I haven’t written a blog for a good few weeks because that most stupid excuse of work has got in the way. But now as I get time to catch my breath I have a lot to reflect on. I’ve been pondering the use of social media lately.
Everyone will tell you that you must have a regular and busy twitter feed, an interactive Linked in and a regular message for Facebook to promote your business. Being a video producer as well as a photographer I’m all for promoting these media and getting my clients to regularly update their material. I have a vested interest one might say in promoting that line of thought.
But, this year I’ve been some reverse marketing. What’s that you might ask? Simple concept to find out the benefit of an action try stop doing it for a while. See who notices, see who comments and see what overall effect it has on your business.
The conclusions I have come to are quite simple and carry far more weight than just my business online marketing. The conclusions relate to Brexit, to business in general and basically the whole concept of my approach to the world of business.
Breaking it down what does social media do? You connect with as many people as possible so that as many people see your posts as possible. The logic being based quite rightly on the numbers game. The more you market the greater chance you have of getting some work. There is no disputing that logic.
But what are we really doing on social media. We connect to all these people to broadcast. And quite rightly they are all doing the same. We aren’t connecting to receive only send. The actual process of connecting and sending in itself is an almost pointless exercise.
Ask yourself this, how often do you go on to Linked In, Facebook or Twitter and read all the feeds coming in? How much time are you actually spending receiving rather than sending? I suspect most people using social media to promote their business will answer a very small proportion is reading other peoples feeds compared to the time spent preparing their own. Why would you expect others you have connected with to be any different?
I recently celebrated a work anniversary according to my Linked in site, up pops an indication to my connections that I’ve been running the business for x amount of years. Whether this is true or not depends on how fastidious I was with the truth when I first joined Linked In. What happens? I get more than 20 messages all saying exactly the same thing – “Congrats on your anniversary! I hope you are doing well.”
The first one I received like this I thought Oh that’s nice, the second, that’s a coincidence by the third I realised it was a one hit statutory comment Linked In offered people to respond with. It’s not really communication it’s a cope out.
But you can guarantee if you are paying for a company to do your social media these 20 odd connections are going to really boost my communication figures.
So the point I’m making is one that is as old as the hills. Social media is no different from leaflet distribution or adverts in papers and magazines. It’s a means to become known in the same way you know your dentist or doctor exists. But to be useful you need to follow up any connection with intimate one to one communication if you want to build a relationship. Because we all know we buy from people we like, know and trust more if given the choice.
And this is where the difficulty comes in, many of those connections you have so easily made on Facebook, Twitter and Linked in are only interested in that link for the benefits of selling their own wares rather than interested in your goods or services.
Building real relationships in business is a far better source of business to most companies than any form of advertising. Don’t be mislead into thinking social media is going to solve all your business woes anymore than a leaflet drop or an advertising campaign. Doing social media without intense personal contact follow up is as bad as having an exhibition stand, manning it with your accountant and having him sit cross armed with his back to the passing people!
By Brian Russell
Copyright July 2016.