulnerability found? In our own personal stories, which used to be reserved for our personal pages, now it’s recommended for your business page too.
The pendulum has swung from oversharing and using social media like group therapy to being strategic with sharing in order to be authentic.
Thank God. This is better for business. Loyal followers are there for the long haul. They will be watching when and how you post to your social media outlets. They want to know whether or not you share the same values, if you’re consistent.
Here are five tips to create loyalty on your social media platforms. Remember … those platforms are an expression of you.
So how does one create loyal followers on social media?
1. Know your audience.
If you don’t know who they are, you can’t connect with them. Typically, people are serving a people group they care about, so there is a general understanding of what their pain points are. That is where they tend to stop.
Take them to lunch or coffee.
Send out very quick surveys (one or two questions).
Ask powerful questions.
This is called “empathy.” Put yourself in their shoes and learn about what motivates them to choose a service like yours.
Ask for nothing from them except to learn.
Recently, I took a client to dinner and presented my new idea thinking she’d be over the moon. The event that was relevant to her situation as a recent widow.
As I shared my brilliant plan, the look of disgust washed over her face. With her arms waving in the air she said, “No. No. No. I would not go to that event. Life is hard, Shea. If I go to an event, I want to laugh and be entertained. I want to forget my situation and just have fun with other women from all walks of life.” Her comment changed everything.
From that, I created something completely different and made sure that it was FUN. She attended and even brought a friend!
When people bring their inner circle to your circle, it’s the highest compliment. Which brings me to the next point …
2. A “follow” on your social media is like someone attending your seminar.
They want to know what you know; they want the secret sauce. A “share” is when they show enough confidence in your expertise that they consider you an expert. You are only an expert if you have proven experience, an innovative approach, and the tools/team to execute. This requires one to be original.
3. Be original and be clear.
My grandmother has a sign hanging in her bathroom that says, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Your unique personality, process combined with your client experience is what sets you apart from the rest. Own your differences and communicate clearly how you are going to solve their problem. Don’t overcompensate, clearly communicate. If you aren’t helping them, they will leave – as they should.
4. Offer value.
Today’s buyers are searching for quality and they are values-driven. Don’t talk about who you are, talk about what you value. Are your products ethically sourced? Are your employees taken care of as much as you take care of your clients? Do you give beyond what you can get back? Talk about that. The loyal followers are the ones who share your values. Those who don’t will leave, and that’s what you want if you’re doing this right.
Just like communication is different when you’re giving a speech, writing an article or doing a podcast, you must treat your social media outlets different. Why? Because your audiences are different.
Those who pay attention on LinkedIn are not the same as those who are hooked to Facebook. The followers on Instagram are communicating differently than those who prefer TikTok (I still need to learn this one!).
The heart of your message might be the same, but how you communicate on each of those platforms must be different.
I would even argue that demographics play a minor role in today’s social media. I believe it comes down to communication styles.
People have options and their preferences are personal, not stereotypical. Get to the heart of your message and alter the visual experience and text for each platform.
It's 2020, and it’s time for me to ask you to switch from DIY digital to hiring a professional. Consumers are savvy and have high expectations on social media.
Be yourself and hire people who can communicate your unique services. Just as you expect your clients to trust you with your expertise – trust the creatives, content writers, designers and tech-heads (the skill I envy the most) to attract your ideal client. When we work together, we are developing relationships for the long haul. I guess you could call that loyalty.