Chances are, when we meet for the first time and I ask you what you’re looking for, you’ll burst out, “I wanna be on Facebook!”, and if we’re sitting at my favorite cafe, people are going to look at us funny.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be thrilled about your enthusiasm to jet your business or personal brand into social media, but I’ll squint my eyes at you and ask, “Why do you want to be on Facebook?”. And then your eyes will dart around the room, as you wildly search for your answer.
“Because it works, right?”
“I know we’re SUPPOSED to be on Facebook”
“Our competitors are on Facebook…aren’t they?”
“I have no idea”.
At least that last one is honest.
The truth is, you may not be sure why you want to be on Facebook, or Twitter, or (insert social media platform here), but you suspect it will somehow improve your bottom line. Which is true, just not in the way you’re used to.
Earlier this month, Chitika Research released the results of a study on online customer loyalty. The results? Google still sent the bulk of traffic, but when it came to repeat traffic, Facebook and Digg were the top two referring sites. Over 20% of Facebook referals come back for more.
For me that’s kind of a “well duh” moment because it makes perfect sense. Google is a search engine…Facebook is a relationship engine.
Let’s see how this plays out in a really cool relationship analogy.
Search engines are great for the “pick-up artist” and the “one night stands”. Not a whole lot of commitment going on in the search meat market, because with all those options, people are bound to play the field. Of course, sometimes you still meet “the one” in the vast sea of search (and we can talk about how to be “the one” later).
Facebook, in contrast, is selective. On Facebook, you start with who you know, and what you know, meeting others along the way as your network grows. Facebook is comfy, and homey. It’s apple-pie and picnics. It’s debates over coffee, and politics over the backyard fence. It’s teenagers sneaking off behind the garage for a smoke. It’s neighbors and family and co-workers and friends. It’s high school reunions every day. It’s tea at 3:00 and brunch tomorrow. It’s home movies and photo albums. It’s jokes and teasing. It’s pillow-fights and board games. It is a virtual version of the same thing that has been happening between people since, well, forever. So when a Facebook user agrees to fan or follow you, that means they already like you enough to give you a chance. You’ve already been invited over for tea.
What you do from there is what will create the difference between a casual relationship and a bond.
To move a relationship “to the next level”, you need to engage. If you’re always blabbing on about yourself and not listening, who’s going to invite you over for tea again, much less move things to the next level? So sit down, listen, and respond. Make your friends laugh, help them solve their problems, cheer them up, invite them to help you out, value their opinion, introduce them to new things and new people. Bring value to the relationships, and people will want to keep you around for the long haul.
So, take note. When you tell me you want to be on Facebook, and I ask you why, you say, “Because I’m ready to move my relationships to the next level”.
Don’t you think we could all use a little more commitment? Yeah, me too.