Last week I had a brave stab at explaining to a client, using the written word, the difference between broadcasting and engaging on social media. I didn’t do a particularly good job. I think it could have been more easily explained in the spoken word, better still by demonstration.
But here’s the interesting thing. While I was trying to explain that, someone was demonstrating it on Facebook perfectly. And exactly as I was attempting to describe. In real time. Live. Building relationships, achieving rapport, showing interest in me, and making a fan for life.
And that person is Daphne.
Here’s the whole story.
Daphne Kapsali gave up her life in London for a while, deciding to spend 100 days of solitude on the Greek island of Sifnos where her family has a summer home. She raised £3,240 from 103 backers on Kickstarter to help bring this project to life. She stayed on after everyone else had gone home, giving herself 100 days to see if she could become a writer.
100 Days of Solitude is the publication of 100 daily blog posts which describe what happened next.
I love solitude, me. And Greek cats too. And Daphne was kept company by a couple of those. She tried to grow her own veg. She was thought eccentric by the locals. She survived the dramatic winter weather.
I bought the book on 30th August so Amazon says. I consumed it avidly within a few days and shared on Facebook how much I was enjoying it which caused Nicola, my podcast partner, to pick it up and enjoy it too. It inspired her to give up her UK home for six months and go and live in Stoupa in Greece starting this October, which is pretty much the same time of year as Daphne began her stay.
I went to Daphne’s website, I found out about the Kickstarter thing, I spoke about it on our podcast which encouraged at least one listener that I know of to read the book. I connected idly with Daphne once or twice, not thinking anything of it. I shared her book a couple more times at least. I Liked her on FB and followed her on Twitter.
On Monday I saw her say that she’d got 49 reviews on Amazon and 50 was the magic number. So I went and left the fiftieth review, popping back to Facebook to tell Daphne I’d done it.
She then went and read my review and engaged with me about what I’d written and about my own plans, which island I was intending to be enjoying my own solitude on and when. She asked me to keep in touch and says she means it. I believe her.
I’m now a devoted fan for life and this is precisely how I believe social media works, when done well and effortlessly, as Daphne illustrates. Make connections with people with whom you have stuff in common in a way which is beneficial to both parties. Remember how and when we used to do that IRL? Many of you still do, I know. But if you know how to do it offline, then you already know how to do it online too.
Daphne is a natural at this, clearly. Check her out on FB and see her in action. And look at that tempting invitation in her FB header: “Join my advance readers’ team and read new books for free before they’re released.” Thank you, don’t mind if I do. Gotta love a woman who gets an apostrophe in the right place. Twice.
A little bit of Daphne’s fairy dust rubbed off on me, and when I was talking to another client later that same day I discovered she’d experienced the same thing with Daphne too. She’d done or said something nice about Daphne’s book on FB and Daphne had responded. That’s the way to do it! My client was also delighted.
Some will say this is time-consuming, to be online all day connecting with and creating devoted fans. I don’t think it needs to be all day, but I do think you want to be making time for it but only if you discover that Facebook is a medium which you love, or can learn to, that it works for your business and that you recognise this as marketing which is work, not time-wasting. No doubt there are a gazillion opportunities to waste time online, but what Daphne and I did together last week was not that.
You can only be online live in real time in your own time zone of about 8 “work” hours, which means the world divides into approximately three of those. And by all means schedule some stuff as well, that’s efficient. But remember to hang out and talk to people as if t’were a virtual tea party or cocktail ditto. Enjoy it. Love them on FB and they’ll love you back. That’s very much my experience.
I reckon the name of the game is to create content of your own and share it, curate the content of others and share that too, abundantly. And then choose to be available to talk to people about stuff you like, stuff they like, opinions you hold, things you have in common and things you don’t. In this way you demonstrate your brand values, whether or not you realise it.
Don’t just broadcast, which I see as the equivalent of standing on a street-corner with a megaphone. It’s cold. It’s about the dissemination of information which is not what I believe this magical opportunity to connect is all about. By all means broadcast a bit if you must, but then make time to follow through with the vital relationship-building stuff. And in approximately real time; no-one’s interested days later when the discussion has moved on. Yawn.
On that same day, in addition to Daphne, I engaged with Facebook friends who are clients past, present and future, about coffee-flavoured luxury yoghurt, a book launch, TV, recommended films and music, drug-free cures for health issues, inspirational quotes and memes, clients’ photos and news, thought-provoking articles and light-hearted ones, pictures of cats, funnies, horoscopes, politics but with a small p (pensions for women of my age), threads of interest, enjoying others’ wins, sharing, encouraging, moaning about Royal Mail, and photos, lots and lots of lovely photos. Oh, and VAT!
And what, you might ask, has all of that got to do with business coaching? Only everything!
This all allows you to get to know me and what I stand for before you choose to do business with me, and me to get to know you too. That’s paramount. Happily I find it enjoyable work. If you do not enjoy it (yet), then we need to find another way for you or a way for you to slip elegantly into the water and find that it is much warmer and more supportive than anticipated.
I must also stress at this point that it is work. If I didn’t have a business, I wouldn’t do any of it and that doesn’t mean I do any of it now either cynically or commercially. It is just one way of doing business which I enjoy and also find expedient. The fact that I can explain what I see working doesn’t detract from the magic of it.
Here’s an article I wrote a while back, when Like was the only choice of response on FB. Now you can Like and Love and Laugh and Cry and be Angry and say Wow! This is what it means When I Like you on Facebook.
If you only do one thing on Facebook today, take a tip out of Daphne’s playbook and make someone’s day. Make them feel special. Make it all about them.