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Episode Info: If I say the words, “social media," what comes to mind? Does it fill you with a sense of dread because you’re overwhelmed trying to figure out what you should be doing and how much?  Or do you feel confident because you love social media and it the easiest part of your business?  Whichever way you lean, I think you will get a ton of information from today’s show where we're talking about how to use social media to grow relationships and engagement with your audience. Today, my guest is Neal Shaffer, a social media strategy consultant.  Neal teaches large companies how to best use social media to grow and stay engaged with their customers. We’re talking about many different social media platforms today, hearing his insights on how to have success on each.  But first, if you haven’t joined my Facebook group, The MiloTree Mastermind Group, I want to encourage you to do that today! Every Monday at 3:00 ET, I go live in the group to talk about that week’s podcast episode.  I go over the highlights, what I learned, and what I think it’s important for you all to take away from the discussion. It’s a great place for you to ask questions and to share your knowledge with others. I hope you’ll join me! Building Real Relationships Online As bloggers, we work alone most of the time. It can be an extremely isolating lifestyle. That’s why Neal puts a huge focus on building relationships. I want to tell you how I met Neal as a great example of using online research to build those relationships.  I use an app called Bonjoro to send a personal video to everyone who signs up for MiloTree.  Recently, I had sent a video like this to Neal, as he had signed up for MiloTree. A few weeks later, I was randomly researching “social media experts” and I saw Neal’s name on a list of people to follow. I knew the name looked familiar so I went to his website and realized I had just recently sent him that video, welcoming him to MiloTree. And the rest, as they say, is history. We connected from there and here he is, on my show! All of that to say, you have to be reaching out and building those relationships with your followers and with those you follow.  Neal points out that if you follow 1,500 people on Instagram and you send just 5 of them a direct message every day, you will have contacted every one of the people you follow in a year! But don’t just message them; ask them how you can serve them. Being able to connect one-on-one is a huge step toward helping other people in the online space to remember you. The Importance of Consistency in Social Media When your goal is to increase your presence online, build relationships, and increase brand awareness, you have to focus on consistency. If you’ve been blogging for a while now and you feel discouraged, if you feel like things will never work out for you and you will never meet your goals, the first thing Neal wants you to remember is that success is often just on the other side of giving up...
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