This past month I’ve been delving into social media a lot. While most of my activities have been focused exclusively on LinkedIn, I want to be making an effort in being more active on social media.
For those of you who don’t know, I haven’t been really active on social media. Outside of sending out a link to an article I published, I post nothing else. My Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram are all literal ghost towns where my posts get sucked into the abyss.
That’s probably why I’ve had such a pessimistic outlook on even attempting social media.
But again that’s changing. I’m already making a huge effort on LinkedIn and using is as a way to grow my client base. I also use another platform called Quora from time to time and make an effort to answer questions on there too.
So in order for me to be more active, I think what will help me is finding some ways to generate a lot of value over time. This has led me to do some research into social media strategies which I’d like to be sharing with you.
From my understanding, these are simple strategies to grasp. All you have to do is apply them and see where they take you.
The Crowd Pleaser
I got this idea from a Forbes contributor. In 2014, the contributor shared a list of 25 ways to grow a presence on social media. Now while the poster focused on a broad approach – applying these 25 methods across multiple platforms – I’d take a narrower approach with this strategy.
Overall, the tips and strategies I want to focus on from that article revolve around understanding your audience on the social media platform of your choice. From those particular strategies comes what I’ll call “The Crowd Pleaser.”
This particular individual isn’t a personal doormat. But rather a person who can amass a lot of people in a short period of time and deliver immense value to that audience. This value doesn’t have to be a link to an article or to a product or anything. In fact, in the early stages, you want to avoid selling anything.
Instead, it’s in the form of content within the post.
Video are incredibly valuable. As such, many of these people turn to make small videos and putting them in posts that way. This same principle applies to live streams too.
The core of the strategy is to provide direct benefit with a little bit of content. Maybe it’s a link to another site or some kind words. Either way, it’s content that anyone can use and benefit from in some fashion.
If this is something that interests you, here is how I’d approach this strategy.
- Start by letting people know you are human and provide reasons to connect with the person. I know one crowd pleaser I follow on Twitter because his videos are always outside and he talks directly to the audience.
He also shares his struggles and what he’s doing.
This adds character to him and makes him feel real. It’s a reminder that I’m not alone and we’re all in the same kind of boat.
- Ensure that every piece of content engages everyone. In order to do this, the topic needs to be generally broad. Not to mention you want to be engaging with everyone. For example, if someone comments on your video or post, speak to them directly. Even have everyone involved in the conversation.
The crowd pleaser is built on building a community. The only way they can please the masses is to understand the masses and ensure everyone feels welcomed.
- Use relevant hashtags. Also depending on your platform mention people too if they are relevant. Going back to the crowd pleaser I know, he makes a habit of mentioning me and other inspiring content creators. This encourages others to create a thread of tweets filled with nothing but inspiring content.
- Make sure the posts have meaning and a benefit. Everyone who engages with a social media post always asks “What’s in it for me?” Whether it’s simple as a distraction, a chuckle, or something practical, make sure the person feels better after they finished consuming your content.
- Always be genuine and consistent. These days people hire social media managers to do the work and that’s not always ideal for you. Yes, they certainly save time, but it can feel really processed and far from genuine if you’re not doing it yourself and consistently.
Keep these rules in mind and I think you can become a good crowd pleaser.
That same article does cover one other strategy that I have a fondness for as well. It is one of my personal favourites and is something that I’m leaning more into myself. Though from my research, there are still things that I can do to improve this strategy personally.
Regardless, this particular strategy I feel takes a lot of time to build up but can pay out massively when done properly.
This strategy I’m calling “The Linker” who basically drives value primarily through links.
Why is this something that takes a while to build up?
Mostly because no one is going to click on links when you first start off. Trust me. I know this from personal experience.
From my research, you’re going to need to do similar work to The Crowd Pleaser first before you can start delivering a lot of value. That being said, when you do generate a tonne of value, you’ll get it from various sources.
