“If we put a number on it, people will try to make the number go up.
Now that everyone is a marketer, many people are looking for a louder megaphone, a chance to talk about their work, their career, their product… and social media looks like the ideal soapbox, a free opportunity to shout to the masses.
But first, we’re told to make that number go up. Increase the number of fans, friends and followers, so your shouts will be heard. The problem of course is that more noise is not better noise.”
Seth Godin‘s blog post: 11 December 2011
This is the version of social media that you understand.
Start talking about a loyal following who love you (and your service) who want to tell everyone they know, and everything breaks down.
To truly understand social media, you only need focus on two words:
The trouble is that most people don’t know how to do **it**.
At this stage, I am reminded of Stephen Covey‘s habit #5:
“Seek first to understand then to be understood.”
Do you understand:
1) Your clients/customers viewing habits?
2) What type of content floats their boat?
3) How you can gain attention with a database in the thousands?
4) How you create remarkable content?
5) The context of the material that you are producing?
6) How to set up the appropriate listening outposts (remember what Chris Brogan said: “Grow Bigger Ears”)?
7) How to engage your clients without appearing to spam the s*** out of them?
The likelihood is that you have been conditioned to push your message out there, and there has, previously, been enough oh-so-willing buyers to consume your service. But you know (unless you are blind to the bleeding obvious) that as we adapt to the technology, social interaction and making the most of our peer to peer network, we will increasingly come to distrust, or more likely ignore, any amount of “look at us” business development activity.
Social media is easy to fake.
A Twitter feed;
A Facebook page;
A Company LinkedIn page; and
The odd YouTube channel here and there.
And who is listening/engaging?
Yes, you might have given yourself a few not-so-gentle pats on the back – “look at our followers” – but who is listening/engaging?
May be professional services is ill-suited at a corporate level to engagement. My sense is that clients couldn’t care a jot for your latest news on Twitter any more than they do for the guff that is poured forth from your website. All they really care about is how you can help them.
To move things on, you have to care, exhibit ‘true’ concern (not through the eyes of how much this case is worth), be prepared to express an opinion (no sitting on very w-i-d-e fences now) and be patient. Your social media edifice wasn’t built in a day.
I really don’t like to keep on but frankly the longer you keep peddling your slew of blandness, imbued with a fake sense of “we care”, the longer it will take to scale any mountain.
Remember by the way that people care. Brands? Who knows? Yes, there are some consumer focused brands that absent their name wouldn’t make me want to buy but that is not the same in the professional services World. They want you because (hopefully) you really care.
And one final point, whilst you are making up your mind or playing at the fringe, someone who doesn’t care for the numbers but for their clients will steal the show from under your nose.