As a former publican, a lot of people think I’m one of life’s extroverts. The fact that I show up here and post on a regular basis might have you believing that I’m full of confidence and social charm, but the truth is I’m a wallflower.
I don’t naturally gravitate towards large clusters of people online, I prefer smaller groups and if there are lots of people then I tend to slink back and prop up the wall and maybe converse with some of the other wallflowers if I have to make eye contact.
If you’re a wallflower you can’t use that as an excuse to avoid social media marketing.
Don’t let the word ‘social’ get your knickers in a twist and let your blood pressure go through the roof. Social media sites offer a great opportunity for wallflowers to be social on your own terms. You chose to interact with others, but maintain control at the same time :), you can chose to be overwhelmed or you can chose to manage things the wallflower way
Wallflowers Don’t Hide.
When you’r a wallflower it can be tempting to hide. In fact the desire to hide can be alluring to the point where you step back and just observe. If you’re going to use social media for your marketing, tenacity is important. When you’re a true introvert, it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole world of people beyond yourself, but you do have to forget the urge to lurk.
All marketers need to schedule regular social media time and this is especially important for wallflowers, now a lot of people think I live on Twitter but the truth is I check in for 20 minutes each day and do what I have to do, if it’s important people will get in touch in another way – like picking up the phone. Check in to your social media accounts at least once a day to see what’s going on and interact with your friends and followers but don’t think you have to slavishly check in every hour – you don’t.
Personal vs. Professional
When you are uncomfortable with sharing a great deal publicly, it helps to keep personal and professional life separate.
This is actually a good idea for all marketers but some like me have just merged the two over the years and now it’s a a fuzzy mess :). Only reveal to your fans what you want them to know or what’s relevant to your marketing (for example, your experience in your niche, etc.).
Your fans don’t want to know if every day is a bad day, they don’t care if you are skint and they don’t care if the car don’t start in the morning, although they will however give you tips on what could be wrong with said car. While it helps to show a little bit of your personal side in order to connect with others online, you can keep it to the bare bones. Depending on your niche and your marketing strategy will depend on how up close and personal you really have to get…
Ease into It
If the thought of intereacting with total strangers terrifies the life out of you , dip your toes in first. There is no law that says you must jump in head first. Like anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, it takes practice to become better at socializing online. We are what we repeatedly do, therefore excellence is not an act, but a habit said Aristotle, and he’s not wrong.
- Practice commenting
- Develop a sharing strategy
- Ask questions
- Engage in conversations
- Set a goal for yourself to do X number of interactions each day
- Find like-minded people
The more you socialize online on a regular schedule, the easier it will become.
Don’t Force Yourself to be outgoing.
There’s no sane reason on this planet to pretend you’re extroverted when you’re not. You’ll connect much better to your audience by being yourself. It’s easier to make connections when you are being you. Don’t pretend to be outgoing and then struggle to maintain the facade. Be prepared for people to think you are the life and soul of the party, be prepared for them to see something other than you – it’s the way of the world. Over time you will find people who see you and not what they are looking for.
Find Your People
When you do this, you’ll find that there are others online with similar interests and you’ll make deep connections with them. A friend of mine found another wallflower back in the summer and watching their friendship blossom is just amazing. She found her people and she found them by being true to herself. When you find your people, your tribe, your audience (call them whatever you like) you’ll also build relationships in a relaxed, casual and non threatening way. What’s more it will feel good.
Find the Best Fit
If Twitter, which is all about real-time updates, pushes you too far out of your comfort zone skip it and use a different site. If Facebook is overwhelming then step back. While everyone needs to push beyond their comfort zone to grow, it doesn’t mean you need to run around like a loon or a bull in a china shop, it means you have to give yourself permission to take things one step at a time, one social network at a time.
Coming out of Your Shell
One of my biggest obstacles is that interactions on social media often don’t feel ‘real.’ Although you’re interacting with people, the face-to-face element isn’t there, you don’t see emotions, you can read things into conversations that are not there, and you can take things that are serious as a joke and vice versa.
Meet with the person or even talk to them on chat or Skype. Then, when you “see” them online, you’ll find it easier to start in conversation, but remember you don’t have to contact everyone at once, take things slowly. Do this networking thing at your own pace.
And if you’re still wary of getting involved in social media?
Boost your confidence by adding value to others. If you don’t feel that you’re adding enough value, find a way to give more. Be overly generous in your time and support – you’ll find it easy to make friends and gain followers. What’s more they will recommend you to others, and slowly but surely you’ll do more social networking and you’ll connect with your people.
What tips do you have for your fellow wallflowers?