Michael Stelzner is the founder of SocialMediaExaminer.com, author of Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, and the man behind the Social Media Marketing World conference. I asked him to provide his top 10 ways to enchant people, create raving fans and zoom past one’s competition. Here’s what he told me.
1. Shift your focus to the needs of others.
The truth is that most people don’t care about your products or services. What they want is access to great insight and great people—and they also love recognition. Figure out how to meet those needs, and you’ll begin to soar.
2. Stop pitching and selling.
Have you ever been to a sponsored wedding? If you received a gift that forced you to first watch a commercial, what would you think? Of course these would be absurd! Your customers and prospects are tired of pitches. Pack away those marketing messages, and people may receive you and your message with open arms.
3. Make your content a gift.
When you create content that focuses on the needs of others, they’ll share it, love it and want more. And content scales—allowing you to help hundreds, thousands or millions of people without a lot of effort. If your content isn’t wrapped in marketing messages, people will receive it as a gift rather than as bait.
4. Give without expecting anything in return.
The most powerful form of gifting is gifting without expectation of anything in return. When people smell obligation, they’ll be less likely to share your content and evangelize your brand. Focus instead on creating free content with no strings attached because a real gift is given without the expectation of anything in return.
5. Find inspiration by looking outward.
Look for ideas in uncommon places. For example, a popular Mexican casual restaurant has a common set of ingredients spread out for all to see. When they put it in a bowl, it’s a salad. When wrapped in a flour tortilla, it’s a burrito. This idea may inspire you to take your content and change it slightly to create a nice array of articles and videos that draws from the same ingredients. Look for ideas, and you’ll find them.
6. Leverage the power of other people.
Nobodies are the new somebodies. Empower all kinds of people to share your content and evangelize your brand. Tap the minds of experts and novices and share their ideas with your audience in the form of interviews. By embracing a wide range of people outside your organization, you can rapidly grow.
7. Actively engage.
Social media has made it easy for people to share their thoughts and frustrations. If you engage those people, you can build loyal fans and convert haters to believers. Monitor comments on your blog. Make sure everyone who posts on your Facebook wall gets a reply. These simple tactics are the virtual equivalent of a warm greeting when you enter a storefront.
8. Don’t be paralyzed by the success of others.
Don’t be deterred by the fact that there are others doing what you’re doing. It may mean that there’s a proven audience for your product, services and ideas. Rather than seeing competitors as a threat, figure out how to embrace them. Find a common cause to rally around. There’s power in working together.
9. Make your content sharable.
Many people love to share good news and great ideas, but you have to make it easy for them to do so. This means you need to add social share buttons to your site. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others offer these sharing options. Add them to your site and watch your traffic grow.
10. Leverage social proof.
People like to be involved with things that others already embrace. An easy way to overcome the “who are you” objection is to display social proof. This can be something as simple as subscriber counts or retweet buttons.
A version of this article was originally published on July 5, 2011.