This post was written by author, social Web strategist and community builder Liz Strauss. She is the author of Successful-Blog.com and is a co-founder of SOBCon. Strauss will be speaking at SOBCon 2011, which will be held in Chicago from April 29 to May 1.
Here we are with a blog, a Twitter account, and profiles all over the Web. The problem is that getting traction from any of these outlets seems to be taking forever. We’ve shown up on the newest, coolest, hottest, most talked-about venues. Yet any message we send seems to find only a handful people ready to listen — and not all of them are ready to act when we ask.
The process isn’t nearly as easy as we were led to believe. Or maybe we’re doing something wrong.
How do we get the right people to pay attention to what we’re doing for them? Try these six steps to earn and keep the attention of the people you want to reach:
- Talk to the fans you already have. Reach out to the reachable. Pay attention to the people who already love what you do. They build your business by sharing you with their friends. If you want folks to listen, they need to know the message is for them. Tailor your message to the folks who already love you. Let them know you appreciate them. Show them in the way you design your message, in the way you design your site, in the way that you phrase your ideas and conversation. Connect with them one at a time, using your blog and your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Recognize them as heroes. Talking to everyone is like talking to no one. Every great message is specifically tailored to the listener.
- Join their parties, too. It’s unrealistic to expect even the most ardent fans to always come to you. Go to them. Find the spaces and places where they meet and make friends — their natural habitats. Learn their culture; join their conversations; use their tools. That’s where you’ll learn which messages resonate most. If your fans text all day, don’t rely solely on Twitter to communicate with them.
- Know that one simple message is stronger than 10. Tell your fans what you want them to know in as few words as possible. Be helpful, not hypeful. Put the idea out there, then trust your fans to appreciate your simple, authentic message. A simple invitation or remark delivered with enthusiasm is natural — pitching our friends to buy stuff or “like” us is not.
- Tell your fans how they can support you. What do you want your fans to do? Ask, but don’t beg. Let them know how they can contribute or support your efforts if they value what you do.
- Give your fans a reason to want to help you. See things from your fans’ point of view. We can’t do everything people ask of us and handle our own stuff, too. Give your fans a reason, and they will be proud to act on your behalf. Show them how they stand to benefit if they find a way to do what you ask.
- Make sharing your site or your offer easy to do. Package the action you want so that all it involves is a quick click, a shout-out, a retweet — and show how doing that is filled with tons of satisfaction for sharing. The easier and more satisfying you make it to share, the more likely it is that folks will, too.
It comes down to this: If you want folks to pay attention to you, start by paying attention to them. Be fun, entertaining, interesting, compelling, creative, surprising, or amazing enough to talk about. Know, love and serve the folks who love what you do. They’ll do the rest. They’ll even get other folks to pay attention, too.
Image credit: Liz Strauss