I was recently working with a client who was an expert in her field of women’s leadership. She was frustrated that she’d been spending a lot of time on social media, particularly LinkedIn and Facebook, yet her social media strategy wasn’t working. She was finding it difficult to make the link between her social media presence and the leads – and sales – she wanted to achieve.
She said, “I’m spending so much time on social media, but I don’t really know where best to spend my time. I don’t know what’s going to get the results. Do I just focus on putting my content out there? Or do I use Snapchat? Should I write a blog or just share content? I don’t feel like I have a system or a process in place, and I’m losing time quickly.”
I had a look at what she was doing. I ran an audit of her social media profiles and discovered that her messages were inconsistent, so she wasn’t getting the results. She was also focusing on the wrong metrics, such as likes and comments, to gauge the effectiveness of her social media presence. I find this a lot with the clients I work with.
An effective social media strategy is vital to generating leads and sales. A study by Forrester Research found that a person consumes 10 pieces of content before they make a decision about working with you, and 90% of that decision is made before they even get in touch with you.
This means that you need to be three-dimensional with your thought leadership and social strategy. This model explains how this works: (please click on link at the bottom to see the model)
Level 1: Visibility. At this level, you’re trying to be consistent with what you curate and share. You are helping people become familiar with your face and your message, as these are the two most important assets you have. However, I see a lot of people curating and sharing information that is at odds with their message and fails to help their audience.
Visibility is about supporting your clients. It’s being able to show them the research that supports and validates what you’re saying.
The leverage you can receive from this level is about 25% of what’s possible. However, the famous sales expert Harvey McKay once said, “don’t confuse visibility with credibility.”
Level 2: Credibility. Now that you have visibility, you need to focus on your credibility. Credibility is extremely important, as it gives you about 50% of the leverage that’s possible from your social strategy. To have credibility is to give your business strength.
Credibility is being able to demonstrate to people that you’re a professional, that you’re an expert in your field. It’s about providing your original thoughts and ideas on your area of expertise. Sharing your original thought leadership takes you from thought follower to thought leader. It makes people really listen to and believe what you have to say. It was the leadership expert John Maxwell who said “Credibility is a leader’s currency. With it, he or she is solvent. Without it, he or she is bankrupt.”
Level 3: Personality. Now that you’ve established your visibility and credibility, at this top level you need to focus on your personality. The amount of leverage you can receive here is 100% of what’s possible. Sharing your personality with your audience is about establishing your authenticity. It gives you flavour and uniqueness. People want to see the person behind the message, so they can connect with you more easily.
Make the most of opportunities to share your personality “on the run”. For example, if you’ve attended an event, spoken at a conference, or created a book – post about it and share images on your social media. It was Walt Disney who brought so many characters long before social media who said “until a character becomes a personality it cannot be believed. Without personality, the character may do funny or interesting things, but unless people are able to identify themselves with the character, its actions will seem unreal. And without personality a story cannot ring true to the audience”.
So, bear in mind that you can’t skip straight from Level 1 to Level 3. I see a lot of people trying to do this. Start-ups, in particular, put a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed, and rush to Level 3 without building a solid online presence first. It’s a bit like making a cake: we try to put the icing on the cake, but we didn’t pay close attention to the ingredients and method, so the cake itself is a mess. Only once you have a strong foundation of visibility and credibility can you work on the personality side of your social media strategy.
Love to know your thoughts…