Many businesses and people use social media as a broadcast channel.
I own a company that provides blogging services for businesses.
One thing I see all the time is that businesses come to us wanting to write about themselves and their products. At that point I always have to have a difficult conversation with them.
The conversation is that their prospective customers probably don’t care about their brand or their products and services.
It’s harsh, but it’s reality.
People place a high value on their time today. Possibly more than anything else.
Taking someone’s attention is not easy. It’s not easy because your target audience doesn’t owe you their attention.
On social media, nobody owes you anything. They’re busy. If you want their attention you have to earn it. You’re competing for it.
But if you can earn it you can win big.
Lots Of Competition
Here’s the crazy thing…
It’s not just TV anymore. It’s not just radio. It’s not just print.
In 1983, the final episode of M*A*S*H aired and 125 million people watched. That is some concentrated attention.
Those days are over. There might be something here or there that gets that much attention. The Super Bowl still has incredible numbers.
But people have options today.
Let’s say you post news in your industry. For a specific segment of consumers.
That’s all good, but you’re not just competing against other social media accounts like yours. You’re competing with everything that could take the attention of your target audience.
That means all kinds of social media. Their hobbies. Their work. Their family and friends. Everything.
How do you overcome that?
You’re A Guest
The first step is accepting that your audience doesn’t owe you anything. Nobody does.
In that scenario a first instinct is to often interrupt people.
How angry do you get when someone calls you these days?
You get angry, right?
We’re so used to texting and emailing today. We talk to people on our own time. When someone calls they interrupt our time. They make us communicate on their time.
That’s what you’re doing when you do intrusive things to people. Jumping out in front of them with advertising telling them what you’re selling.
You’re a guest. That’s the mindset.
What They Want To See
The way you get people to pay attention to you in a positive way is to focus on what they care about. What they are interested in. What they want to see.
Imagine a conversation.
Do you hate it when someone interrupts you’re day only to talk to you about what they want to do about…
You might be reading a great article on your phone. They come up and interrupt you and tell you about their day.
Nobody likes that, but so many of us do it all the time.
Now let’s say someone comes up to you, sees you’re reading an article, waits for you to finish and then asks you about the article.
That’s totally different. Now they’re focused on you. They’re interested in what you’re interested in. They’re likely to earn you’re attention because you’ll want to talk and communicate with them.
That is the start of earning someone’s attention and trust.
How do you do this on social media?
- You look at the questions your audience is asking and you provide answers.
- You see what they’re talking about and you jump in and provide some additional content and context. Not promoting yourself, but just adding to the conversation.
- You can ask questions yourself. When you see that your audience is talking about something you can jump in and ask questions. Things that they would want to tell you.
The key with attention is focusing on where your audience’s attention is. You don’t want to control their attention. You want to go where they are and provide additional value where they are. Answering their questions provides value. Asking them questions provides value because they like discussing what they care about and helping others and connecting with others that care about the same things.
It’s a big shift for many, but this is how social media works. Your audience doesn’t owe you their attention. But you can earn it with the right approach.