The first thing that is on the mind of a person who is starting a business is making a profit.
They understand in order to make a profit, they have to gain some customers.
In the case of new companies starting up in Silicon Valley, that is the exception to a degree because they are taking on venture capital from investors.
However, they too understand that if they do not turn a profit, then they will go out of business.
They try to avoid the inevitable by taking on more money from the investors so that they can figure out how to make money.
At the same time, the founders are giving up more equity in the company and in a sense are now “employees” because they are answering to their “bosses.”
When they are under pressure to make money and please their investors, they lose their vision of where they want to take their company.
Now with social media, many businesses, solopreneurs, employees or job candidates have the opportunity to get themselves on the map.
Especially for the founders of a startups, they feel like social media is heaven sent because it gives them an easier time to market their product and gain some new customers.
Unfortunately, they use social media wrong because they try to sell their products or services the minute they connect with a potential customer on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
They have the mentality of putting their own work or promotion on the social media hoping and praying that the customer will either follow them in the case of Twitter or Like their page in the case of Facebook.
When a business operates with the mentality of just selling their products and not engaging with their audience to gain a loyal following and build a community, they will end up turning people off.
In addition, the same people that they turn off with their self-promotion, will end up talking bad about the company.
I am going to share with you a company who basically lost all respect from me because they went straight for the sale after connecting with me on social media.
Will not give out their names because I don’t want to call them out here.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the founders of the company followed me on Twitter.
Before I follow back, I check out their profile to make sure that they are legit.
Once I saw they were legit, I followed the person back.
Later, the founder’s relative who works for the company followed me and I followed back.
Almost immediately, the founder send me an message asking me to like their facebook page and try out their service.
I politely declined and blocked him on Twitter.
Ironically, the relative who works for the company send me an invitation to connect on LinkedIn and I accepted.
Then he send me a direct message on Twitter about liking their facebook page and trying out their service and had the audacity to send me a message on LinkedIn relating to trying out their service.
I politely declined to try their services and immediately blocked him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
So how can you avoid making the mistake of trying to sell to your customers the minute you connect with them on social media and avoid having a bad reputation like the co-founder and his relative.
1. Listen to your audience
2. Participate in Twitter Chats like #sbizhour, #bizheroes, #millennialtalk, #socialhangout, and #blogchat
3. Create your own Twitter Chat. I heard that it allows a person or company to build a community. ApplesBees have their own Twitter chat called #LiveLunch.
Now building a community will not be easy.
However, it is worth it because you gather together people who have the same love for anything like travel or social media.
Here is an example of a lady who understands how to use social media the right way to build a business with additional advice on creating a community.
Amy Robinette started her company, “The Gold Buying Girl” with only $500 dollars in 2008 and has made it into a $21 million dollar business.
Sensing a need to also help women entrepreneurs, Mrs. Robinette created the Women Helping Women To Network group last year in August and has grown the community to 3,000 people.
She shared her expertise at the Houston Social Media Breakfast that was really great for anyone who are looking to build their own community online.
Here are some takeaways from the event:
Members want to know that the administrator is there. If you are not responding to questions that they posted, then you have already lost your community.
It is always important to meet each other in person because it deepens the relationship that you built with your community online.
Establish some guidelines when you start your community because it can get chaotic if you don’t have rules in place.
Always be professional. If you say that you are going to be at an event, make sure that you honor your word because if you do not show up, then you have tarnished your reputation.
AVOID DRAMA AT ALL COST
Allow others in your community to help you run your group because it is really a lot of work for one person to make it successful.
Build an e-mail list because social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. is only “rented space” and they can change the rules anytime that can affect your community. An e-mail list is your “real estate.”
Buiding a community online is not for the faint of heart.
It takes time and you must have lots of patience to make it work.
Even if you do succeed, you have to be willing to learn from others who doing well with their communities.
Have you ever thought about starting your online community? You can leave your comments below.
First appeared in Vallano Media