Social media is social. It’s about creating the social media community that you crave by surrounding yourself with people you love. There are tools out there that help you create and / or aggregate content from the people you appreciate. I used to be a fan of them. I am less a fan today. I think a better way to get people’s attention and show them some love is to either tweet, share, re-share or otherwise pass along their content to others. This is how to build the social media community you crave. Of course you should also reach out to the people you love directly. Tell them what you loved and tell them why you loved it. This makes it genuine. There’s too much noise these days so it’s more important than ever to be genuine with what you are doing. Building a social media community now more than ever will require that you make it clear that you’re genuine.
Paper.li is an example of a tool where you can aggregate content on Twitter based on a list you create or based on Key words. I have one of each. The Following Within is a list I created a long time ago. This was one way I was carving out the social media community that I craved. There were many people I was following back out of courtesy because they had followed me, but I really didn’t know them and didn’t have any interaction with them. It made my stream noisy. I created this list to carve out the “following” I really wanted to have within the bigger list of all people I was following. This allowed me to build my social media community by focusing on the smaller group of people I was most interested in. I kept a column in Tweet Deck and later Hootsiute with just that list. Then I would engage with the people from that list. At some point I made a Paper.li paper based on this list. It still goes out today. The other one I created which was of course based on my core competency was called “QuickBooks Shtuff.” This was based on QuickBooks as a keyword.
Paper.li is a great way to build your social media community by creating content based on what the people you love are putting out there. It also let’s you crowd source common interests. When paper.li publishes your paper, it gives some of the people a mention and spreads the word for them and about them.
How NOT to use a tool like Paper.li
When I came across a Paper.li from someone well known in our industry and saw that the person had based the entire thing on their own content alone I found myself shaking my head and thinking, “____ just doesn’t get it.” What’s even scarier is that this person frequently holds themselves out as an authority on these things. Yikes!
Social media is about community. The last thing you should be making it about is yourself. To pull a quote from Chris Pirillo, your community may surround you, but it isn’t about you.
Your social media community is about what you can contribute, not what you can take. When you make it about yourself you are taking – trying to promote yourself, and helping no one. Other than yourself that is. When you look for what you can contribute to help people, you will attract people who need and appreciate the help. This is how you build the social media community you crave.Then when you need it, they will help you. Paper.li is a useful tool for this purpose, but nothing is better than you going out there and directly engaging with people.
A few years back I was having trouble with my website. Some serious black hat SEO attacks. It was causing my site to show meta data on searches with info on Viagra etc, but pages with that code were nowhere to be found. In the past I had been able to easily identify the pages with the malicious code, remove it and update my passwords and that would solve the problem. I couldn’t figure this one out. So I went to Google Plus. Google Plus is where a lot of the “tech” part of my social community live. A guy reaches out and starts helping me. Not just posting comments, but really digging in with me to find a solution. When all was said and done I asked, “can I pay your for your help, I really appreciate it and I’m sure you had other things you could have been doing. His response blew me away. He flat out declined to have me pay him, explaining that my videos had been so helpful to him with his business that this was the least he could do to return the favor. WOW! That really says something doesn’t it? That’s how you know you’ve built a successful social media community. When you have a total stranger helping you because you put something out there that helped him!
I can pile on experience after experience. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to create content, but it works. The payoff is amazing. Eric Greenspan tells me all the time how I’ve made his job easy.
If you want to build a really rewarding social media community for yourself then just go out there and give of yourself. That’s what I love about our ABBO group on Facebook and that’s what I love about our SOB community at large. We have attracted the givers, and do you know what happens to the takers when they come around the givers? They don’t feel comfortable and they move on. This is a program of attraction, not promotion and it’s a program that works. Write your blogs, record your podcasts, and if you can stand it, fire up a camera and get yourself on YouTube please. You’ll be on your way in no time to building the social media community that you love.
Eric is offering sessions where he can help you with your accounting practice marketing 1:1. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this, especially if you’re not sure where to start, or where you’re going, or how to get to where you want to go.
When in doubt, just do something. Do anything you can think of to put information out there that would be valuable and useful. As long as you put something valuable out there in whatever format you enjoy, you’ll create the social media community that you crave. See a question being asked that you can answer? Expand your social media community by writing the blog post that answers their question. Then answer it briefly in the forum with a link to your post for the more detailed answer. They’ll thank you for it. Use common sense. You know when what you’re doing is based on adding value vs self-promotion. Guess what? So does everyone else.
Be genuine, keep it real, and keep on giving – you’ll get the social media community you crave and anything and everything you ever dreamed of, I can promise you that.
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