Your prospect (let’s call her Mary) has noticed you online, visited your website, and has a good first impression of your business …
But she isn’t quite ready to commit.
She’s not willing to get intimate after just being introduced to you. But she IS definitely interested and would like to get to know you better …
So what’s your next step?
If this was an interpersonal relationship, you’d socialize … go to some of the same social functions and start to interact, perhaps flirt, with each other.
Flirting, by the way, can be considered a way to get to know someone who you may be interested in dating. It expresses interest without a commitment.
For online marketers, this flirting and social interaction happens on social media.
It’s called content marketing.
Content Marketing on Social Media Lets Prospects Get to Know You Better
Your various social media platforms – your blog, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, YouTube videos, etc. – are a way for your prospects to get to know you better before they’re ready to commit to becoming a client. (Social media also is a way to stay connected once they’ve become your client, but that’s a topic for another article.)
Consider your social media platforms to be parties that you’re hosting. You invite crowds of people, so there’s a low level of commitment from each individual. Mary can choose to leave the “party” at any time – either with you or not.
As the “host” of the party, your behavior sets the tone of the interaction. Let’s use Joe and Mike as examples …
Joe talks mostly about himself and tries to “sell” Mary on his attributes. He likes to be the center of attention, and he talks a lot. But very few of his interactions are very meaningful.
Mike talks less than Joe, but he brings up topics and issues that Mary has indicated are of interest or importance to her. He encourages her feedback and comments. The interaction is a true conversation.
Which approach do YOU think is more effective?
Your blog and social media posts really should be about sharing information, establishing a connection, building credibility and trust with your prospects. Your prospect should be the center of attention, not you or your products and services.
More Than Just a Number … Your Social Media Followers are PEOPLE
How do you make sure your social media followers know they’re more than just a number to you … that they’re more than just an avenue for you to broadcast your message to their extended peeps?
First of all, you need to get your mind right that your followers are, indeed, valuable in their own right. There’s a person behind each social media Like/Comment/Share, and you have a relationship with these people.
Have you ever had a “friend” who befriended you just so they could meet others in your circle? So they could get invitations to the parties that you attend?
Ever feel like someone was more interested in who else you knew, who you could introduce them to, than in you yourself?
Didn’t feel too good, did it?
So how will you ensure that your online friends, fans and followers never feel this way about your interaction, your relationship with them?
You must SHOW them that you value them for themselves and not simply for the extended audience that they represent and provide.
By being open and honest, relational and relevant, and current and present … just like you are on your website. By making them the center of attention and by listening, both to what they say and what they don’t say. By providing valuable content centered on their issues.
By showing respect and NOT bombarding them with sales messages and “sales speak.”
Content Marketing on Social Media Must Be Done Wisely and With Respect
Content marketing on social media is your opportunity to become a go-to resource for information in your area of expertise. It’s an extremely powerful vehicle to increase your online visibility, credibility and, ultimately, profitability.
But you must use it wisely!
Indiscriminate flirting can get you in trouble. So can being too aggressive in moving the relationship forward.
And so it is with online relationships with your prospects, too.
If your product or service is such that a quick decision is easy for Mary to make, then perhaps it’s OK for you to expect that quick commitment from her.
But if your product or service requires a deeper investment – of Mary’s money, time or interest – then it may be well worth your time and effort to establish a deeper relationship with her … and to set yourself (and your business) apart from the Joes online.
Take your time. Don’t rush things. Don’t be pushy.
Always Be Clear About Your Intentions
However, you still should always be clear about your intentions. You’re looking for a new client/customer/sale, after all, so make it easy for your prospects to say, “Yes!” as soon as they’re ready for the commitment.
This is why, along with the valuable content you provide at this stage of the relationship, you should always let your prospects know what they need to do to move the relationship forward … Click this link? Call this number? Opt-in to this newsletter?
Remember, you must make it EASY for them to take action when they’re ready! Provide clear instructions, accessible (working) links, easy-to-use forms. Nothing tricky or fancy.
Once they’ve gotten to know you, it’s OK to mention that you’d like to take the relationship to the next level. It’s OK … in fact, you NEED to ASK them if they’re ready to move forward. You need to ask Mary out on a date.
Just do so in a way that won’t derail the whole relationship if she’s not quite ready yet. You want her to eventually say “yes,” not report you to the police as a stalker.
YOUR TURN …
I welcome your thoughts, comments, and reactions to my articles. If you are so inclined, please leave a comment below. And if you’ve found this article interesting and valuable, please share it with others and strike up a conversation!