Probably the most common social media mistake made by both business owners and individuals is not having a clear understanding of what social media is. When you forget (or don’t know) what social media is – that is the time when the biggest mistakes are made. So what is social media –
Social media is conversation!
True – it’s a unique – technology aided means of communication – but when you strip away the shiny metal surface – social media is simply communication between people who are not face to face with each other.
Because it is conversation – the typical rules of making polite conversation apply. With the way some people treat social media – I wonder how many dinner party invitations they receive – because their manners online are atrocious.
Of course, those with the worst manners are those who are trying to “game” the system. These boorish oafs are akin to the person who shows up at the party and starts barging in on conversations, telling anyone who will listen about this GREAT MLM opportunity. The only reason this type of person ACCEPTS a party invitation is to build his or her “down line.” There is no room for relationships – only rubes.
The real “problem” most businesses have with social media is that their previous relationships with their customers were strictly one way. The company spoke via television ads, radio ads, newspaper ads, etc. The customer responded by whipping out his/her credit card and making a purchase. There is little opportunity for feedback in that kind of “relationship” – and quite honestly it – it made it MUCH easier on the business when the communication was strictly one way.
Instead of dealing with REAL customer feedback – the business could simply speculate on what consumers thought. They could sit in meeting rooms – drinking coffee and pouring over spread sheets and try to interpret the WHY behind their consumers behavior. In the days BEFORE social media – the only other way to gain this valuable data was to resort to focus groups. Focus groups are where people are brought into an artificial setting and asked about their opinions. It’s phony – it’s forced – but a decade ago it was the best way to figure out what was going on inside a consumer’s mind.
That was then – and this is now.
Now we have a more “advanced” tool for gaining access to what’s going on inside consumer’s minds. However, there are those who will try to tell you that [insert social media tool here] is the short- cut to marketing success. Just set up a Facebook Fan Page – or a blog – or begin Tweeting – and you’ll be amazed as you watch your business revenues skyrocket with throngs of customers hungry for your product or service.
Don’t get me wrong – that certainly CAN happen. There’s nothing better than working with a client who has a clear vision of their customer’s GDP (Goals, Desires, Problems) who wants to get involved in social media marketing. On the flip side – there’s nothing worse than trying to work with someone whose social media marketing goal is revenue without relationships.
There are many ways to communicate with your customers and potential customers. The biggest difference between social media marketing and “traditional” marketing methods is that the prospective customers can – and WILL – let you know what they think.
Come to think of it – consumers are doing the same thing via social media when it comes to traditional marketing methods such as television advertising as well. So when you think about it – there really is no escaping the fact that social media will be shaping your business whether you like it or not. You can make the biggest mistake of all which is ignoring social media – or you can try to manipulate social media when you don’t like what your customers are saying – but in the end, remember that social media is merely communication aided and abetted by technology – and nothing more.
Any “magic” you find in using social media for marketing is definitely provided by YOU!