You’re putting out content. You’re sharing content. You’re retweeting things.
But you don’t feel like anyone is actually paying attention.
The thing is, there are lots of “yous” around who are filling every possible physical, digital, and social space with their messages or, worse, their sales pitches. So, when I open a site like Twitter or LinkedIn, I physically avoid looking at the main content streams because I don’t want to be sucked into the endless vortex of rehashed content.
I use Twitter lists. I scan for updates from specific people on LinkedIn. I do whatever I have to do to ignore most of the “yous” so I can get something done. That means people like me aren’t seeing what you’re posting.
But I have a secret to share: there is a great way to get me to pay attention. Almost fool-proof. Actually, it has worked so well for me that I should probably charge you for it, but I won’t.
Are you ready for this earth-shaking revelation? Here it is: act like a human.
Boom. I just dropped the mic and left the stage.
I have a feeling that I’m not the first person to give this advice on the Internet. In fact, it’s part of the switch to H2H (human to human) when describing business interactions.
But it bears repeating in the hopes that the message will get through, and some of you will join the small rank of people who use these incredibly powerful communication tools to make real connections with real people. Essentially, there are three steps to being more human while online:
Stalk people. Stalking is probably too strong a word here, but realize that in the digital world, people have spent time sharing information about themselves that they’re hoping others will notice and use. Why else would someone take time to put their work history, education, interests, recommendations, group memberships, etc. on their LinkedIn profile?
Connect. Once you’ve learned about someone, make an effort to connect with them in meaningful ways around common interests or overlapping stories (even as simple as reconnecting with a former colleague or fellow college alumnus).
Add value. Anthony Iannarino (@iannarino) recently wrote: “The only way to earn more is to create more value for others.” I believe that if you can change your mindset to “I want to help wherever I can” instead of “I want to take whatever I can find,” you’ll eventually receive more than you would have gotten otherwise.
Please don’t think this is a message only for salespeople. It is definitely relevant to anyone in sales, but it’s also a framework for effective marketing. As marketing embraces disruptive technology and becomes more closely ingrained in sales, you will be required to figure out ways to make your company act more human. That can mean anything from creating a more engaged company voice to internal education programs aimed at making sure your employees are connecting and adding value to your industry. Remember, as good as lead-generation tools and processes are getting, the best referrals are from current clients for which you’ve created tremendous value.
And if you genuinely connect with me and act like a human, I promise I’ll pay attention (at least most of the time).