In the modern age, it’s become an accepted cultural norm that if you want to succeed in business, you need social media. Unfortunately, for those who tend to count themselves as “introverted” or perhaps even “anti-social,” social media seems like a place where people dump word vomit and get into petty, ill-informed arguments.
The good news is that the internet isn’t solely populated by trolling anti-humans and debased lunatics. There are real people out there, having real conversations. These people want information they find via social media — in fact, 95 percent of online adults aged 18-34 are more likely to follow a brand via social networking.
Nevertheless, plenty of people are starting their own businesses every day, and plenty of them are more introverted than extroverted. So just how does an introvert survive social media marketing?
Choosing your social circles
The best place to start is simply choosing the right social media platforms. Music to the introvert’s ears: you shouldn’t just jump onto every platform that exists. Selecting the right one (or ones) all comes down to understanding time restraints, the areas and people you are looking to interact with, and what you actually want to accomplish with your social media marketing endeavors.
Who to interact with
Understanding which channels are going to be most beneficial to your business is the first place to start. Did you know authors tend to swarm to Twitter? Or that SEO and social media marketing experts were the weirdos that used to chill in the Google Plus pool? Right now, Instagram is big with businesses of almost every size. Figure out which channel is right for your brand, and start with that.
If you aren’t sure how much time you will actually be able to spend on social media, always remember that it’s better to choose depth over breadth. Stick to one single channel if you have to. You’ll get far more out of social media if you make sure you don’t spread yourself thin. If you have more time, start picking up a few more — and if you really want to maximize use of multiple channels, get into an app like Hootsuite, which lets you manage multiple social media platforms and accounts from one place
The marketing part
There’s only one thing you really want out of social media if you are reading at this, and that is to know how to market through it while staying as aloof as possible. Here are a couple tips to help round out social media marketing (SMM) best practices:
Have a conversation
Too often social media marketing really turns into media marketing, completely losing the “social” aspect. Too many SMM campaigns end up promoting things for their business while paying little to zero service to their customers and followers.
For example, you could go beyond just replying to or having a conversation with people on Twitter — you could point out that their blog is really cool, or that the woodworking they practice is exquisite. If it aligns with your brand, not only is it a genuine human interaction, but you can help reciprocally promote others — the end result will be increased amounts of trust.
Be a stalker, just less creepy
As an introverted person, a lot of interaction at once can be overwhelming sometimes. As such, you’ll want to start small. Pick out a couple of people that might be customers, thought leaders in your industry, and people you might consider “contemporaries” of your craft or practice. Start retweeting, sharing and interacting with them, and eventually, you’ll see them start to return the favor.
Of course, that requires you to do something else while you are essentially stalking a couple of people. You’ll need to be putting up your own stuff as well. Whether it’s just a few witty tweets or a blog post you are sharing through Facebook, your followers want to see what you are up to and that you’re real like them.
Once you are facilitating steady interactions with the people you are currently “stalking,” pick out a few more people and repeat the process. This can really start to add up, which means you should be working on it a little bit each day.
That’s all there is to it, really! Eventually you may get to a point where you are communicating with more and more people every day — but because it’s at a slow and steady pace, your introverted self might not feel that overwhelmed … and you might actually enjoy the conversations too!
These are just the basics. There are plenty of other sources of information out there that will help get you out of your shell and into the world of SMM, and oftentimes they’ll come from other people within your own industry.
Be proud of your introverted self, but don’t get in your own way!