Social Networks Aren't for Everyone

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It’s true you know. As much as social media is the heart and soul of the way I do business, it just might not be right for the way you run YOUR business.

Traditional marketing methods are all about getting the product in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Preferably with a catchy enough slogan or design to differentiate yourself from the herd. Failing that, some marketers turn to volume. If you can reach millions of people every day on Twitter or Facebook and it’s FREE, why not take advantage of that opportunity to get eyeball share by setting up scheduled messaging to hit people at varying times of day, see which time slot gets the most clicks and then bombard that time slot with special offers until you get some sales? Why not get as many followers, friends and connections as possible so you can use those numbers in your marketing reports? Isn’t it all about metrics?

Doing so makes it crystal clear that you don’t get social media, and you may actually be doing your brand more damage than you think. Go ahead, try it if you must, and watch people simply un-friend, un-follow and turn their backs on you. You can be shut out of the herd in the blink of an eye if you don’t contribute something real to the community. Oh, and don’t think they won’t be talking about you, just not the way you might have hoped.

Social media is just that. It’s social. It’s about relationships between individuals not companies. Everybody talks about how Comcast turned their customer service reputation around by setting up the Comcast Cares account on Twitter. But it wasn’t Comcast that did it. It was Frank Eliason, setting out on his own to solve a problem. He wasn’t trying to make sales. He was trying to solve a problem, and it was his personal responses on a one on one level that made it work. It did work. it worked brilliantly. Because of Frank’s personal attention and now his team’s, and there are countless examples of companies and individuals mimicking Frank’s efforts. Some successful and some not.

If you’re not willing to actually take the time to talk to your potential customers, social media “marketing” isn’t for you. In fact, strike the phrase Social Media Marketing from your vocabulary. As many people as there are right now willing to make a fast buck by telling you that the answer to your prayers is Social Media Marketing, I’m here to call bullsh*t on that one right now. It’s not marketing. It’s communicating. It’s creating friendships and relationships and being a valuable part of the society you decide to take part in. It’s listening to your customers and what they say to each other and then responding or acting on what you’ve learned to deepen their trust in you. It may even extend to giving them a place to bitch about you so you can listen and make your product better.

When you give more to the community than you expect in return you can establish a place of respect. From that place people will look to your product because they like, trust and respect you, and they know that if there’s a problem with the product you’ll be there to stand behind your brand. It’s kind of like going back to the small town days when the local merchant knew the names and desires of every customer. If you’re not willing to do that for your customers, social media is not for you.

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