“Why do potential clients like me, but not book me?” This is the question my client asked today. He is a creative entrepreneur and has been diligently building his online tribe as part of his marketing strategy. According to the raving comments his followers write on my client's social media posts, they like him and his work. But no jobs come from it. My client wonders if he is wasting time on social media and whether he should buy a list or try something else to get more measurable results.
Do you feel the same? It takes quite of bit of time to truly engage your tribe. If it isn't bringing in paid work, it can feel like it's all in vain.
Really, how good are fame and 'likes' if you have no money in the bank?
Here are three simple reasons why you want to try even harder to engage your followers:
1. You can get paid for your strong following. Many companies don't know how to bridge the gap between Millennial and Boomer buyers, and end up aimlessly advertising to a broad audience without hitting the mark for any demographic.
I have a combined following of over 50,000 people across my social networks and I can quickly reach a defined demographic. Other companies are willing to pay for that type of targeted marketing. Your efforts on social media become a valuable investment opportunity for other businesses because your followers don’t fast-forward through your messages. They pay attention to what you have to say.
2. Clients feel confident hiring you when you have loyal followers. You’ve heard it before—it’s all about social proof. You need a clearly defined position on what you stand for and against to make it easy for others to understand and 'like' you. Your followers are proof that what you say and do is relevant. They demonstrate to others that you matter. If it comes down to choosing between two qualified candidates and one has a larger audience, guess who gets the job?
If you are employed, it is equally as important for you to stand out. You earn clout at the office when thousands of others feel your opinions are relevant. Your market value just went up—take advantage of it. Your employer can’t afford to lose you because you have your finger on the pulse.
3. Followers who interact with you most are your brand ambassadors. Engage with them and really nourish your interactions. Go ahead and give them the red carpet treatment. But please, don’t even try to insert a sales pitch. I want you to focus on building relationships versus selling. Generously provide something valuable and they will give you their loyalty. An article I wrote about the four stages of social networking is helpful for understanding how online relationships happen.
And just in case you are wondering, less is still more. Fewer and deeper interactions are better than lots of mediocre ones. Don’t waste your time if you have nothing relevant to say or are only posting links without explaining why the information matters to your tribe.
My steadfast opinion is that very few job opportunities or career choices will be available for those who do not build a following. If you still think social networks are only for staying in contact with family and friends—think again.
Social networks are part of your career advancement strategy. They provide a testing ground for your personal brand expansion and they measure how successful you have been. Whatever you post, always remember you are representing your personal brand. Do your posts help or hurt your image? Truly personal messages and opinions should only be communicated via private text, phone, or (even better) face-to-face. NEVER on social sites.
And please do watch out for our next blog post, where we walk you through how to take your online relationships, powerfully offline. Turning your followers into brand ambassadors, and best of all... clients.