Ever hop on Facebook because you are dying to know what you should buy today? Or scroll through your Instagram feed looking for specials? I doubt it. You log into Facebook to check out what your friends and family are up to. You open up Instagram to see little windows into other people’s days.
All social media is fundamentally about relationships and people connecting to PEOPLE–not brands or businesses. (And when it comes time to promote your own biz, don’t lose sight of that and do it the right way.)
The more connected your social media audience feels to you, the more “engaged” they will be and the more they will like and trust you. (Which is super important for your bottom line because, as Sales Expert Kendrick Shope says, “All things being equal, friends buy from friends. All things being unequal, friends buy from friends.” Tweet that!)
The good news, you *are* your business and unlike the big brands, it’s very easy for you to put a human face on your business.
Here are 5 great ways to bring more YOU into your social media:
#1: GET ON VIDEO
I know this is easy for some and harder for others (personally I am way more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it) BUT there really is no substitute for giving your audience the chance to really SEE and HEAR you, with their own eyes. It creates a much stronger sense of knowing someone than words (and even pictures) can. So while I’m still working on this one myself, everytime I do get up the courage to get in front of the camera, my audience *really* responds.
This doesn’t have to be a huge video shoot! (In fact for social media, you want a spontaneous and unscripted feel because it’s more real that way.) 15 sec instagram videos shot on the fly with your smartphone or short video messages uploaded to your Facebook Page will do the trick.
#2: SHARE BEHIND-THE-SCENES OF YOUR BIZ
We all love to see behind-the-scenes, it gives us the feeling of being special and included. So give your audience a backstage pass to your business: share what you are working on, a win one of your clients just had (anonymously/with their permission, of course), what’s going well, what’s going not-so-well, the great idea you just had or ask for help choosing your next blog post topic.
These posts could be text, photos, videos or a combination–whatever feels most natural for what you want to share. Don’t over think it, just start taking note of things or situations in your work day you might want to share with your audience and DO it.
#3: TELL PERSONAL STORIES
Maybe it sounds silly but knowing a business owner plays ultimate frisbee (me too!) or binged on House of Cards (me too!) instantly creates a connection. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be discovering things that we have in common either: just getting a more complete picture of their life and personality helps me to like and trust them more.
So open up and let your audience get to know you–the person–a little better. Share your vacation plans (I’ve gotten lots of great travel recommendations this way!), a funny story about your kid, what you do in your spare time, your favourite places to hang out–anything! It may seem like trivial details but it all adds up to helping your audience really KNOW you (so they can like and trust you!).
#4: TAKE PICS OF YOUR OFFLINE LIFE
This is really a specific instance of #3: Tell Personal Stories, but in this case, pictures really are worth a thousand words (and often take much less time to share!). An image gives your audience a direct window into your life and that’s a powerful way to create real connection.
Instagram is AWESOME for this (and #5: Snap More Selfies) because it’s made to share photos (so it’s super quick), you can easily enhance your picture with filters and share selected images to your other social networks no problem.
#5: SNAP (MORE) SELFIES
This (and #4: Take Pics of Your Offline Life) often leads my social-media-phobic husband to ask, “Why are you taking a picture of this?!” or “What are you doing? Everyone is looking at you!” as I try to get the perfect angle but it’s worth it. Because it brings me closer to my audience.
I struggled in the past with shooting selfies because they felt so narcissistic. But the truth is I love looking at other people’s selfies! And I don’t think they are full of themselves for posting them. So I decided I would give it a shot–and honestly, they routinely get above-average interaction from my audience. So give them a chance ? (And the filters in Instagram are incredible for making even the simplest selfies look great!) Let your audience really SEE you. You won’t regret it.
TAKE ACTION CHALLENGE
Share a little more of you (or in a new way!) on one of your social media channels today. Post that selfie, film a quick video message or share a personal story or picture from your offline life. (And watch your audience latch on!).
Let us know you’ve taken the challenge on The Startup Circle Facebook Page so I can give you a high five! And I’m also there if you have any questions about how to make this work for you–don’t be shy.
NOTE: While I am encouraging you to share to build rapport with your audience, everyone has their own personal definition of what’s off limits for them in the public eye. Listen to your gut and when it doubt ask yourself if you’d be okay seeing this on the front page of the newspaper–if the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t be sharing it.