(This is a guest post by Yisel Guajardo (another awesome Twitter peep – follow her here! Yisel Guajardo is an entrepreneur and blogger who writes about internet marketing, social media, and blogging.)
If only acquiring a social media fan base were as easy as walking up to the deli counter and saying, “Excuse me sir, I’ll take two thousand followers and can you throw in a personality and some influence for good measure”.
If it did work that way we might be spared the “Mine’s bigger than yours” competition of social marketing where your status in the tribe is measured by the sheer number of your friends or followers.
But as you know, quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality. Yes, it’s an assumption easily made since the numbers of your followers are easily visible by everyone as a sort of social validation badge of honor.
However, the real measure and power of social media, doesn’t just come from the numbers (although they do play an important part), but more so in the influence you have over them and the perception they have of you and/or your products or services.
It has been commonly said after all, “People buy from people they know, like, and trust.”
But, how do you become someone people like?
It certainly isn’t as easy as saying go buy some software and add 100 friends a day.
The good news however is there are things you can do that you intuitively already know.
Here are five:
Smiling is the simplest way to make a good first impression. And in the new media world we leave in, it’s no longer limited to only face to face meetings.
Yes, it’s a good idea to have a smiling mug of yourself on social media profiles, but it goes beyond that. It’s about how you make people feel. Show humor, be vulnerable, and yes even share embarrassing and revealing parts of your personality and life. This is what makes you authentic and relatable.
Remember, have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.
2. Be genuinely interested in others.
A few years ago I heard a phrase that illustrated to me this quality perfectly. “Be interested, not interesting.” When you are trying to be interesting, you talk about yourself and what you like. People don’t care about what’s important to you. They care about what’s important to them.
Think about it, when you see a group photograph you’re in, whose picture do you look for first? Exactly, yourself. So it is with others. Talk about the things they care about. The Roman poet Publilius Syrus said it best, “We are interested in others when they are interested in us.”
For example, let’s say you are a women’s fitness trainer. What is most important to the women you train? What body parts do they most want to see improve? What are their most important concerns? If you really care about people and how your products and/or services can help them, they will sense that, and it will be demonstrated in how you communicate with them. That’s when they will be drawn to you.
3. Be a good listener.
People love to talk about themselves. I really believe it’s one of the reasons social media has revolutionized the internet. It’s given people a voice to talk about themselves. Through social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc., people can expand their egos by talking about what’s important to them – themselves.
One of the best ways to listen, is to ask questions that people will enjoy answering. Twitter is a great place to do this. If you have a decent amount of followers, ask anything and you’re bound to get a slew of responses. People naturally want to help. So, encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments, listen, and respond.
4. Give sincere appreciation.
Charles Schwab, who was one of the first people in American business to be paid a salary of over a million dollars a year, said his biggest secret was his ability to deal with people and “the way to develop the best in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.”
How do you show appreciation online? Well, when you get an answer to a question on Twitter, read a great article or blog post, get a meaningful comment or question on your blog, you can show appreciation by replying to them, re-tweeting a good tweet, or leaving an intelligent comment on their blog.
5. Make others feel important.
We’ve all experienced calling the customer service line wanting to speak to another human and having to go through a myriad of push button options or worse yet, a voice recognition system not friendly to kid noises in the background. An excellent example of making someone feel unimportant.
But what about automated messages, canned friend requests, or leaving the exact same wall comment on everyone’s profile? Isn’t that the same? I’m all for using automation, software and tools to save time, but you need to know how to use them so they help to brand and differentiate you from others, not alienate them.
Take Nordstrom. They earned a reputation for service that spawned tall tales about just how far employees are willing to go to please the customer much before web 2.0. You might have heard the one about a gentleman who returned a set of tires even though Nordstrom doesn’t carry tires. The Nordstrom employee gave the customer a refund, and then returned the tires to the store they actually came from herself.
What’s interesting to note is that although the story might be doubtful, that isn’t as important as the fact that people think they offer excellent customer service.
And in a world where social media is the new word of mouth, what people think and whether they like and trust you is more important.
So, what do you think?
Who do you like the most in social media and why?
Share away in the comments below…