At the age of seventeen, my first mentor in business was Nic Knievel, Bob (or Evel Knievel’s) brother. Nic became like a second father to me and largely made me what I am today in business. The amount of respect I have for him, his sales ability and the many things he taught me can’t be easily outlined in a blog post. It was just too substantial.
In honor of Nic, I would like to share something profound that he taught me, that is completely applicable in today’s social media marketing world. “You make more money with your ears then you will with your mouth!”. Imagine this said by an famous old stunt man, loudly and with massive intensity. This would definitely make an impression on you. I did on me…
The point is that many of us don’t understand this sales philosophy. Sometimes we are way too busy talking (posting) instead of asking questions, engaging in conversation and listening. Sometimes, we get too busy to take interest in our prospects businesses, interests and situations. Sometimes we forget that showing interest in others and what they do is how we build relationships and real connections.
It is my belief that the proper formula for effective social media marketing is:
Content leads to conversation, Conversation builds relationships and Relationships result in business or ROI.
Here are some reminders that will help you build relationships through questions:
1) Don’t forget to ask questions that expand your conversations with your friends, fans and followers.
2) Use open ended questions that show a sincere interest in your connections.
3) Show interest in what your connections do by asking about THEM.
4) After asking the questions, listen and respond.
5) Take action on others responses by sharing their content, website and information.
If effective social media marketing is about relationships and I believe it is, then taking the time to ask your community questions when they engage with you is imperative. Questions are the most overlooked opportunity to build relationships and reciprocate appreciation. Listening to what people are saying in response to your questions will guide you to the next steps of your social media relationship with them. Pay attention to how they are saying what they are saying, not just the content of their response.
Even the simplest questions can be highly effective. Some I often use with sincerity are:
1) So what exactly do you do (first name)? I truly want to know. Just asking and understanding, often results in being able to refer them to someone that needs what they do, or my own need being fulfilled in their product or services.
2) How’s it going? Seems simple, but sometimes it is simple enough to getting to know someone much better.
Simple but effective to opening up a conversation. The key is sincerity though. Don’t ask if you really don’t care. There is nothing worse than someone asking about you and then disappearing right away and never responding. This says you are not sincere!