Have you been having lots of lunches, or catchup drinks or dinner these last few weeks?
It seems that even though we text and message and facetime and skype and email incessantly , that at this time of year, we still crave connection.
That is the big learning from my annual social media review.
It can seem that in an age where we can automate just about anything, that there are some items that need a personal touch.
Social Media is one of those things in the area of Engagement.
So let's look at at part one of what I did in 2017, what I learnt and what I hope to do better in 2018.
First up, Facebook
It is still THE social network. Even though for many industries and sectors, Organic Reach is hard to come by and often advertising is the best way to get your message to your most valuable people (but not the only way)
1. Think about the 3 E's and devote even time to each.
We really need to think about the 3 E's of social media and content marketing all the time. Entertain, Entice, Educate and try and get them in the right order.
I find that I am good at the educating part (and automating and recycling my past blog posts has been a GODSEND here) but I also know that when I find and share things about the frustrations of business life, wins of others in my space and mine, questions about book stacks, unwinding ideas and mojo boosting tips work well in my space.
So my aim for 2018 is to do more of the Entertaining part of content sharing, but of items that resonate with my target client.
Enticing is also going to be one to watch as Facebook looks to crack down on clickbait articles and those posts that ask you to like, share and comment to go in the draw to win....blah..blah...blah... Be careful how you seek to encourage engagement. Don't go for the easy options, rather think about perhaps using more live video and being controversial or forthright in what you say online if appropriate.
That is going to be something that I will do lots more of. There will be more One Thing videos ( becoming a regular Monday thing) as well as a new little SoapBox segment. That will be fun.
2. Facebook Friends
In 2017 I actively sort to expand my network of Facebook friends online to grow the professional side of my network inside Facebook and use my personal account more as a business tool. As a small business owner, my business is very much a part of my life.
I am not sure that this has been successful for me. Mainly because there are still far too many douche bags online. Lonely men around the world, stop commenting on my eyes. I am happily married and want to connect with thinkers, not leechers.
I have made some wonderful friends online this year, some great business women and men who have opened my eyes to new possibilities and provided much food for thought. However, it has also shown me that there are still far too many people who have no idea that accepting a friend request does not then mean ask me to like your page, message me to join your group or send me your opt-in. How you about engage with me and my posts first. How about we get to know each other, even at a professional level first before you 'get me on your list'.
Don't be that person.
It has also opened my eyes to strategically segmenting people so that you choose more carefully who sees what posts, what are public posts, what are posts for close friends and family and what are for acquaintances.
3. Facebook Groups
I went on a binge this year, joining Facebook groups. I wanted to learn from others, connect with like-minded people and look to grow my own little group. Facebook groups are a great way to build a community around a particular thought, idea, product or movement. They are a great lead magnet tool.
Have I enjoyed it? yes and no.
I am kind of questioning the amount of time they take up. Many large online groups folded this year as the owners of those groups either questioned the energy needed to maintain them, they had achieved their purpose ( to build a name, build a list or build a business) or they just could not control the vibe of the group any longer.
Some people just can't play nice online over the long term.
Some groups, however, are great places to learn and connect with like-minded people. The right group can put you in contact with more of your people opening up collaboration opportunities, business opportunities and genuine online friendships.
This has been my experience. I am part of some great online groups that I will continue to be a part of, they include
There are loads of others that I am apart of, but I am going to be removing myself from lots of them because this is forming part of my next point re Facebook.
4. Noise vs Value
Often there is too much noise and not enough value. Accepting that and focussing on the value and the outcomes is where our head need to be.
We need to think more about what we post, when we post and who we are posting for. Putting this in a plan, means that we create higher quality content over time that leads to greater value for our community of customers and potential customers alike.
It also means that if we plan and structure the key parts of our messages, we can then focus on what is important, engaging in our community.
How often do you go into your Facebook business account and click on the See pages feed button (on your desktop) and actually talk to your people? For me, that was nowhere near enough in 2017.
I was engaging with people on Instagram and also LinkedIn, but not inside Facebook where so many of my clients and potential clients live, on their Facebook pages. (A huge mistake on my part, but one that I will explain in part of this blog post why I was engaging on Instagram and LinkedIn a lot in 2017.)
So, in 2018 I will be reaching out to my current and target market, finding their pages, engaging with their content, being interested in them in a genuine and value driven way.
Just like in the image at the top of this post, think 'I will bring the wine and we can enjoy a glass of red together and just talk'.
That is where you bring the value.