Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sorry for the long absence ... we’re unbelievably busy just now and Craig’s been travelling. That said, it’s not good to be away for so long.
Lately, a major time-suck for me has been social media: i.e., how to make social media work for our clients. I know I’m not alone in wrestling with this—a couple of my favourite SM sites, Mashable and especially Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert—devote lots of attention to the tricky challenge of making an SM investment actually pay off. Jay recently published an excellent article, “Your Customers Don’t Actually Want to Be Your Friend,” from which I’ve excerpted a paragraph below to summarize the thesis:
“Why would a customer want to connect with your company online? What’s the benefit? How does doing so provide value, or helpfulness, or enjoyment? You must make the case to the customer that by NOT connecting with you, they are missing out on something of value. And you have to deliver on that promise .... The companies that can create a compelling reason for their customers to connect will succeed on the social Web. And those that don’t put the necessary emphasis on helpfulness and relevancy will fail.”
More than 200 people commented or tweeted on Jay’s article. Here is a sample of the conversation:
“[Our customers] do seem to read the blog, but aren’t big on interacting. So far, we’ve had the best luck with LinkedIn, because it matches up best with our demographic. Even so, although they have joined our group, they’re not really participating in the conversation. So I guess we need to give them better reasons to.”
“I suspect we stop short of really working out the ‘why’ [invest in social media] sometimes because there isn’t a good answer. That should be a warning sign that using social media for engagement isn’t going to be effective, but we press on because we feel we have to (or because the client is paying for it).”
“Realizing that a slew of customers are NOT standing at the door ad probably really don’t care about your ‘brand’ is often a hard one for an entrepreneur to swallow.”
“Welcome to my daily struggle.”
My friend J, a reporter based in London, recently sent me five tips to help me retain my sense of humour while slogging through the overload of social media fact and opinion:
- Purchase and wear a Che Guevara-style beret
- Philosophize in grandiose manner over different social media apps, programs, etc.
- Use Socratic method of questioning to get the upper hand in conversations about social media
- Attend social media events about social media (be self-reflexive)
- Wear soft sneakers with minimalist soles even in the dead of an Ottawa winter
Thanks J! In the meantime, I’ll copy the best advice I saw on social media publishing from the comment thread to “Your Customers Don’t Actually Want to Be Your Friend”:
“I usually just advise “consider this: why would anyone give a sh*t?” (i really need to engage my own censor fulltime). Don’t overpost, post irrelevant stuff, post stuff that doesn’t make people think, laugh or get angry, or post without a call to action.”
Source: Amanda (linked to http://areyousociallyacceptable.com)
I say don’t get a censor, Amanda.