You’re trying to run a business, spinning lots of plates AND people expect you to engage with your audience? Nobody has time for that, right? Actually, I reckon we do, and it doesn’t need to be that hard!
AFUNNY thing happened on LinkedIn this week. I’d shared my daily post and was popping back in to respond to comments when one of my followers said this: “It always amazes me how you answer everyone’s comments, Taz.”
Needless to say, I responded, asking why it was so surprising for me to reply.
Her answer was this: “You are clearly very busy and I’m sure you’ll never meet many followers — still it’s hooked me in!!”
Here’s the thing: I don’t respond to people to ‘hook them in’, though that is, I guess, an added bonus.
She’s right — I am very busy and I do have lots of followers I’ll probably never meet — but that doesn’t mean I don’t care.
For me, it’s a simple case of manners. If people are taking the time to engage with my content — watch my videos, listen to my audios, read my words — the least I can do is take the time to respond to their comments.
Keeping social SOCIAL
This is SOCIAL media, right? It’s not a shop window for your brand, it’s a platform through which to share advice, inspiration and thoughts — a platform that allows us to give a little something back and, if we do that well, the icing on the cake is that we might end up building brand awareness and attracting word-of-mouth clients.
Back to the SOCIAL part (in bold and italicised, because that’s the important bit!), I’m not replying to people just to boost my algorithm, or go for a sale — I’m replying because I genuinely give a shit.
I really am appreciative of my followers and that, in this world where we all feel so time-poor, they’re taking a few of their seconds and minutes to not only consume my content but to talk to me. Of course I’m going to respond. It’s called being human, having empathy and being in gratitude.
Am I seriously so rare a beast in the business world that people are surprised when I respond to them? If so, why so?
If we can’t spare the time to engage with the tribe of people who’ve chosen to become supporter and advocates, there’s something seriously skewed in our priorities
If we can’t spare the time to engage with the tribe of people who’ve chosen to become supporters and advocates, there’s something seriously skewed in our priorities, friends! I would no more ignore someone on social than ignore someone at a networking meeting, or at an event I’m speaking at.
You can find time if you choose to!
I will say this: I’m nowhere near Gary V, Oprah or Tony Robbins status just yet. I don’t usually get mobbed when I walk into a room, so I can find a few moments to speak to someone if we’re in the same place at the same time. Because I’m not yet at that heady status of A-list personal/business development celebrity, I get thousands of views on my posts, not millions; at this stage in my career, it’s entirely possible for me to reply to people when they comment on my posts.
There aren’t many people reading this who will be too swamped to respond when people talk to them. There *ARE* lots of people who believe they are too busy when, in fact, what’s holding them back is flawed thinking.
No matter how big and powerful your brand and business, you are never, ever more powerful than your audience
No matter how big and powerful your brand and business, you are never, ever more powerful than your audience — they can vote with their feet (or smartphones!) at any time.
Trust me on this — ego, entitlement and arrogance (and believing you’re too busy to show you care about your customers!) can be killers in business and entrepreneurship. You can be too big for your boots. You can’t ever be too big for your audience to flip you the bird
Every now and then, I get recognised in the street. It happened most recently just a week ago — in Pret A Manger, of all places. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to that happening, but when it does, I always, always, take the time to speak to the people who know me from social, TV, my books, speaking gigs, whatever. Social media communication should not be treated any differently.
Where’s the line?
Is there a line to draw anywhere?
Yeah, there is.
I politely decline all those requests where someone wants to just jump onto a call with me or meet up for coffee. I genuinely don’t have enough spare time to juggle those when someone wants to pick my brain or soak up the vibe.
Social media responses I can fit in around my other tasks, but phone calls and coffee dates can easily swallow time I need for my clients, marketing, admin, my team — generally running my business and having a life.
Besides, it would feel totally unfair to freely meet everyone who offers to buy me a coffee in exchange for advice, when my clients are paying good money for my coaching services.
There will be a line for you too — and only you will truly know where that is. For most of you reading this, I strongly suggest that line should not prohibit you from managing your own social media streams
There will be a line for you too — and only you will truly know where that is. For most of you reading this, I strongly suggest that line should not prohibit you from managing your own social media streams (they’re your voice, for goodness sake, your opinions, your personality — don’t ever try to outsource that!) or responding to comments.
When I get really super, über well known, when I’m refusing all those calls for I’m A Celebrity and Strictly Come Dancing and using my time to build my business, jetset between meetings and take selected magazine and documentary interviews, I will still do my damndest to reply to as many comments as I possibly can. The volume of response might need to dip slightly, but I’ll still be there and as accessible as I can possibly be within the realms of fairness.
I suggest you do the same! However high you climb, be sure to remember the people who put you there!
Until next time,
PS: I’m not sure I would refuse Strictly… if only to give you all a giggle at my lethal chicken elbows. There really would be murder on the dance floor!
Taz Thornton is the author of Awesome Sauce — a free, weekly positive life and business round-up, with good news stories, positivity tips and visibility hacks for your brand. In a few minutes each week, you get a dose of optimism and some awesome advice to get seen and stay happy.
Taz is also a best-selling author, inspirational business speaker and consultant on confidence, personal brand and visibility, award-winning coach (UK’s Best Female Coach 2018 — Best Business Woman Awards), consultant and creator of the #UnleashYourAwesome and #BrandMastery personal and business development programmes, as well as #UNLEASHED — an affordable confidence, content and cashflow building programme for coaches, healers and therapists.
She has been featured on BBC, ITV, in HuffPost, Diva and countless other newspapers, magazines and podcasts. Taz is also a regular columnist for the America Out Loud talkshow network.