Build a Badass Business Podcast #13: You are not Taylor Swift. (How to connect over the chasm.)

BABAB-PODCAST-Square_Episode-13When your following on social media isn’t in the millions, like Taylor’s or Kim Kardashian’s is, how do you make sure you are *connecting* with meaning? You can’t simply drop a photo to Instagram, a FB post, or a Tweet and “walk away.” It’s not the job of the community to simply rally around your content and share it for you to build your tribe. It’s *your* job to connect in a meaningful way to help those who choose to invest their time in following what you have to say.

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Build a Badass Business: Episode 13

Coming to you straight from her basement home office in suburban New Jersey, this is Build a Badass Business with Diane Sanfilippo. Diane is a New York Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur. She’s here to teach you how to grow and develop a successful business you love, and how to create raving fans along the way. Here she is, your host: Diane Sanfilippo.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hey guys, welcome back to Build a Badass Business. I am going on the fly again today. I have a ton of notes from a walk that I took just a few days ago, and I get so many ideas while I’m out walking, and I wrote down a whole bunch of notes of podcast episodes I want to record. I touched on this one a little bit in the previous episode, so if you haven’t listened to that, episode number 12, go back and listen. But I kind of joked when I was talking about connecting with people through social media. I joked about this concept that you are not Taylor Swift.

It may sound kind of funny, and maybe one day, you will be Taylor Swift. I do not know what you’re up to, what your capabilities are, or how hard you are working to get where you’re going. But, the point of that concept was really that so many people just kind of, I don’t know, its hit and run. You want to hit and run with social media. You want to drop something, and never come back to it, walk away from it. You post on Instagram, you send a tweet, you post to Facebook, blog post even, and lately I’ve been kind of guilty of this with blog posts, although I haven’t written that many legitimate blog posts in a while. But I haven’t checked comments on them in quite some time, and it’s actually kind of an admin issue; I don’t know if I’m getting notifications of comments lately. So, note to self, check that out.

If you’re posting to social media, and you’re not using it as a way to legitimately connect with your audience, your fans, followers, your 3 family members who are reading what you’re posting. If you’re not engaging with them, how do you expect them to engage with you? If you constantly just drop something and don’t come back and check on it, it’s like setting a trap and not checking to see if you caught anything. I don’t mean that in a negative way, but I’m kind of looking outside at these deer that are chomping on the grass out there and thinking about what happens when people do set a trap for an animal or something like that. If you do that and never check it, I don’t really get that. I can’t really grasp it.

So I was thinking about this while I was surfing around on Instagram and noticing, obviously, I follow Taylor Swift, and there’s no way that she can reply to all those people. There are tons of questions, comments, there are rude comments, there are nice comments, and millions of fans and followers, totally understandable. She’s not using social media the way most of us are. She’s not using it to connect with people on a more personal level in the sense that we are. She’s really using it to just give people that background look, that inside look at what’s going on with her life, because she is up there on this pedestal, on this stage, and I think she does a really great job of being like, hey this is my real life, this is what’s going on. That’s not really who we are and what we’re doing, and that’s ok.

Alright, so how do you connect over the chasm? That’s kind of the way I see this. We have social media, we have the internet, and we have this whole situation where so many of you, I would say us but I actually do this a lot. So many of you listening are hustling to build something online, and you forget that it’s real people on the other side, and you forget that you probably live in a community where you can connect with people one on one or one to ten in a group, or you could even get 50 to 100 people together in a room. There are so many ways to do that.

I mentioned this in the previous episode, but the people who come to meet you, they will not forget that experience. I never forget going to a book signing, going to a talk, even if I forget some of the details of what was said that day from different speakers or what have you, I will never forget that I sat in a room for an hour or more listening to someone, and if I see something floating around on social media with that person’s name, I pay attention. You just can’t help but do that, because you’ve made a connection with them in person, the energy shared in that room, you just can’t replace that through the internet.

So how do you connect? I think part of it is thanking people for their comment, if you don’t have something else to say about it if they don’t ask a question. It could be as simple as liking their comment. I don’t do this all the time because it is tricky, but if I post something and I just appreciate the comments that people write back, they’re just writing something complimentary or something like that, I try and like all those comments whenever possible. It takes half a second, just go through.

If someone posts a question, I really try hard to answer those questions as best I can. One of the things that I scaled back on very, very early on is I don’t answer questions one on one via email. So if somebody submits a contact form to the website, my assistant will get all of those. She’ll sift through it and hand things over to me of whatever is applicable for me to answer, but if somebody is asking a nutrition question or a food question, I say, hey, go ahead and post that on Facebook or somewhere public so I can answer it so that then thousands of other people can see that reply. Whether or not those other people go to look at it, just the possibility of that happening makes it a little bit more valid for me to answer the question, because then more people can see the response.

