I just read a great post on how to improve your communications skills with eye contact and it made me think – how does that play for our online world and social media where “face to face” is all online?
Despite webcams, smartphones with 2 way screens, and other aids to visual online communication, we still largely communicate online with little more than a static Gravatar to view.
But the main driver for social media success is communication, connection, and a reach out to others – friend or stranger. We seek likes, followers, messages because we seek human interaction – but there’s no eye contact, so how much does not come through…?
Yet, this non-visual connection medium renders such ubiquitous popularity! How? Some say there is a little extra “social safety” in veiled anonymity. I don’t know about that. I admit there is a more relaxed standard in talking to strangers on social media (and maybe we need a new definition for stranger?) but why do we connect with these strangers?
Maybe we have actually become more outgoing as a result of the built-in freedom of online networks?
- We don’t have to be dressed, or even showered, to talk to our friends, clients, colleagues anytime we want. :)
- We don’t have to worry that crossing etiquette boundaries of interruption or intrusion as the receiving party can read and answer at their convenience.
- We can ponder and properly pose our responses better than in immediate face-to-face conversation.
But are we really conversing online? Not usually. Sure, we may “comment” but a real conversation is rare. But, don’t miss the point that Social Media often acts as a segue to an offline conversation and perhaps then a deeper conversation.
That is the BIG point that Small Businesses and Non-Profits often miss.
The point of Social Media is to build relationships, not sell. Just like when you are face-to-face with a client or donor, you try to connect your product or cause with their needs while also building a relationship with them that ties them to you. If they like you, they’ll come back, right? Even if they can get your same product or service elsewhere, they liked YOU more than what you offer. Social Networking is your avenue for them to get to know YOU.
Your product or service is secondary to the impression you make on your prospect. Are you listening?
Recognize that your social media network is your prospect’s first glimpse of you. It’s their first impression of you. It’s a customer or prospect walking in your store or office for the first time. It’s a chance for a visitor to learn if they truly like you enough to do business with you and possibly repeat business.
Yes, you can educate others about your products, services, causes…, but do it in a social way. Don’t bore them to tears with facts and figure. Don’t scare them away with continuous shouts about you, you, you.
If you aren’t doing it in person, why would you do it online? Get SOCIAL.