Learning how to improve your social media presence is challenging, yet vital to your brand’s success. The online market is huge, the world’s social media user base is massive, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. According to a 2019 study by Pew Research Center, 72% of American adults actively use social media, and that number keeps exponentially growing.
Clearly, neglecting this online market of billions of social media users would be a huge oversight for any sensible business. Like many entrepreneurs, influencers and business owners, I’ve scoured the internet for tips and tricks for boosting my social media following and improving my online presence.
While I’ve learned a lot from mentors and speakers, I attribute much of my success to certain books I’ve read that have guided me along the way.
While it’s true that over 73% of marketers reported success by implementing social media marketing as a significant component of their marketing strategy, not all engagement is created equal. Similarly, not all of the knowledge out there is equally as valuable.
Let’s take books, for example, as opposed to Google searches and online question-and-answer forums such as Quora.
Books offer more systematic, detailed strategies and unique insights that aren’t always available on blogs, on Quora, or via a Google search. Not every business owner is willing to take the time to read books, however. What does this mean for you? If you take the time to read books, you’ll gain a competitive advantage, since most people don’t read books about business.
Viralnomics by Jonathan Goodman
One of the books I’ve received immense value from is the book, Viralnomics: How to Get People to Want to Talk About You by Jonathan Goodman. In this book, Goodman offers insightful commentary on social platforms themselves while giving you plenty of actionable tasks that produce real results.
Unlike other blogs or guides out there, Goodman doesn’t leave any room for excuses. Instead, he gives you the tools and the information you need to cultivate a highly engaged following on social media, and guides you on how to execute his advice accordingly. This is one of the reasons why his book is so impactful.
As you know, I don’t believe in making excuses – I believe in taking action – even if you think you have the best excuse in the world to delay or procrastinate.
In this article, I’ll recap some of what I feel are the most important points in the book. In Viralnomics, Goodman’s advice proves to go a long way, even in small doses. But first, let’s discuss why it’s so important to improve your social media presence and grow your social media following.
Why is it Crucial to Improve Your Social Media Presence and Grow Your Social Media Following?
Social media followers convert into real customers, and social media growth facilitates the growth of your business. It’s as simple as that. If your social media followers enjoy your content, check your social media pages regularly, and come to love your brand because of your social media, what happens? They become real customers. They buy whatever product or service you’re selling. And everyone knows this.
What you post on social media is incredibly important. The more people resonate with your social media posts and share your content because it reflects their own thoughts, feelings, and values, the more you will improve your social media presence. And, the more you improve your social media presence, the more likely you’ll improve your overall sales and business growth.
You might be wondering, If it’s so obvious that a huge social media presence is good for business, why don’t more companies, businesses, brands and entrepreneurs have a larger social media presence? Well, I can answer this question in one word: Effort.
It requires time, resources, effort and patience to grow your social media following and improve your social media presence. It doesn’t happen overnight. Many companies, businesses, brands and entrepreneurs don’t have the time, energy or patience to do this. Even though they know how important social media is for business, they just don’t put forth the effort. Growing their social media is on their to-do list, but they don’t get to it.
That’s why you’ll have such a major advantage against your competition if you do put in the effort to grow your social media following and strengthen your online presence.
So, let’s discuss some of my favorite tips from Jonathan Goodman’s book Viralnomics, along with my own tips for achieving powerful social media growth, and subsequently growing your business.
Improve Your Social Media Presence By Giving Your Audience a Reason to Stick Around
One of my favorite analogies in the book Viralnomics is that of the metal spoon. Goodman describes a time where he was given a free sample, but he was given his free sample with a metal spoon instead of a disposable, plastic utensil.
Though Goodman originally approached the booth to take the sample and go, he was unwittingly obligated to stay with the marketer, and discuss the product. After speaking with the sample-giver and trying out the product, Goodman was sold— but only because he wasn’t given the freedom to walk away with his sample, without talking to the marketer about it. You see, he didn’t have a disposable spoon. No, he had a metal spoon that he couldn’t walk away with.
In order to improve your social media presence, you need to figure out what your metal spoon is. Having initially enticing pieces of information isn’t enough on its own. Goodman’s metaphor of the metal spoon empowered me to ask myself, “What is going to make my audience stay? What is my ‘metal spoon’?”
I’ve found that the best way to answer this question is to look at why I stay on my favorite brand’s social media pages. Perhaps they’re giving me a solid piece of advice or inspiration, and it’s so valuable that I don’t want to walk away or keep scrolling. I’m willing to listen because a brand is giving me personal value, not just content. Makes sense, right?
The Importance of Favors and Providing Value to the Community
Oftentimes as marketers, we focus far too heavily on what we can get from the consumer, rather than what we can give to our customers. Jonathan Goodman hits home on this point by asserting in his book, “Spend time every day looking for ways to do as many favors as possible.”
