5 Rungs to Building a Social Media Presence

Yes I know a lot people don’t use the word “rungs”, but I like the word and hey it’s a great word. We should use it more often, it means : “A rod or bar forming a step of a ladder.” And I believe what social media has done is formed something,  an unprecedented opportunity (the step of a ladder) for people like us to extend and amplify our influence. You don’t have to buy time on television or radio. You don’t have to write a book or magazine column. You don’t even have to blog (but I do).

Now I’m going to let you in on the most important, and most often overlooked aspect of social networking: It’s not about selling. It’s about participation. It’s about being a member of a community, a tribe, a group, and connecting with people who share your interests.

Those that use social networking merely as a venue for giving their pitch, “Buy my product or service, buy my product or service,” are missing out. Nobody likes to be sold to and that’s exactly what the pitch is: “throwing a sales speech at someone, in hopes of a batter (customer) swinging, but what people gravitate, and relate to, is those who give of themselves.

Here’s the 5 rungs to building a social media presence:

  1. Observe. Start out by joining and watching. Pick a venue to get yourself started. It could be Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, an online forum, or a site dedicated to videos like YouTube, or Vimeo. You don’t have to do anything at this point other than watch and learn. Be a sponge and absorb what is going on around you. Get a feel for the environment. Wait until you are comfortable.
  2. Participate. When someone makes a comment that you agree with, support their position. Expand on it. Tell a story from your own life that illustrates the point. If you disagree, do so respectfully, offer supporting information for your opinion.
  3. Contribute. Once you are comfortable talking with others, it’s time to go to the next level. Start contributing. If you read an article that people in your tribe might find helpful, post a link to it. If you read a book by someone in the tribe and liked it, tell others. Be supportive. Be helpful.
  4. Form Relationships. This is what social networking is all about. Make this your “end game.” You’re not participating to sell your products or services. You’re here to make connections. If a fan writes a nice review, thank them. Most don’t expect to hear from the creative. But after hearing from you, they’ll remember you even more. They might even share with their friends “how nice you are.”
  5. Provide Information. Let the people in your group know about what’s going on in your life. Do you have a workshop, tele-seminar, speech, signing, YouTube video or podcast coming up? Is a new product being released? Have you posted a sample for free? Did a magazine publish one of your short stories? This isn’t selling; it is informing. You aren’t telling them to buy; you are letting them know what you have and leaving the decision to them.

Notice that I never once asked you to sell. That’s what’s so great about social media, you don’t have to. Become a person that others like, be one that is helpful, let others know that you have products or services and the sales will come.

70 thoughts on “5 Rungs to Building a Social Media Presence

  1. When talking about rungs, why not make a word that everyone can remember and write your rungs to that word. optin would be a great word of this. observe, participate, talk comfortably, inform and notice others.

  2. Great post Patrick. Giving or contribution is always good. I like what you said in rung 4. You are not participating to sell, rather to make connections. It reminds me of networking mixers in the physical world. The people that run around the mixer giving away as many cards as they can do not interest me. Even though the purpose of the mixer is business networking, they would be better served making connections. We dont do business with businesses, we do business with people. Thanks for article.

  3. Thanks for this! I knew that social networking was important in business today, but I couldn’t really articulate the reasons for it. I think this will help my company to expand our online presence. Cheers!

  4. Reblogged this on Huskerpreneur and commented:
    Are you just getting into creating your online marketing strategy using social media – then this article hits on the key points in getting started!

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  6. Thank you for posting. I think you are absolutely right. Selling a product online is much different than in person. You have to bring an idea to the table because that is the only tangible thing on the web – information!

  7. Very nicely written. Relationships are key to having a successfull business and understanding how to do that in a different environment (the internet) versus in person (face to face) is important to making that happen.

  8. Thank you for this information. I am just in the begining stages of my business plan and this information will be of great use to me.

    • Awesome Karleen! I’m glad you see the value of incorporating this immediately into your business plan, which also means you’ll see the results. Thanks and I hope to see more of your comments.

  9. I really liked that you never suggested selling. Much easier to just be yourself, and allow the sales to almost make themselves! The five points you make come much more easily to me. Thank you!

  10. Pingback: 5 Rungs to Building a Social Media Presence « reviverenewrestoreblog

    • My pleasure! I hope to revised and update information as we all, because you have to remain flexible with social media. What works six months ago, may not work today. What works today, may not work six months from now. I believe this principle even applies to my post.

  11. Great article, nice and straightforward. Especially point one about testing the water with at least one social media platform (FB, Google+ or Twitter etc). I think the reason this is so crucial is that many people and more importantly organisations jump into social media without planning or pre-thought. It shows..and there goes their brand and their value proposition. You only get one chance online..and its hard to remove your presence. The same goes for a new website, do it in draft, test it in pilot mode, then to a slect few and then check and then go live. I think this first point parallels that. Observe, test, try, tweak, test again and continually observe what your competitors are doing

  12. Great tips. I find social media so overwhelming and impersonal at times! I remember when face book was actually friends keeping up with friends. Now, I get more company stuff than ever before from companies I am not even interested in! I love it when people ask me to like their page, share their stuff, yet don’t even take the time to look at or comment on mine first!!! (In an attempt to keep my personal separated from my travel writing – I created a second FB account – now I just get double the requests!!) I have to admit, I am frustrated with the process. More people could learn from your tips – get involved first! I love that my community is global – and that I can interact with people from Europe, Australia or my own back yard!

    • Thank you Anita for your comments and sharing your social media experiences with us. The internet does have more takers than givers, but it’s ultimately the one is the giver that people want to follow.

  13. Patrick – Thank you for liking my latest blog post. And I have enjoyed reading your Social Media Presence posting. I have had my blog for a year – but am just now getting into Facebook with LinkedIn soon to follow. Your advice above is very helpful. I look forward to reading more of your posts. – Susan Bowen

  14. Patrick, great set of actionable tips here. Number one is key! I always tell my clients to lurk a bit and see what’s going on and how it works (particularly with Twitter) before jumping in head first. I also recommend observing what other thought leaders in your business space are doing and learning from their triumphs and mistakes.

    • Thanks Ross! I really appreciate your comment and feedback. Those are some insights that you share with your clients. If we all had a better understanding of social media we would see more adoption from corporate businesses.

  15. Great post, Patrick. One of the hardest things about social media can be convincing some clients that it is all about relationships, not hard sell. Not my current clients, mind you… (No, really. I’ve been very lucky, or selective, or a little of both.)

  16. Great post! I’m particularly drawn to the first rung … observe. Too often I find that people “dive in” immediately without really giving some thought into where they should be present, what they want to say, how they want to say it, and most importantly listening to what is already being said!

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  18. Patrick,

    I like that your information applies across all lines of business. I’m glad that you’re getting the news out. I am on Twitter, but confess, I really don’t understand it. Would it be a topic you would address in a future post?

    I’m going to reblog this post of yours.


    Linda Joyce

  19. Pingback: 5 Rungs to Building a Social Media Presence | Linda Joyce Contemplates

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  21. Hey Patrick – thanks for recently liking my article on Achieving Goals! Love your site and will be visiting often – these are some great tips, can’t wait to share them with my clients.

  22. Pingback: The Cocktail Party (Using Social Media Effectively) | Indispensable Marketing

  23. Hi! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you
    I really enjoy reading your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums
    that go over the same subjects? Thank you!

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