The Why of Social Media
“Smart maketers have discovered that the old way of advertising and selling products isn’t working as well as it used to, and they’re searching aggressively for a new, enterprising way to increase market share and profits.”
Seth Godin, Permission Marketing
It is hard to believe but Seth’s ground breaking book was published as long ago as 1999. I understand that the free version has been downloaded more than 1 million times. I have that and I have an original hard back copy.
If you haven’t yet read it may I suggest that you download a copy and spend a few days soaking in the wisdom that comes from someone who seems always to be ahead of the curve (by several years).
Right now every firm appears to be adopting social media with unbridled enthusiasm. Let me qualify that statment: they seem to be jumping on to Twitter, establishing a Facebook page for graduate recruitment and building their connections and company page on LinkedIn.
Why social media?
It is imperative that you give consideration to this question as much as you may hate it.
It leaves you exposed.
You don’t want to have to explain yourself?
It feels like painting by numbers.
Marketing has done what has been asked of them.
But that is the What question.
What is Twitter etc?
You haven’t even focused on the How.
It seems random and ill-conceived.
Even the Twitter handles [names] look wrong.
Why the Hell would I want to tweet back FirmLLP?
The Why question is just too hard.
The paradigm of business development is a mess.
Where do you invest your money?
The only way social media will work is if you have a remarkable service that so inspires those that you touch to spread your passion, ability and skill via their circle of acquaintances. Hopefully some are on line but you would won’t be surprised to learn that most people would prefer to simply talk to people. That is not to say that you should ignore the on-line space.
If you do decide to commit to social media then you need a budget. A big budget. It won’t work if you expect, much like business development, for everyone to chip in and do their bit. They need help.
But fundamentally if you are not social and *it* doesn’t match what you are about, then any interaction will be tempered with fear to the extent that you will never be able to let go. To unlearn.
As trite as it may sound you don’t do social. If you have to force people to contrive a message or propogate a bland sales message, then no one will want to hear from you. Let’s face it no one cares about your service.
If you start with the presumption that your loyal clients will always love you – and that is where you focus should be paramount – then the cohort of non-clients may be much much smaller than you believe the case. Most firms have a small geographical footprint. Would you be better spending more time in the community?
The focus of your (Why) activities should be:
1. Create remarkable content;
2. Build a permission based tribe;
3. And earn the attention to spread your ideas and interact with your clients.
Too many firms think that by trying to extend the reach of their unremarkable content will endure them to a whole slew of new and loyal clients.
You will just end up talking to yourself or the wrong people (unless they are happy to spread your ideas).
The Why of social media is not just a pretty question.
It is all that there is.
Get it right and you will see your firm thrive.
Get it wrong and you will besmirch the brand and do more harm than good.
Create a story.
Share remarkable content.
Build a loyal tribe.
Measure your efforts.
And don’t be afraid to change direction and admit your mistakes if things are not working.