For most of us, this doesn’t feel natural. However, why would a consumer give something valuable to a business if they’re not getting something in return? Consumer trust is crucial, and Goodman is 100% right when he says that you have to earn it.
When Goodman talks about doing favors for your consumers, he’s talking about providing value to the consumer. This could be something simple like saying, “Thanks for following our Instagram page! As a thank you, here is a free eBook!”
Another ‘favor’, or as I call it, providing value, could simply be to thank a new follower by giving their Instagram page some love. Like their recent photo, comment on it with some words of encouragement. Sometimes you can do this before they’ve even followed your page, and because you showed their page some love, they will decide to follow you.
It often really is that simple. If you don’t have time to do this yourself, you can have a team devoted to this type of community engagement.
Manage your Online Community with Daily Interaction on Social Media
As I just explained, if you want to improve your social media presence and grow your following, you need to be devoted to community engagement. Engaging with the community should be done daily, and it involves commenting on other people’s social media posts, liking their posts, and even sending DMs. This type of role within a social media team is often referred to as a “Community Manager”.
Hiring a Community Manager who engages with your target audience by commenting on their social media posts is a great way to build a real, organic following.
Your Community Manager can provide value or ‘favors’ to the community by offering free eBooks, links to valuable blog posts, sharing their posts on your profile as a re-post crediting the original person who posted it, or simply commenting on their social media posts and showing their page some love.
By using this method, you’re likely to build much more meaningful interactions online, and build the type of loyal social media following that will actually buy your product or service. The old saying, “Sharing is caring” proves to be very accurate when it comes to social media.
If you want your business shared and cared for, you’re going to have to share and care for others. It’s as simple as that.
Learning What Type of Content People Share
In order to improve your social media presence, it’s essential that you understand why people share the social media content of others in the first place. In Viralnomics, Goodman breaks down the types of posts we tend to share into 5 main categories:
These may just seem like personal characteristics, which is exactly the point. Goodman argues that what we share is much more about self-representation than the content itself.
When a consumer chooses to share something, it’s partially because what they share is a representation of themselves.
My take on this is that it seems only natural that your target audience will want to share content where someone else has said exactly what they themselves are thinking or feeling.
Everyone wants to share content that represents themselves in the way they want to be perceived. It’s the same reason why you only see people posting the best pictures of themselves on their profile. With this in mind, you can begin to craft content to help your target market represent themselves in a favorable way. In other words, you need to understand how your target market wants to be perceived, and create content that helps them paint that perception of themselves. Do this, and they’ll want to share your content.
Another tip is to share content that evokes emotion. For example, many big brands use the emotion of nostalgia to sell products through social media. This is called nostalgia marketing, and it works because it helps you resonate with your following.
Think Before You Post Content: Will it Resonate?
So, the next time you share a post, ask yourself, “What does this content say about a person that would make them want to share it?” Implementing this simple thought exercise before you create your social media posts, will give you invaluable insight to vastly improve your social media presence.
If your target audience tends to share humorous content, get your social media manager to create a variety of funny, witty or smart memes that you can post regularly.
If your target audience tends to share motivational content about self-worth, believing in oneself, or self-improvement, create content that caters to that emotion of building oneself up.
Don’t forget that the more people resonate with your social media posts and share your content, the more you will improve your social media presence. And, the more you improve your social media presence, the more likely you’ll improve your overall sales and business growth.
Information is No Longer Valuable in Itself
Goodman drops a hard truth when he explains that simply sharing knowledge and information is not enough on its own. He shares an anecdote where he used to love reading the encyclopedia as a kid, simply to learn.
Nowadays, we are constantly bombarded with information online, so much so that the value of information has gone down drastically. It’s no coincidence that encyclopedia Britannica stopped printing in 2010. Perhaps they knew they couldn’t compete with the modern-day encyclopedia of Google? Understanding this is crucial in order to improve your social media presence.
The playing field is now much more level. For you to succeed, you’ll need to offer value to your consumers. Since anyone has the opportunity Google information, focusing on providing value will help you stand out.
Use unique analogies and examples when you provide information or share knowledge, so that people want to follow you simply because of the clear and captivating way that you share information. If you share valuable information in a way people can understand and appreciate, you’ll stand out.
This is why in Viralnomics, Goodman highly recommends fostering a community that enjoys the way you communicate to them, not just a marketplace. That way, people will return to your site for its ecosystem and in turn, feel more inclined to use your product or service.
Building Your Web
To improve your social media presence, you’re going to need a network. I’ve learned from Viralnomics that I shouldn’t be picky with who’s a part of that web. A web is a circle of friends or a community of supporters.
In the book, Goodman described it best when he described a connection with a Facebook friend he hadn’t spoken to in years. Even though Goodman and this person weren’t necessarily “friends” in real life, that person saw Goodman’s content and shared it on their own social media page.
