If you’re starting out with social media (as a personal brand or company), it can be a long climb to build up a base of people who will engage with you, your questions, and your content. Too often on social media you can start out by addressing audiences you haven’t met, don’t know, and haven’t communicated with before.
As a result, you flounder around trying different approaches to catch the attention of busy people on busy platforms, or they accumulate a following of bots and strangers with little investment in your brand. Social media becomes a random guessing game, and so you drop it.
There are lot of ways to build a following organically, but I’m beginning to think that one of the best ways to build solid social communities is by starting out with face to face encounters. Most of the people who actively engage with the content on this blog and with my posts on social media are people who already know me, from family members to people I’ve met through Praxis, BitPay, and other adventures (including conferences and events).
Having a pre-existing relationship makes the transition to conversations on social media much more natural. It gives people a reason to be more invested in what I might have to say or ask on social media. And it gives me a clear reason to keep up communications, to listen, and to respect and cultivate my relationships on social media with the same care I would use in person.
Similarly, if you’re a professional with a few years of experience under your belt, you have enough of a known network of real people that you can start building your presence on social media by talking to *them*. Don’t talk to “potential followers”. Have the kinds of online conversations with people you know that you would have in person with the people you know.
Use and enjoy social media as a way to develop your existing relationships with real people. Create value for them. Other people will find you through that core group of connections you already have.