Getting into the specific details, the idea is to connect all your social media accounts as well as the content that you deliver. The idea isn’t to sell anything, but rather to generate a lot of traffic for yourself while giving everyone value across multiple platforms.
In order to do something like this, you’re going to need to recycle content. This is a process where you post something on one platform and make changes to it and post it on another or many other platforms.
One example of this is since I’ve been posting on LinkedIn, I’ve started to use those posts and create other content on other platforms. Since my posts are practically at max character limit on LinkedIn, I move them to Vocal and Medium.
Some of those posts even make it to this blog like this one.
All I do is expand on it by adding more value and go into deeper details with ideas and points.
The process takes me no more than a half-hour to do and I have three similar pieces of content on three different platforms. They’re not all linked together, however it does help me in growing my audience on all those platforms.
This is the value of this strategy. Instead of amassing an audience in one target location, you’re throwing multiple darts at a single dartboard. All of them might get a bullseye, but all around you’ll get some traction.
To use this strategy fully here are some things I recommend you do:
- Have enough accounts on multiple platforms to ensure you can post alternate content quickly. Each social media site behaves differently so you want to make sure you can create content on each platform that’s relevant. For example, you can post an article on your blog or on Medium and then repurpose it on Twitter by tweeting the link, an image and a small exert from the post.
- Make sure people can hop to various platforms without the need for a post. Examples are having icons on your website and making sure they’re on every newsletter and email you send out.
- Always make the content valuable. If you want to start linking your recycled content, make sure that the experience is new every time. For example, your tweet can cover an important lesson or a section that expresses your message exactly.
When people click the link to go to that post it could go to a blog post which goes into depth of that message. That or maybe it goes to a summary of a post on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Quora before leading to your blog?
Either way, you want the sequence to continue to deliver more content and value as people click through. The last thing you want is to cannibalize your content.
- Do note that you can do some linking when you first do this strategy but the main focus is to be delivering immediate value. This can be an idea that you want to share or putting together a post that helps people understand you more.
Similar to the Crowd Pleaser, you want people to connect with your content and that typically means being personable.
Not to be confused with The Linker, but this strategy is finding a way to connect to people on a deeper level than before. The value here is that people will know you on a deeper level than the other approaches.
Of course, you can still be highly personal in the other strategies, but this one is naturally a deeper one.
Part of this inspiration revolves around reading an article on attraction Gen Z’ers. Broadly speaking, the mass amount of Generation Z is filled with innovative, self-aware, highly creative, and diverse individuals.
They want to learn and be able to connect deeply. And if they can’t have that, they’ll move on.
But the thing is I don’t think those attributes apply exclusively to generation Z’ers. A lot of people feel disconnected these days. From their jobs to life in general. At the end of the day, no matter what year we are born, we can’t deny that we have some desire for connection.
All the same, we can all be highly creative individuals. After all, I’m a millennial and I’m sorta coming up with these strategies.
Anyway, this strategy is designed to cast a broad net but also to deeply connect to those who decide to get caught and pay attention to you. This strategy isn’t the most lucrative strategy at first, however it pays off eventually by having a dedicated fan base who will be inspired to follow your lead.
In order to do this strategy, here are some things I’d recommend doing:
- Connecters are deeply personal so that means leaving yourself at the mercy of your audience to get to know you. This means hosting Q & A’s, showing stuff behind the scenes.
- Recognize that not everyone will be there to get to know you so you need to give them another reason to stay. That’s where you can provide specific directions, steps and advice in situations. This not only solidifies you know what you’re talking about, but also builds trust.
- Don’t be afraid to share real stories and struggles. If people can relate to you in some way, they will be sticking around.
- Have other events to help people connect and get to know you. Have random live streams where you just chill out and talk to people about anything.
- Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. Gen Z’ers are people who raise their voices about issues that affect them and want to change. Even if you’re not targeting that consumer group, being able to voice what you believe in and have people connect with it is valuable.
