You can't make sales online without trust

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It's no surprise to me, how huge social media has become in our lives.

As it changes and grows, and we get further into it I'm hoping we start to understand that numbers no longer matter - likes, follows, and shares, what we call vanity metrics - in business. But instead, that it's the relationships we build that truly mean the most.

A common experience for most small businesses starting out establishing themselves online is that they feel they're failing because they're not ringing in the sales immediately. This is a common reaction, and in our culture sadly a natural feeling as well. When we've got the get rich "MAKE BUCKETS OF CASH WITH SOCIAL MEDIA!" schemes flying by in our newsfeeds, it's hard to parse what's reality and what's posturing, and where exactly we should be.

It's totally normal to feel like you're doing something wrong, when you don't realize there's a process to all of this and have no real reference point for your expectations.

You don't just get online and things happen. It's just not that simple.

The reality is you need to concentrate on building relationships on social media, and then turn those relationships into paying customers.

You rarely can have one without the other

So, while it may not feel sexy to focus on building those relationships online one at a time as opposed to racking up thousands of followers and sales immediately (also that rarely ever happens). Trust me when I say there is nothing better than having customers that come back to you time and time again because of the thought and care you put into the relationship you developed with them through your business.

There's nothing sexier than having people trust your business.

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So what does trust look like online? How does one start to develop trust in their business online? How do you make your voice heard in the seemingly (and very real) hundreds of millions of voices out there?

Here are a few pointers.

Define your ideal follower: Understanding who you are speaking to can be the difference in creating content that relates to your ideal follower or completely missing the mark. It's also the difference in building trust and eroding it.

I'm not talking about just thinking about who you are talking to, I'm telling you to sit down and come up with 3-4 customer profiles that have bought from you in the past. These customers are the ones who bring you true joy and remind you of why you do what you do. This exercise will help you narrow in on who you are speaking to and keep you from feeling like you're yelling into the void.

Define the content you'll share: Set yourself apart by focusing only on content that underlines and represents your mission and value as a business. Narrow your focus! While it's easy to get online and use your platform to talk about everything or what ever is on your mind, I assure you there are enough people online that do that, and in all honesty that's not why people follow you. They follow you for your business and the products you sell.

Define where you will spend your time online: You can't be everywhere at once. And you no longer need to be on every single social media site. How great is that? There are a few places you should be thinking about to establish your business online, obviously social media is one of them but having an email strategy is also imperative as you build your online business. Most people don't know this, but having an email strategy is one of the best ways to build relationships, establish trust, and make sales.

Remember, all of this is a process. It doesn't happen over night. And you can always tighten up and get better. Even if you've been online for years you can start to do all of this stuff today, and realign what and where you want to be.

All of the above will help you stay consistent online and allow you to spend more time building your business and focusing on the relationships you are trying to foster, and then get those sales.

P.S. If you're interested in hearing me talk more about relationships, community, and why this is all so important take a look at my recent Facebook Live video!