The Three ‘Rs’ of Social Media Success

Apart from the paradigm shift that needs to happen in professional practice (a more transparent landscape), success is guaranteed by dint of:

1. Relationships

2. Reciprocity

3. Reach.

Those new to social media may have found it is easy to connect with people:

  • Twitter allows you to follow 1999 without a single person following you back;
  • LinkedIn connections can be added at a rate of knots, particularly if you use the ‘add connections’ facility and import and send invites to your contacts stored in Microsoft Outlook;
  • Pinterest may have grabbed your attention and you may have got a rash of followers but what does it mean (check out Gary Vaynerchuk‘s page before you invest any more time in the platform)?

However, in order for you to move out of the sphere of anonymity you have to develop deep, meaningful and lasting relationships.

The idea that you can beg, bug or buy your way to success still pervades the social media landscape. The truth is that everyone is looking for the quick wins, but nothing is that easy. Success is not an overnight phenomenon: you have to show up, stay engaged and act like you (genuinely) care!

No one is interested in you.

They are only interested in how you can help them, add huge value to their business and not fleece them in the process.

Yes you might spring the trap and start the process of engagement via social media but you still have to deliver on your promises. It is trite to suggest that all you have to do is over-deliver and under-promise, but those people that are willing to make bigger promises and deliver every time, will cement their on-line engagement to the point where said consumer will then tell everyone they know to use you. It makes them look good if nothing else.

Of course, we all know this (I bloody hope so!) but seldom do people step up to the plate.

Too much is taken for granted.

When it comes to the idea of reciprocity, we revert to a simple scoring system: you refer – I refer.

But this is not reciprocity. This is a commercial arrangement where you have no interest in the other party beyond what you can get out of the relationship. In time, if the other doesn’t deliver to the same degree as you, then you look elsewhere for a better suitor.

But genuine reciprocity isn’t premised on the value of the ‘deals’.

It is based on the idea of adding more in value to the relationship than simply the money received.

And as to reach, you will never scale your social media efforts unless you understand relationships and reciprocity.

It doesn’t just come down the maxim of being known, liked and trusted.

You have to give people a genuine reason to help you. It won’t work if all you do is speak with an ego voice. You have to adopt a system that allows you to get inside your buyer’s head and understand why they want to tell others who will tell others why they should drop what they are doing to see what all the fuss is all about. And if you have been on platforms like Google+, you will have seen that the people who show a commitment to their communities don’t spend much time talking about their amazing offering. In many cases they don’t even talk about their area of expertise. They just want to help.

This doesn’t mean you have to accept a life of lack and not wave your (sales) flag from time to time, but, if you do, give people a genuine reason to work with you.

When you are next in a meeting pontificating over the rights and the wrongs of social media, stand back for just a moment and ask yourself how well equipped you are to leverage the three Rs.

Social media in all its guises is not going away. But if you want to make more of it than just a bunch of vacuous Tweets you have to turn pro.

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