Good Relationships + Good Content = Social Media Power User

At a recent training session, I reviewed my Facebook newsfeed with with the class.  Several remarked later how cumbersome the newsfeed appeared with my having to sort through so many commercials.  With over 880 friends and over 100 Pages, it's hard to keep my  newsfeed in balance and readable. Every month or so, I go through and delete some pages, and yes ... I hide some friends ... I have to keep the newsfeed manageable because  I don't want to miss the good stuff. What's the "good stuff?"  The posts from the people I care about most.

Relationships are KEY

Commercials or directly marketing whatever it is you sell, is  okay as long as there's some kind of relationship between you and the friends who are reading your promotional post.  A balance (maybe 80% - 20%) between your personal interaction (80%) and your marketing (20%) post is something to keep in mind.  Think about how you feel when you read through your own newsfeed.  Who do you skip over?  Who do you always stop and read?  What kind of posts get your attention?

I ask this question at every seminar - "What posts do you always stop and read?"  Every group responds the same.

ANSWER: My family, my close friends, people who are funny. (people I already feel a connection with)

People tend to skip over posts from those they don't know well, and read posts from people they like.  The relationship with the poster is way more important than content.  Most people will tolerate mundane, even boring posts from close friends or family.  Imagine all your Facebook friends saying, "I don't care about what you're posting or selling if I don't care about you."

I love to read posts from a writer friends about their new books for sale or book signing events.  In fact, those posts move me to buy the book or attend the event.  I welcome posts from friends who write about their new products or services.  In fact, if you're my friend, I'll even spread the word to my friends.  That's the beauty of social media.

But the operative word here is "friend."  That word indicates that we have a relationship... that you care about me and I care about you.

If you are a Facebook friend who has never commented on my posts or written on my wall ... in fact, if you're a friend who has never communicated with me at all, whom I can barely identify ... and you post something about a new product or an event you want me to attend ... it's very likely I'll ignore the post or won't even notice it.  If you hound my newsfeed with ads, I'll ignore you all together, probably hide you ... or worse ... defriend.  Sound harsh?

Good Relationships + Good Content = Power Social Media User

When strong relationships marries good content the results can go viral. You become a social media power user.  People stop and read your posts because they like you AND they like what you write.

The more I talk to other social media users, the more I discover that most are like me.  Most read their newsfeeds  just like a newspaper. Interesting headlines and interesting columnists get read.  The rest just gets skimmed over.  We stop at topics of interest and people we like.  So the key in getting your information read and spread is to develop relationships first and always consider entertaining or providing what is of most interest to your friends.

COMMENTING & POSTING - Write what you'd want to read

To build relationships, comment 5 times more than you post.  Commenting is easy.  Just take the few seconds to do it.  When you read an interesting post imagine you were right there with the person and he / she was verbally telling you what was written in the post.  You wouldn't say, "that's nice."  You'd interact.  Commenting on a post is a direct affirmation to the friend.  It says, "I read this.  I noticed you.  I recognize you." This is a great gift.  Sincere interest in others builds relationships.


WHEN COMMENTING, KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE POSTER

I'm continually amazed at how many people post comments that bring the focus or attention away from the original poster.  This is a mistake. Don't try to bring the focus back to you when commenting on a friend's post. 

If a friend or family member posts, "Will be seeing my grandson for the first time in a year tonight.  Can't wait to see how he's grown" an appropriate comment would keep the focus on the poster and the grandson.

Good comments:  "Wow, how old is your grandson now." or "I hope you'll post some photos."

Self focused comments:  "I have a grandson. He's the light of my life." or "My grandson just turned two. We had his birthday last week."

So often, people commandeer the post and draw attention to themselves in the comments.     These are not relationship building.  These comments highjack the focus and redirect it to the commentor.  Sometimes - especially when the relationship between poster and commenter is very close (sister, best friend), the detraction isn't felt.  But in most cases, the conversing back and forth is halted as the commenter has created a new focus - himself.

PAGES - Suggesting to Friends

Every day I get at least one request to be a fan of a page.  I ignore 90% of them.  Harsh?  Maybe.  But remember, when I'm a fan of your page, everything you post on that page (which is almost always commercial-esque) shows up in my newsfeed.  So mixed in with the  friends' post I have to sort through sare posts about stores, products, services, destinations, public appearances and poliitical commentary from my Pages.



 I'm interested in reading posts from Pages that I elected to fan, i.e. pages that focus on my personal interests such as Ireland, small towns, and mystical places.  But  I don't want to clog up my newsfeed with unwanted commercials. I most value the posts on Pages where I have a relationship with Administrator or an avid interest in the subject, but I chuckle at - and sometimes resent - the folks whom  I've never met that friend me (with no me message attached) and within a week ask me to be a fan of a Page.  Wouldn't it just be easier to put a message on the friend request that says, "Sign up here to receive my free commercials?"

If you're administrating a Facebook Page, consider what your fans may WANT to read before posting.  What would be of value or interest to your fans, not what is the best thing to promote.  Consider the first sentence in your post.  Ask yourself, "What headline would catch the eye of your fans when they're  scanning down their newsfeeds?"

The Golden Rule is Applicable in Social Media

Treat people like you want to be treated.  Post what you'd like to read.  Be more interested in others than in yourself. You can usually tell if you are developing relationships and posting good content by the comments you receive.  A lot of comments usually indicates that you are engaging others.  This is the goal of social media.

Here are some quick tips for getting what you post read and developing relationships that will pay off later...
  1. Comment 5X more than you post.
  2. Keep comments focused on the poster.  Don't be self focused.
  3. Think about what people want to read before posting
  4. When appropriate, interact with other commenters on a friend's post.  These could be new friends, new relationships.
  5. Always work on developing relationships with friends.  If you haven't had contact in awhile with a particular friend, post something on his / her wall - that is focus on the friend (not you).  Reconnect and maintain relationships.  Each of your friends has a value that is priceless. Don't take any one of your friends for granted.
  6. Before suggesting your Page to a friend (or asking her to suggest your page to her  friends), make sure you have a relationship with the person or a common interest in the subject matter.  Otherwise the friend will feel used.
  7. Recognize those who comment on your page or posts

In life, when you focus on others - the needs of others, the interests of others, they will reflect that focus back to you.  The same works in social media.  You can develop a strong network of contacts and relationships that can be leveraged when you want to sell a new product, develop a strong customer base, get referrals, learn new techniques, find new vendors or simply spread awareness about a cause.

Are you on Facebook? If so ... visit our Viral Networking Page.  Lots of Social Media tips shared.