The fourth strategy to cover is a strategy I call the collaborator. In this strategy the value that you deliver is three fold. You get value from yourself, your audience, but also from someone else.
In this strategy, you’re basically building up your reputation by working with other people. While it might not make a lot of business sense, I feel that’s an old way of thinking. Businesses these days have started to learn that it’s important to work together.
While we definitely see mergers for larger companies (which I think stifles business), that’s not the case for small or medium-sized businesses. These businesses form the overall structure of the business world and I think that most value working with other people rather than merging companies.
Because of this, having this sort of attitude on social media makes a lot of sense. You already have a lot of people who are more interested in getting an idea off the ground or need a little push.
If you can provide a platform or an opportunity for those people, then you can deliver immense value on any social media site.
One good way of seeing this at work is through a collaborative effort I have with one of my clients. We connected on LinkedIn and discussed our needs and goals and discovered that we could mutually benefit from each other. Through this, we get to use our skills to help each other in our ways.
Sure we’re not paying each other, however, we’re getting further ahead in our ways. Namely in indirect ways to boost our respective businesses which in turn help our audiences.
In this strategy, the collaborator is the person that brings everyone together to have everyone benefits in some fashion. There are many ways you can pull off a collaborative effort here are some ideas that come to mind:
- Group shoutouts – You generate goodwill for yourself. Your audience gets more resources. The 2nd party gets earned media.
- Product/service bundling – You get more sales and exposure. You and the second party audience get complimentary products or services (at a discount perhaps). The second party get’s increased sales too.
- Service exchange – You get the benefits of whatever service is brought to you to enhance your business. The same is true for the second party involved. The audience benefits in some way due to your skills being better in an area.
These are some from the top of my head but I challenge you to think of some other ideas. Some other collaborative efforts may be situational as well. Either way, this approach will generally push you to have a creative and open mind.
Speaking of which, here is how I think you can set this up:
- The goal is to be able to connect with people who could use your services. The big key here is what sort of services do you provide? How can they benefit other people?
- Being able to piece together what sort of benefits you can provide, you can casually pitch this to other people. For example, some of my approaches on LinkedIn have been focusing on a collaborative effort. I tend to send people messages structured like this:
“Hey [person’s name], I saw your profile and noticed you are in [insert industry]. With my skills, I think we might be able to collaborate on future projects that’ll help your business.”
- Pulling this off requires a lot of patience and a routine as well. For this idea to really work, you’re going to need to do manual work. That is manually messaging people and following/connecting with that person.
You don’t need to do much, but it should be consistent to some degree. On LinkedIn for example, I now get in the routine of sending out 30 connect requests five times a week. Depending on the platform you might want to send out more.
Regardless, some of these people should be people/companies that you do want to collaborate with.
- I’d also advise having a place to do video chats with people. One solid choice is whereby.com (formerly known as appear.in). It’s free to use and your only restrictions are room sizes. It’s perfect for a one on one call to connect and discuss ways you can collaborate and help each other.
- Lastly, you’ll still need to position yourself as someone who can deliver and is great at what you do. If people can see the value or see that you know what you’re talking about, then you’re good. How you can do this is by posting consistently and on topics related to your niche.
You can also comment on your thoughts on other peoples posts that are related to yours.
Anything that’ll position you as a go-to guy and can give clear value is good grounds for people wanting to collaborate with you.
Grow On Social Media With These
Social media is a long process. Like building a long-term relationship, it’ll take time before you kick off the ground. However by sticking to simple principals, you’d be surprised how quickly you can get results.
Going back to LinkedIn, I gained a collaborative client that could lead to future paid work. Not only that, but I’ve grown my connection count by almost 200 in the 2-3 weeks I’ve been active on LinkedIn.
I think that it pays off when you have a plan for what business you want and what goals you have. Social media -as controversial as it is – is still a powerful tool if you know how to use it. And I think that these strategies can help immensely in using it properly and making a larger splash over time.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon