It’s entirely possible that, having stopped by this site and checking out the engagement series here, you think I’m a liar, a fraud, or perhaps a bit drugged. You’ve been trying to engage with people online for months now. Your business has not grown. You still barely get any responses on Twitter and you’re about ready to give up on your blog because it’s just you and the crickets most of the time.
Before you burn me or your blog in effigy, let me toss out some things that might be getting in your way. If none of those seem to apply, then we can have thumb wars!
1. No clear objective: We’ve talked about this a lot here, and a lot of you brought it up yesterday in the discussion about passion in blogging. You have to know what you’re trying to do in order to get there. You have to know what you want people to know about you before you interact with them. You have to know how you want to grow your business before you can.
2. Not engaging with the right people: With a clear objective comes a strategy for engaging with the right people. In an ideal world, you’d be able to interact with people you like, or people who, like you, really love talking about dogs, golf, horse races, or other passions. But if you want to grow your business, you need to talk to people who don’t know you already and who would be interested in what you are offering from a business standpoint. You can also find people who have objectives that parallel yours so that you can have great conversation without worrying about being competitive.
3. Not speaking the right language: Have you ever tried to tell someone who is not in your business about your business? One day, I was really excited because a post of mine had been tweeted a number of times. I mentioned this to a friend in passing. That friend’s picture is now in Wikipedia beside the definition of “blank stare.” If you want to engage in ways that will build your business, you need to make sure you’re talking the way your prospects and customers would talk. Talking like you talk will just attract other people who are like you and who may even be competitors of yours.
4. Mistaking “personable” with “personal”: This is a very common misunderstanding in the world of Social Media. A lot of people begin tweeting or blogging with the understanding that mentioning your business or why you’re really there is bad. You have to be personal (aka human, authentic, transparent – whatever you might call it). In fact, though, this will only help you make friends. A great addition to any life, but not necessarily helpful for business. You want to be personable. In other words, you don’t want to blog your news releases and tweet your blue light specials 24/7. But if you only focus on the *personal* you will not grow your business for one simple reason – people will not have a clue as to what you do.
5. Sex, Religion, Politics: A lot of people feel that it’s their Social Media party and they’ll tweet what they want to. I can understand that sentiment, bu if you want to grow your business, it’s important to tread lightly on issues that tend to be divisive. If your religion or your politics are deciding factors in who you work with, that’s a different scenario, but otherwise, neutrality is usually the best online strategy. That person you offend might have been your next big customer.
6. A Focus on Quantity, not Quality: This is huge. There is so much emphasis on numbers in Social Media that people have lost track of what those numbers really mean. If you have 20,000 followers but only 500 are potential customers, you should really view your statistics as having 500 high quality followers. If your company page on Facebook has 647 fans but over half of them click to your website when you post information, you’re doing pretty well. For business, numbers don’t mean anything unless you’re converting them into sales.
So what do you think? Do any of these obstacles ring true to you? Are there obstacles you think might get in the way of engagement helping you grow your business? Let’s hear what you would add!
This is post #53 in the engagement series. I hope you enjoyed it!
Image by Gabriella Fabbri. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/duchesssa