So connecting over the chasm of the internet is just putting yourself in that person’s shoes. I think one thing that happens a lot is we’ll get a lot of new people coming in who don’t really know what you’re talking about. People have a question, and other people might jump on them for having what the fan base might consider a “stupid” or “silly” question, and I think that’s a perfect opportunity for you to connect with that person who is new, and simply look at that opportunity to say, ok, obviously they’re new here. Isn’t my goal to get new people to come in here all the time, right? So how do I best respond to that to not only show that new person that they’re welcome and that I’m excited that they’re here, but also to set an example for everyone else there that you’re not about going crazy and bashing someone who doesn’t understand what you’re all about there, and setting an example for them as I’m sure many of you engage on my business pages, right? You’re probably on the Diane Sanfilippo fan page or on my Instagram, and I’m setting an example by answering people’s questions in a certain way for those of you who maybe don’t have that question, and I think that’s one of those etiquette of social media things that’s really critical. I think it’s important that we do take the time to make that connection.

So back to the idea of connecting in person, this is where you may be sitting and thinking and stewing on social media like, how do I get more customers? How do I get them to understand what I’m talking about? How can I write a blog post, or create a podcast, or do something that really answers those questions? Any time you get to a point where you’re not sure how to help people, it typically means you’re too far removed from what the real people who need your solution are all about. So I absolutely find so much value, so, so, so much value in not only doing something like a tour, where I’m meeting people and I’m answering questions in person.

I’ll spend typically, on a book tour event if I can, at least or up to around an hour just doing Q&A, because I find that so valuable. Not only for the audience and everybody who comes to hear questions and answers, but I need to know what’s on people’s minds. And that is a super, super valuable way to just get in there and kind of be in the trenches and see what’s going on. The other part is, I’ve done so many free community talks; I still do them now. Obviously the type of work that I do, I have a fee for a speaking engagement if it’s that type of engagement. If somebody asks me to come speak, generally I do have a fee for that. But if it’s a public arena, something like a library. I’ve done a couple of library talks recently in the last, I’d guess, a year or two around my books.

But there is something so powerful about connecting with those people in the room who are just in your community, you know. It puts you back in touch with what really matters. Because if you’re behind your computer and you’re constantly thinking, “I need more followers, I need more followers”, and you’re just trying to play this game, you’re losing track and losing sight of really matters. It also can bring you back to; for example obviously I’m in this whole paleo/real food community. If you’re teaching about paleo nutrition for a long time, you sometimes get so far removed from what the general public needs in terms of help that you forget that people are still eating pop tarts and frappuccinos for breakfast. And here you are trying to get people to not be scared of bacon and eggs, but they don’t even have any idea that eggs are remotely the right option for them. They’re still doing kind of this pour sugar down your throat breakfast.

When you get back in touch with that, when you get into the community, you come back to reality very quickly and see what are the problems that I need to help solve, and when you do connect with people in that way over the internet and you put out something that has a lot more general broad appeal, you’ll notice that more people will flock to it because there are more people who need to basic information than who need that detailed, next level kind of stuff you stress out over. You’re like, I don’t know how to explain to people that eating cholesterol or eating fat is healthy for them in a scientific way, well guess what? 99% of people don’t need that information; 99% of people just need help getting away from the junk food and the sugar. So the thing that you were stressing out about, as soon as you get back in the community and connect, and really make that personal connection, you will find that you’re in a much better place, you’ll be much calmer, you’ll know exactly what you need to talk about.

I‘ll bet you can come out of any speaking engagement and write down 5-10 things that you’re like, you know what, this is what people need to hear more about. I’m absolutely one for charging for your services; however. If you think that you’re going to get more from that scenario than other scenarios. If you’re doing a speaking engagement, and you’re talking to a big group of people and it’s a lot of stress and pressure for you to get to that speaking engagement, or get there and do this work and what have you, maybe it’s something you make sure you’re getting paid for, but I still do events that are free. It’s just a matter of, hey I want to do this, this is a cool group I want to connect with, and I think I’m going to get something really great out of it. You can’t have too much ego to be able to do that, but you really have to find the right balance of when it’s something that you need to charge for versus when it’s something that you’re really going to be enriched from that experience.

Alright, speaking of connecting and connecting over the chasm, I’m going to ask you guys to connect with me. Make sure you’re over in my Facebook group, and please, please, please leave a review in iTunes. I’m not 100% sure you can do it from you phone; I feel like a couple of weeks ago I saw something in the iTunes app where you could, and then I went back and I couldn’t find it. You may need to hop onto your computer, your desktop, laptop, what have you. Jump into iTunes, leave a review. What I want to know is, what you’re learning. What am I saying that’s connecting with you. What’s lighting up and becoming an ah-ha moment for you, and just getting your eyes to open to different things. Leave me a review, let me know, and I will see you around the internet.

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