I read a blog yesterday with what I considered a very inflammatory theme: Social Media is a fad. Fortunately I read through the entire post and at the end I had to agree that with the true theme which is SoME is not the end – it is one of many means to an end. It will evolve and change as information changes (and that will be verrry fast).
I have been in the work world for more years than I care to remember sometimes and it appears I will be in it for more than I had originally planned. I used to have a secretary now I do all my own communications. I planned for an annual sales meeting over three weeks way back when. Now I can download the info in a half hour. I actually received all my payments via checks in the mail. That may have never happened to you.
Is this massive change in how companies operate the reason we often neglect to provide basic training? When all is said and done some things NEVER change.
- Customers do not care what you are hearing from anyone else but them.
- Your business development is totally dependent on your customer’s business development.
- They are uninterested in your cost saving measures unless they benefit and even then it cannot affect customer service.
- You must take away the risk from purchasing your product/service whether it’s a personal relationship, a long history of working together or something so extravagantly wonderful it would be worse not to buy it.
- Sales cannot be left to the sales people. Everyone has to involved.
- Bad employees have to be terminated immediately. You are who you surround yourself with.
Can you do that with SoMe? You bet! Are there other ways? Absolutely. Just don’t forget basic strategy. Without it all the tactics in the world won’t make a difference!
I’ve discovered a new malady. One that seems to cross socio-economic, age and gender lines. One that is openly discussed during meetings about social media. One that creates an instant bond with other sufferers. One that is kept under the radar during family time or socializing.
It’s called connectile dysfunction.
There are two forms. And neither is better than the other.
The first form is easily diagnosed. It’s the person who seemingly cannot detach from his/her virtual connections for any reason. You see them on the street, in restaurants and at their children’s recitals. Arrival at every venue is worth mentioning on Foursquare. No email can remain unopened because it could contain a link to…well, who knows unless you look! People who previously scoffed at gamers have become farmers and Mafia members on Facebook. They are the ones who forced human resource departments to develop social media policies so actual work gets done during work hours.
The second form is not so easily recognized. These people refuse to get connected. While this isn’t much of an issue on an individual basis it can create real problems for businesses run by affected owners and managers. Customers now expect they will find what they need and want online even if they go offline to actually buy it. Companies that refuse to meet their customers where they are will eventually go out of business even if their Yellow Pages ad is paid through the rest of the year.
I’m sure people don’t see it in themselves. If they could would they spend time online every day even Sunday?
This came back to me full force yesterday at a networking meeting.
The conversation centered around the failure of so many small businesses to utilize social media. There were a lot of reasons but the two most offered were time and fear.
There is absolutely no question that marketing takes time. Marketing is a strategy to make or keep a brand top of mind. It can’t be accomplished without a strategy and ongoing effort.
Many business owners believe they can’t devote time to any type of marketing because they’re so busy working. I get that. Every dentist knows when there’s no drilling there’s no billing. Still there had to be a way to get that person with the aching tooth in the door.
Every entrepreneur is an optimist. You have to be. That’s different from believing your product is so incredibly useful/innovative/time-saving/fill in the blank that people will come rushing to you. Money in hand. Screaming for your product. Without you lifting a finger to promote it.
Another comment was fear. The online world doesn’t support ongoing B2C efforts at least not for long (spam filter anyone?). The online world is C2B©. Customers are in charge here. They search for what they want when they want. If you happen to have what they want when they want it everybody wins! You’re not online? Well somebody wins just not you.
It’s scary to put yourself out there. Have you really considered what would happen if you became extremely successful? It changes your life. Maybe that’s way scarier than commiserating with others who are “doing okay, surviving, keep their heads above water”.
How do we support small business owners to get past these false reasons for not taking advantage of the opportunities of social media?
A study by the University of Maryland indicates college students are seriously addicted to the internet.
I’d like to know what addiction isn’t serious but I digress.
A class of 200 students disconnected from all electronic media for 24 hours after which they blogged about their experiences. The accumulated 110,000 words were centered around “bored, distracted, dependence, difficult” among others. The infographs in the study are great visuals.
When I saw the first paragraph of the results of the study I couldn’t believe it. Are you kidding me?
Then I got down to the part that made complete sense. This wasn’t about gaming or finding a new bar or any of a million other things you can do with a phone or social media.
They said they felt disconnected from their family and friends.
Wow. I get that. It’s just that I get it from being online all the time.
Talk about your generation gap.
The five highlights in the article are amazing! They spell out the future of communication. Ignore at your own risk.
Rebellion happens when people do not believe they are being heard. Sometimes it leads to revolution.
It’s easy to pick out the events of the last decade that changed the world. Not just due to the events themselves but to the changes that were required because of them. The biggest? 9/11. Katrina. Lehman Brothers closing.
Lehman’s failure and 9/11 were caused directly by organizations. Katrina was a force of nature but New Orleans could have been more levee prepared and the aftermath better managed by the organizations in charge.
It’s human nature not to change when we’re comfortable. And boy do we like to be comfortable! Regrettably one person’s comfort is another’s denial. How often have you heard “I saw it coming but nobody above me wanted to know.” I’ve heard it and in a few very unfortunate situations I was the one who didn’t want to know.
Social media experts counsel their clients to put listening posts in several places online. Listen to customers. Listen to competitors. Listen to suppliers. It’s great advice!
Here’s the thing. Listening has to start at the top. And it has to be okay for the other listeners to bring uncomfortable information. Unless you’re looking for a rebellion, or worse a revolution, it really the only way.
It took me a long time to stop focusing on potential clients. I mean the clients I met, had a meaningful conversation or two, sent the proposal, considered the project a slam-dunk. Like a summer camp romance I never heard from them again.
Oh my gosh. It’s demoralizing to think how much time I spent waiting for someone to call. Or I would call and leave a perky message.
Yes it would have been better if the other person said, “I’m just not that into you/your company/your offer”. Actually the silence was deafening but like most entrepreneurs I thought it nearly impossible to get turned down or they were busy or they needed to get the cash together. Sigh.
So I took the advice of a member of my Mastermind group. He never has more than two meetings with a potential client. Then it’s go or no go. He doesn’t spend any time worrying about it.
I am not doing this perfectly – one characteristic of an entrepreneur is eternal optimism.
Why does he have such success? He closes a large percentage of these deals.
His ability to sit down with the people who will really benefit from his expertise and to close the deal makes all the difference.
I’m working on that too.
I was introduced today to a man by a friend who told me he did data information systems. That’s neat and boy is there a need for it. I agreed we should talk sometime. They left my office and almost immediately the man came back in. He had not understood that I had my own company. He thought I was my friend’s employee. We laughed and I explained I spend most of my time optimizing online activities to drive traffic to client websites.
Then the most amazing thing happened. He gave me his card. Not only did he do information systems he developed ecommerce websites, provided SEO, developed PPC campaigns, was a social media expert, SQL databases, etc. There had to be ten to fifteen things on the back of that card.
“Oh, you do SEO, too?” I said. “Not really” he replied with a small smile. We chatted a few more minutes and he insisted we meet – there were opportunities to work together.
I’m not going to hold my breath. He already proved he doesn’t tell the truth.
We seem to be moving into a new era: Accountability for everyone in the business world. No longer are we allowing advertising and marketing to take our dollars in exchange for hope.
I love internet marketing, search and social media optimization. I take the greatest pleasure in helping business owners increase their exposure →their business→their sales→their profits. If I can’t do that I am just another consultant, another person who took money in exchange for nothing.
I can’t work like that. I have a pay for performance philosophy now. I am going to start demanding it of the vendors and suppliers who work for me.