The Role of Social in Today’s Online Business Building
Many business owners today struggle with social media. It requires time to learn, time to execute, and time to realize real benefits. And time, as we know, is at a premium.
It helps though to understand not just what social can do for you, but the role that it can and should play in growing your online business. If my high school math teacher could have imparted to me a greater understanding for the need for math, I might have been more enthusiastic in my studies!
Before we get into what social is and the role it should be playing in your business, it may also be helpful to talk for a moment about what social isn’t.
What Social Isn’t
First and foremost, social media is not an advertising medium. If you treat your social channels as a way to broadcast your business products and services, that’s nothing more than social spam, and what few followers you have will treat it, and you, accordingly.
On the other hand, it’s not a virtual playground either. Other people can have fun chatting with friends and playing games, and you can too. On your own time. We’re talking about growing your business, which means that your time spent needs to be driven by business goals.
What Social Is
And those goals are what leads us to better understand what social is, and the way that businesses can successfully leverage social media.
When I was young, my parents took me to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Cleveland, Ohio. I was amazed. I don’t have an issues with clowns, so it was fun to see them running around and being shot out of cannons, and the animals were incredible. But nothing thrilled me more than the high wire act. Those acrobats were stupendous! Dancing, jumping rope… even driving motorcycles… all on a thin rope well above the ground with no net.
The key, of course, is balance. The acrobats can jump up and down and waive their arms, but through years of practice, are always making tiny adjustments that correspond with and counteract every movement. The right arm flies out just as the left leg kicks up to compensate for the change in weight distribution. All the while, staying in tune with the movement of the high wire itself.
That’s the element that many onlookers don’t consider. The wire is moving. Up and down, side to side; constantly shifting not only where the acrobat needs to step next, but how their balance is going to be affected.
Social Media is a high wire act.
You have to strike a balance between promoting yourself and being social. Between activities that results in sales, and activities that result in relationships. And all the while, you do so on a platform that’s moving beneath you.
Followers come and go; are active or not. The technology changes. The business changes. Competitors and industry leaders share information and drive conversations, and real life is always an intrusion.
Through it all, what will matter most and last the longest is the relationships you’re about to foster and strengthen.
That’s the role of social media in building an online business. Relationship building.
Businesses can and should share content and information and work to drive sales, but the most effective strategies will include an element of relationship building. In future articles, we’ll be exploring this topic in far greater detail. We will be talking about relationships with customers, relationships with influencers, and the differences between them. We will be talking about scalability and accountability. And we will be talking about exactly how businesses can use social media to grow their business and improve their online authority.
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