In 2010, I started a social media company. In the beginning, the small business community ran to it to sell online or gather potential clients to sell to. Everyone saw social media as a lead generator. And you know what? It worked, at least for a few months. Then it got saturated. Then it stopped working for most of my clients.
Of course, back then we were all green and we were all doing social media WRONG. We all kept following people who could buy our products and we were chasing them down with “Buy Now”. How about now. Now. Now. NOW! Buy NOW!
It’s been almost a decade that we have been helping small businesses with both websites and social media, and it is slowly starting to work again. But not the same way we originally thought.
Forget About Selling, Focus on Educating
Social media is a terrible tool to sell through. But it is a great tool to help educate a potential audience. Do a good job in that area, and yes, they might follow you back and buy from you. This is probably the hardest element for most business owners to learn. You gain nothing by trying to sell, but everything by providing endless amounts of useful education.
Once you totally abandon the idea of selling and REALLY focus on good content, magic starts to happen. This concept is true with podcasting, blogging, email marketing, newsletters and of course social media.
Nobody Likes to Be Sold to Through Social Media
Social media started out as platforms to be social on. You know social, as in connecting with people. People you went to college with, who like Star Trek movies, who love Taylor Swift. Ok maybe not Taylor Swift, but you get the gist. People don’t normally wake up and hop on social media to find a gutter company or by siding. Or even alas, to buy websites.
So stop selling, and start educating.
Let me explain how our business works to give you an idea on how we use social media.
People Connect with People, then Buy from People
I sell one of the best website solutions around. But in my area, so do about 500-600 other companies. I have yet to gain a new client that said, “We came to you because you were the best solution around.” I’m being honest and transparent here. People buy from us because they connect personally with one of us. We become friends. We become common associates. We connect.
When I ask why people buy website from us, they usually say something like, “You were prompt in your service.” “You came out to visit us at our location, and you seemed nice to work with.” “You were very friendly and someone who seemed professional and we could trust.” “You gave us lots of business advice that had nothing to do with websites.”
Wait. Stop the presses, let’s re-read that last sentence again. “You gave us lots of business advice that had nothing to do with websites.” Wait that doesn’t make sense. People bought websites from us because of additional business advice?
That’s it. That’s the secret sauce. We share our lives on social media. My last social media only lead came from one of personal Twitter account. I have a twitter account called, FredsDaily where I tweet about my life hour by hour every single day for the past three years! It’s nuts, it’s crazy, it’s boring, but I am putting myself out there..
Social Media is a Lead Generator
So here’s my point. The majority of people buy websites from us because they connect with us on an individual basis. We’re real people behind the scenes doing real work in the website space. So with that said, you need to educate about your craft, but be real and connectable. One of my favorite business podcasters and YouTubers is Pat Flynn. He teaches through a podcast called Smart Passive Income. But look at this video he released this year about him being robbed. My point is he is real and personable.
I was deeply moved by this video. I felt for Pat. He’s a real person. I connect with him. I buy his books. (Go buy his book “Superfans”.)
So educate about your business. If you need help, we’ll you know who to call.