I love mnemonics. (Primarily because my brain has turned into Swiss cheese as a result of a lovely symptom of fibromyalgia affectionately called “fibro fog” by many patients. Hey, we laugh to keep ourselves from crying over losing our keys yet again…)
Here’s a mnemonic that will mean the difference between goodwill and large subscriber numbers, and … the opposite of those two things:
All you gotta do is remember to take some T-E-A.
Transparency is the art of being authentic on the web.
It does not mean you’re oversharing about your bowel movements, people!
It means you identify the people behind the blog, the person doing the tweeting, whoever’s in charge of the Facebook updates.
It means you pull back the curtain a little bit. It means you’re honest about what you do — and what you don’t do — in your business or your art.
It means you don’t rush to delete every single negative comment on your Facebook page or blog. It means you deal with those comments openly (when possible). It means you acknowledge problems and tell your consumers or clients or audience members what you’re going to do to fix the problem.
Engagement is simply participating in the conversation, once you’ve gotten it going on any of the channels you’re using (i.e., your blog comments, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
It’s responding thoughtfully, and asking questions in the first place, but most importantly, it’s listening to the answers once the questions are out there.
It’s realizing, essentially, that you don’t have all the answers, necessarily. That your purpose is, to some degree, to give your paying public what they want. That in order to do that, you have to first figure out what they want – and the only way to do that? ASK them.
The conversation doesn’t necessarily have to be about you, your art, your product, your service. It can be about art generally. It can be about a different medium altogether. What could I, as a YA writer, learn by talking to my targeted readers’ parents, I wonder?
Engage. Be curious. Be open to what you receive.
Accessibility doesn’t just refer to a contact form or a phone number somewhere on your website.
It’s about authenticity, too (which also touches on transparency and engagement — these concepts all work together, to be sure). It’s about being a real person.
One of my favorite examples of this is a negative one. There’s a coach on Twitter (and no, I won’t spill the name or the field s/he serves) whose entire Twitter feed reads like one long boast.
My clients are the best. Whoot!
I LOVE what I do! Whoot!
I am SO THANKFUL that I have been blessed with the gift of changing lives! WHOOT!
Ugh. Give me a break. First of all, there’s this: No one buys this. No. One.
And then there’s this: if your life is all that and a bag of chips, why aren’t you out there living it? Why are you telling US all about it on Twitter?
And finally, this: If you’re so blissfully happy with things just as they are, then obviously, you don’t need me or my business.
How can you put some T-E-A in your online marketing? With more TEA!
- T: Take a look at your Twitter feed. Are you engaging and offering valuable information to the right people? Or are you simply tooting your own horn? Puffery is puffery, no matter where you find it — and it’s absolutely the wrong way to get clients on the web.
- E: Evaluate your website. Is it clear who you are, what you do, and who’s running your site? Or are you projecting an image that’s inaccurate or misleading? Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Everybody — and every business — has their own strengths and weaknesses. Your weaknesses don’t have to be ignored or covered up. In fact, they can be the reason your clients trust you, if you play it right.
- A: Actually talk to the people you’re interacting with via social media channels. Find out about them: their likes, loves, fears, problems. Yes, even their problems with your service or product (especially those, in fact).