The Real Power of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

It’s not what you think.

(The car was in park, don’t worry) Photo source: cristofer.co

Social media is important.

“You’ve gotta get on Facebook.” “Twitter is where it’s at.” “You need an Instagram presence.” “Is your LinkedIn profile up-to-date?”

These are things we hear said every day.

But why?

Is it because social media provides you a megaphone through which you can vomit your message?

No.

The real power behind each of the social networks I named (and others I didn’t), is that they remove gate-keepers and level the playing field.

Of course there’s value behind gaining a large social media presence for the purpose of spreading your message. Social networks are the modern-day equivalent of having a soap box set up in Times Square. By utilizing them properly, you can reach people at scale.

But the real clincher is how easy social media makes it to reach people you could never have reached before.

In 2017, 81 percent of Americans had a social media profile.

Consider for a moment you’re trying to get in touch with the CEO of a major corporation. There’s an 81 percent chance she’s got a social media profile. This means you can reach her.

Whether you do so by @ mentioning her on Twitter, or with a micro-targeted ad campaign on Facebook, or an InMail message on LinkedIn or DMing her on Instagram, it doesn’t really matter. The fact remains that you can reach her. Directly.

In the not-too-distant past (read: 20 years ago), in order to reach the same CEO, you would have had to step through countless hoops, get passed by assistants to managers to directors to more assistants to executives, to another assistant and finally — if you managed to persevere this long — you might get a note to her.

Now, with a simple @ mention you can start a conversation with her directly.

But what about the assistant that’s managing her social media profile? Won’t they just answer the message for her, or ignore it, or, or, or?

Maybe. But that’s where value comes in. And also understanding how people approach social media.


First, we’ll take value.

If your first message is: “Hi CEO, I want you to buy this great thing I’m offering”.

You won’t have very much luck.

If, however, in your first message your provide value, you’ll have a much better time. Providing value can come in many different forms.

It could be as simple as telling her your appreciated a talk she gave. How is this valuable? Genuine compliments make peoples’ days better. Making someone’s day better is valuable. Especially when you contrast it with the number of problems any given person is given on a daily basis. It’s nice to have some good news.

Another way to provide value to someone is by looking at what they may need help with, and giving them help with that. For free.

This doesn’t mean you should never get money for a service or product your provide. But in order for someone (especially someone who’s got people selling them things left and right) to take notice in something you’re offering, you need to give them a reason to. There’s no better reason to take notice of someone than if they’re already providing you with value.


Now, onto the second concern of understanding how people approach social media.

The problem again was: “But what about the assistant that’s managing her social media profile? Won’t they just answer the message for her, or ignore it, or, or, or?”

Here’s the thing about social media: it’s very public. The vast majority of people who have someone else running their presence for them still keep an eye on what’s going on.

Assistants often write speeches for their superiors. These speeches don’t just get loaded into a teleprompter for the executive who reads it for the first time when he’s giving it. He reads it once it’s written and ensures it’s something he’d actually say.

The same thing happens with social media. Obviously most people don’t read every tweet or Facebook update that’s written for them, or every message that’s sent to them, but they do drop in every now and then to make sure things are going smoothly.


This leads into another point, which is that in order to take advantage of reach social media gives you, you’ve got to be a little persistent. Way less persistent than back in the olden days, mind you, but still a little persistent.

Don’t just send one message and forget about it. Start a conversation and remain engaged. It might take a while for the person you’re trying to reach to engage directly, but eventually they will.

If they don’t, all you lost was a little time.

The good news is that there are so many people you can reach, so you don’t have to get stuck on one. If you aren’t able to engage with one person, move on to the next.

I hope that was at least a little enlightening.


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