So, today our dog, Buddy Guy, had some issues. Kim (my wife) was home from work and the dog threw up. Then she made him a special dinner of hamburger and rice and he threw that up again. She was freaked (and justifiably so). Three years ago after throwing balls to him, he twisted his innards and was an hour away from dying. We took him into the emergency vet and saved his life for the 2nd time! He was a rescue dog that was a day away from being euthanized, when we rescued him the first time!
We called my friend Kari Trotsky (a vet) and she made a house call. Who does that anymore? She did, because Buddy Guy is a social media sensation. I have lots of friends with famous dogs, like Felicia Slattery and Sadie the “Speaker Dog”, and Brian G. Johnson with Otis and Olive (he is known as the poodle wrangler).
What Is Social Media?
I had an epiphany recently. I have always been a social media fan and teacher, but when I was teaching at a college a few weeks ago, it all came into focus! Social media is about creating relationships. I know, call me Captain Obvious, but the more relationships you build and maintain, the larger the audience to share your content with. I know I get all preachy-preachy about not selling on social media, but posting great content to the right audience is not about selling, it’s about giving your best material to educate and inform. Your website is the place to do the selling, and social media’s purpose is to drive traffic back to your website, but you have to start with relationships first!
So what does that have to do with Buddy Guy? Kim posted that Buddy Guy was sick, and one of our common friends (Kari) saw the post and got in touch and volunteered to come over and check him out. Keep in mind that Kari is one of my clients, but it was the relationship that made this doggy house call possible.
Pay It Forward
Face-to-face networking is always the origin of my strongest online relationships. Most of the social media influencers I have become friends with have continued the relationship because of that, otherwise I am just another faceless fan or stalker. People have a propensity to repay your friendship and kindness when you pay it forward first.
Content marketing without relationships is more like sales. Relationships, who see your content marketing, have a desire to engage with likes, comments, and shares. That is the currency of social media, and relationships are the exchange rate. The stronger the relationship, the more your content marketing is worth!
New Ways To Think Of Social Media
- Social Media Needs A Home Base – The best thing you can hope for is that when people see your content, they click on it. Having your content housed on your own website is by far the best way to do this. Inside of your website, you now have the chance to control the messages and direct people to take some sort of action (email, phone call or get your lead magnet to get them on your email list).
- You Have To Generate Original Content – You have an audience, so where do you want them to go? Do you want them to go to other people’s content, or to yours on your own website? Yes it is time consuming, and yes it’s work, but trust me, it’s worth it. Other people’s content makes you an expert by association, but original content makes you “The” expert. You are, right? You know your stuff in ways that others may too, but you can and will put your own spin on it to make it uniquely yours!
- Social Media Is A Content Distribution Platform – You have two ways of getting people’s attention, pay for it or earn it. Paying for it is as easy as whipping out your credit card, but it also can be time consuming and expensive. Building relationships earns you the opportunity to communicate with an audience that may or may not be interested in your messages, but you never know when a like, comment or share can lead to the next great opportunity!
- Content Curation vs. Content Creation – There is a lot of great information out there. I share content from my friend, Marla Tabaka, since she writes for Inc. Magazine and she is damn good. But, if all you do is share other peoples content (OPC), then they may only pay attention to them and lose interest in you. A mix of OPC and your content is the best way to generate social proof and to keep people interested. Curate other people’s content, but your real payback from your investment will come from your own content!
- Rank and Measure Your Engagement – Anything without measurement is wish marketing. Measure engagement. I give likes 1 point, comments 5 points and shares 25 points. Make it a point to measure both original content and OPC and grade it on how your audience is reacting. That will give you a clear indication of how people are viewing and consuming your content. Do more of what is working and less of what is not!
Buddy Guy is getting better and was diagnosed with an intestinal disorder that hopefully can be treated with some medicine. We have had over 250 people comment like and share his status. Is that content creation? Yes! Is that relationship building? Yes! Was that my intent in posting on Facebook? No it was not! People know, love and trust Buddy Guy and have a relationship with him and with us.
It’s that being a person, being open, honest, and accessible, that lets you occasionally post about you and your business. You never know when a like, comment or share will happen, but you want to make the most of those relationships and social media!
I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and feedback!Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community