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“It’s not who I am… but what I do that matters.” – Batman

Twitter followers. Facebook fans. LinkedIn connections.

Here’s a bold assertion: none of them matter.

I’m being a bit facetious, of course. They do matter; from the perspective of a marketing funnel, they are all at or near the top of the funnel, and without any people at the top of your funnel, everything else breaks.

That said, what people do is more important than who they are. 50,000 followers on Twitter aren’t worth a thing if they aren’t helping you advance your goals. 10,000 likes/fans on Facebook are meaningless if no one ever shares your stuff or buys something from you. Even if your goal is purely community only, 100,000 community members who never talk, log in, or interact are still valueless. Even “brand names” are largely meaningless. It’s nice that Jason Falls follows you, but if you don’t ever engage with him, he’s as valueless to you as someone with no followers at all.

Absolutely no partying

So how do you get people in social media to increase their own value and start contributing to the business or organizational goals you’ve set down? How do you get people to take that next step down your social funnel from being a warm body in the room to being someone who will advance your goals? Simple (remembering of course that simple is not easy):

1. Tell them what to do.

This sounds so obvious as to be laughable, but examine any handful of websites, newsletter, or storefronts and you’ll see an absence of calls to action. You don’t have to be Billy Mays loud, but you do need to be obvious. There’s a lot to be said for the big red button. There’s a lot to be said for telling people what to do (nicely) because most people, deep down, really want you to. Want someone to share a link or retweet something? Ask.

Bonus bit of human psychology: if you give people a reason why, even if it’s not especially compelling, they’re more likely to do so.

2. Show them how to do it.

If you ask people to do anything more complex than push one button (and even that’s up for debate if they can’t find the button), there will be a percentage of your audience that simply doesn’t know how to do what you want them to do. As tasks increase in complexity, the likelihood of people doing them decreases proportionally. Make your audience a video, put obvious guides everywhere, make a manual that’s mostly pictures, but show people how to accomplish the goals you want them to achieve. There’s a reason why some of the best Facebook Page designs have a big arrow pointing to the Like button.

Here’s an interesting thing to try: in the next survey you have with your audience about your products, services, organization, or what have you, make sure one of the questions is about why you haven’t done X action yet, and be sure one of the answers is “I don’t know how”. Then be surprised at the number of people who select that.

3. Remind them frequently to do it.

Again, obvious but we forget. In the ADHD-riddled online world, you need to remind people what to do – and often tie that back to the previous step of how to do it, if it’s any more complex than just pushing a button.

There are more complex things you can do on top of these basics, but this is the starting point for converting all of those large, largely valueless social media numbers into concrete, tangible results that move your business forward.

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