Stop Selling and Start Listening

Most startups have no money, the only thing they have is speed. As a result, the smart ones are using social media to distribute their message through micro content. Sadly, the vast majority fail, as they are pushing their message out rather than listening, and being native on the platform they are participating on.

The barriers to entry on social are almost nil. However, the time you can waste and the damage you can cause your brand are great. Thankfully, with a few simple fixes, you can start building key one on one relationships and add tremendous value. Today, we’ll discuss how my company, do social.

Stop selling start listening
photo credit: Ben Smith

Treat social as a marathon, not a sprint.

Your brand needs to think of social as a marathon rather than trying to be Usain Bolt and believing you can sprint to success. In 2014, it’s a noisy world out there. Recently, I was at SXSW in Austin, and the audience were asked how many times in a 24-hour period a cell phone is further than arms length away. Not a single person raised their hand. Every day, we’re consuming more and more content and getting the user’s attention is hard. Our minds are shifting to a million different places, with noise prevailing. To engage and delight users, advocates and influencers, treat social media as a long-term play. Rather than sell your message at every opportunity, use it as a vehicle to build long term, key one on one relationships with influencers and fans.

Give before you take

Give, give, give and then contemplate about taking. Spammy brands use social to push market their message with every tweet or Facebook posts, adding very little value. Smart web marketers use social as a way to amuse, educate, debate and delight followers. The key is not to try and marry your customer before the first date. You need to cut through the noise via exceptional content. It can be as cute as a ‘thank you for the follow’ when a key influencer follows your twitter account. The recipient will think ‘wow, that brand took the time to show their gratetidude.’ On the top end of showing how much you care, you could invest in a designer to put together a value add infographic. These are simply tactics. The most important is to show you care about the customer, and not on social just to push market.

Facebook Like
photo credit: FACEBOOK(LET)

Be native on social media

Lastly, small businesses planning to build brand equity on social need to be native. A Facebook post should appear very different to the way you ride a hashtag at a twitter cocktail party or a Pinterest pin.

Understand the rules of the game for each platform, whether you want to promote your content on Twitter, LinkedIN or Vine. It’s so important to understand how to storytell and respect the platform you are building micro content on. Not enough brands recognize that psychology and interaction is different on each platform. I passionately believe that brands need to think less about distribution and more about understanding the depth of each social platform.

Social media requires patience, a healthy pair of ears and creativity. The benefits are clear if you can navigate your way through the pitfalls.

Good luck!

About the author: Daniel Abrahams is the Co-Founder at and MyCurrencyTransfer, a marketplace matching businesses with the most competitive foreign exchange deals. Recently, Daniel represented the UK at SXSW in Austin, as part of a UKTI trade mission. You can follow Daniel on twitter.