The Best Tools of the Trade for A Social Media Marketer
An unconventional look at human-to-human marketing online
Technology makes the world a smaller place. Unlike ever before in the history of humanity, it brings equality to the world. Anyone, regardless of age, color, race, background or geographic location can start a digital business.
However, a lot of marketers look at technology as the solution to making it big, rather than a tool to help you do your work better. Everyone jumps onto the SEO and Facebook ad bandwagons hoping to stand out, just to be surprised that it doesn’t work for them.
The reason, however, why it doesn’t work for you is not because the technology doesn’t work, but more about how you use the technology, and when you use it.
Technology can only do so much and no-one wants to do business with a robot. Not for long in any case. Human marketing is marketing mimicking human interactions, using technology to make it easier, faster, more accessible. Not using technology to do the things you’re not good at yet.
When you use a tool with the purpose of trying to do something you’re bad with, chances are that you will just do bad things faster and to more people at a time. The best tool in the world is still exactly that. A tool. Just like the best knife in the world doesn’t make you a good sushi shef, so too using the best social media tools out there is not going to make you successful.
In my search for the best tools to help market myself, here are the most valuable tools I’ve found:
1. Thank you notes
Told you my list is unconventional. By far the most useful tool I’ve ever found to help my business grow is a simple thank you. Either as a handwritten note, a response to a comment left on your blog, or a thank you for retweeting or following. It’s all about connection. Seeing in order to be seen as Seth Godin says it.
“Thank you” is like magic. If meant authentically, it entices people to do even more for you. Because everyone wants some recognition. Not just you.
Gratitude is the single biggest tool to become a magnet for growth. What you focus on, grows, and the more you notice the things going right in your business and the people who support you, the more people will want to support you.
2. Give before you want to receive
Here’s the thing. Everyone wants to be successful. Everyone wants their business to stand out. Everyone wants to sell their products. Why would someone choose you over the millions of choices out there?
Amanda Bond from TheAdStrategist advises a 3 step-process for a successful ad strategy. The first step is to connect, followed by commit and finally close. Most people jump straight into asking a customer to commit, without first spending time connecting though. That’s like asking someone to marry you before you’ve even went on a date. It’s possible that it will have a happy ending, but more likely than not, it’s not the person you’re looking for.
When you build relationships from scratch in the real world, it usually goes something like this. You go to a new place with a lot of new faces. Let’s say it’s a coffee shop on your way to work.
The first few days or weeks you stick to the friendly but basic good mornings and good byes, quietly observing to see whether you might have a connection point with the barista or another regular. As you become more familiar with each other, the conversations organically grow into sharing more personal stories about yourselves, still in the safe space of your mutual meetup place. Often, only after months or even years, do you decide to take that next step and propose to meet in a different place with the intention of becoming a friend or a partner.
Social media is no different. You don’t jump in and start asking people to buy your products or services. You first need to give. You first need to prove that you’re trustworthy, that you’re competent, that you give a damn about something other than just making as much money as possible at any cost.
Share your ideas. Share your stories. Share your knowledge. Comment. Build the relationships before you ask for something in return. Be generous with your giving and people will be generous to you in return.
3. Have an opinion. And a personality.
Copying someone you admire is a good start, but it’s not enough to make you stand out in the digital world. Dig a little deeper. What makes you unique? What do you do differently than the rest? What makes you human?
My favorite example is Marie Forleo with her fun and quirky weekly Marie TV YouTube channel. I love it because she doesn’t follow the status quo. She does it her way. She makes jokes and do funny stuff with swag. She doesn’t give advise based on what the rule book says, but what she says. In her voice. She has an opinion and she has a personality. That’s being human!
Her newer work is more professional with a slightly different feel, but here’s an example of why I fell in love with her years ago in one of her typical weekly Q&A video’s for marketers.
Another favorite of mine is Yoga with Adrienne, another YouTube channel offering weekly yoga classes with a whole lot of personality. Actor trained yogi, I love Adrienne because every week’s lesson is something different and fun. It’s yoga for real people living in the real world. One of the best examples of why I feel in love with her is in this video for Yoga when you’re angry. Because yogi’s get angry too.
I love how she always brings some personality to each video. Sometimes her dog joins in the session. Sometimes she dresses up according to the theme. Sometimes she makes jokes or start singing at inappropriate times (according to convention that is, not an Adrienne fan). She does and say things she would do when she’s relaxed in front of friends. Human things. Not politically correct and scripted things only.
If you can’t relax and be yourself in front of your audience, how do you expect them to be comfortable to continue a conversation with you? Just as in real life, you connect better with people when they’re relaxed and authentic.
Authenticity is magnetic. People see it (or rather feel it) a mile away.
4. Beat your drum to the rhythm of your heart
In music, there’s a rhythm and a balance with the chorus repeated from time to time. Not all the time (that is called spam), just from time to time. It’s the perfect balance between creating familiarity and introducing something new in each verse.
In real life, when you repeat the same story over and over and over again, you’re boring. Or irritating. The same applies to social media. Don’t just sell your products or just advertise, share some insights, have group discussions, tell us how it’s made, what’s happening behind the scenes.
Find your rhythm. And be consistent. Don’t share everything. Be discerning. But also don’t be a robot predictably sharing every hour. The ocean ebs and flows. The seasons change from summer to winter. Sometimes post more, other times less. Use scheduling tools like Buffer with the purpose of reaching people in different timezones, not to become a robot.
It’s about continuing the conversation. Keeping the connection going.
Digital marketing is different from face-to-face marketing in that often you don’t get any feedback at all. You don’t know why people aren’t clicking or buying. You don’t know why they liked a post if they do. It’s mostly a guessing game (even with analytics) as most people refrain from giving honest feedback digitally in the fear of being labeled or attacked by an internet troll or risk sounding stupid. Or maybe it’s just that they haven’t thought about it yet and have no opinion right now.
Whatever the reasons for not responding, just know that when you embark on any digital form of commerce or relationship building that it’s a long and lonely journey for a long time before you start getting responses.
Don’t give up too soon. Just keep going. Eventually, someone somewhere out there will see you and press that Contact Us button.
Close with a Call to Action
In real life, a conversation with a friend usually ends with some form of next step. If you meet someone you really like and he asks for your number, you give it to him. If he doesn’t ask, conversation ends. If you don’t give it, conversation ends.
Do you want people to like or share your post? Do you want people to hire you? Do you want people to follow you and build a more long term relationship?
It takes being explicit about what you want and not being afraid to say it. Don’t leave people hanging and don’t be obnoxious.