Think about it this way: If you have five friends, you have five more chances to get shared than if you had just one friend. To improve your social media presence online, you’ll have to play a number’s game.
What if you want something more intimate for closer relationships? Goodman has a solution for that, too. In Viralnomics, he recommends having separate business and personal accounts. That way, when you’re on your business feed, you’re focused on engagement and not emotionally distracted.
Build your web with anyone and everyone. You never know who will be receptive to your content.
Learning From Media Giants
Jonathan Goodman talks about Sea Lions in his book. You may be wondering how these mammals can help you improve your social media presence. As it turns out, they serve as the perfect model for fostering a highly engaged audience.
In Viralnomics, Goodman notes how sea lions will feast on fish that a whale leaves behind, rather than try to compete directly with the whale. As I’ve learned from Goodman, this is precisely how we should learn from media or tech giants.
We need to learn how to cultivate similar followings in the way that huge social media influencers and media giants have. In this way, Goodman suggests reaching out to the engaged followers of social media influencers you admire, rather than the to influencers themselves.
You can combine this tip with the tip I mentioned earlier of adding value first, by showing these people some love and liking and commenting on their photos. While this may not be the most time-efficient way of doing things, it’s a surefire way to build a community. And, like I said, you can hire a Community Manager to do this for you.
Understanding Social Media First and Foremost
Understanding social media means that you understand how each different type of social media platform works, what its best used for, and understanding the different audiences for each. The video-sharing app TikTok, for example, is known for having a younger audience of mostly Gen Zers, as well as some millennials.
Innovative new social media platforms like TikTok will always pop up, and like TikTok, some of the new social media platforms will quickly grow to a user base of around 1 billion monthly active users, which is huge. However, as Jonathan Goodman points out in Viralnomics,
The biggest mistake that you can make is to attempt to keep up with new innovations before taking the time to understand why people use those innovations.”
So, going back to the example of TikTok, you must understand how TikTok works, who uses this social media platform, and why people use it. This understanding must be cultivated before you attempt to grow your presence on TikTok. The same goes for any social media platform you’re attempting to improve your social media presence on.
Don’t forget how crucial it is to learn how to improve your social media presence in order to grow your social media following and grow your business. As Goodman says in Viralnomics,
We work hard every day to ignore marketing so we can go home and put our feet up to relax. And when we do this, we go on social media. It’s a place where our subconscious takes over, it’s a place where we let our emotions dictate our actions, and it’s a place where we’re more open to persuasion than anywhere else.”
Investing in Yourself
I’ve learned from experience that one of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs, business owners and influencers make is not investing in themselves, and not reading enough books. In order to improve your social media presence and grow your business, you need to do so from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective.
What that means is you shouldn’t focus all of your energy on simply curating content. You’ll need fuel for that fire, which comes from acquiring more knowledge and more digital marketing skills. Acquiring more knowledge and more up-to-date skills is not only good for you, but it’s good for your business, too.
Just as an artist shouldn’t perform a song on stage without knowing the lyrics and emotions they’re meant to evoke, you should not put out content if you don’t have a firm understanding of your market.
Try your best to seek out more valuable information through books, blogs, videos and online courses. I typically don’t suggest buying books that were published a decade ago, because you want the knowledge to be relevant to the modern economy and the modern consumer.
The value of information online may have gone down in quality as a whole, but the silver lining is that much of it is free to consumers. And if cost is an issue for you, books are cheap. Most books are between $5 and $25, and many of them have insanely valuable information inside.
Why You Need Books to Be Successful
Investing in yourself in the form of self-education is important, but how should you go about that process, specifically? Aside from online courses, a very effective way to do so is by reading books.
Nowadays, not as many people are willing to sit down and take the time to read a book, which automatically gives you a competitive advantage if you get into the habit of reading every night. The fewer people who are reading books, the more unique insight you gain access to that your competition isn’t accessing.
A bonus tip I could give you is to order a paperback version of the book you’re buying instead of the eBook version. Sure, it might cost $5 – $10 more than the eBook version, but it’s nice to give your eyes a break from screen time. Reading in bed helps you fall asleep and get a better night’s sleep, because taking a break from screens before bed encourages a proper sleep cycle.
It goes without saying that reading books by business experts will help you grow your business. However, the caveat is that you need to read books by authors who practice what they preach.
When it comes to authors whose books you should buy, you can trust those who have built a successful business themselves, have grown a huge social media following themselves, and have become a self-made multi-millionaire themselves.
That’s why people buy my books. I have millions of followers on social media, and I am a self-made multi-millionaire entrepreneur who understands business and became successful. I enjoy sharing my secrets with others who strive for greatness, and that’s why I’ve taken the time to write over a dozen books.
Ready to Unlock The Secrets and Strategies for Growing Your Business and Growing Your Social Media?
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