Social Media is not about you

Face It! Social Media is not about YOU!

Sometimes we become so wrapped up in Social Media strategy, how to beat Edgerank, how to get our message across and the ROI of Social Media, that we forget what makes Social Media work: The connection between people. Those people could really care less about the fact that you just used the latest statistics to determine at what time they are online or even if your website is number 1 on Google. As much as I love building beautiful websites and Facebook pages for you - in the end it depends on your ability to convince the connected consumer that you offer the best value.

So why are we spending all that time building that perfect Social Media presence?

Three events came together that made me reflect on the way most of us approach Social Media

  1. A you might know I am nominated for an award for “Best Online Marketer“. As a result I thought a lot about the change Social Media brings to marketing and my own place in this revolution
  2. I was very fortunate to discuss my thoughts with a friend Nick Kellet recently and he had some very helpful insights for me. He wrote an interesting blog post that  is related to this conversation: Do the Work. Social Media is Work.
  3. I found a blog post today that reports that Social Media had virtually no impact on Black Friday sales: The Social Media Marketing Honeymoon Is Over(Social Media Examiner)

 Closeup of young women covering her mouth with both handsWhat if Social Media is not about making money at all?

Yes, we need to pay the bills and we need to pay our employees and Social Media managers for the time they spend promoting our business. But do our customers really care about your shiny new website or the cool tool you are using for your newest Facebook contest?

The answer is: NO

As a customer I am much more interested in what deal you can give me, and how your staff and you treat me when I deal with you.

The shiny LinkedIn Profile you just crafted might make me find you easier (if that’s where I’m going to look for you) but in order to really decide if I want to work with you I will ask my trusted network and will want to have a personal connection with you.

I love to build really nice websites for my clients, customized and state of the art. But the fact that I put a store and a blog on your new site doesn’t make it sell your products. It takes your effort to engage interested visitors and it takes your work to create content that serves those who need it!

Don’t get me wrong! Your Social Media presence is increasingly important to stay relevant or even present in your customers’ eyes but Social Media Marketing is secondary to your Social Media persona!

It’s not Social Media that makes money, it’s you connecting through the tools.

The Primary function of Social Media tools is to give your audience a chance to talk to you!

In a discussion about the merit of Facebook Pages messaging I realized that I repeat the following in every single one of my seminars:

“[tweet_dis]Not answering on Social Media is like ignoring a message I left on your answering machine[/tweet_dis]”

The mantra of “Social Media Marketing Experts” to focus on reach, exposure and return on investment has taken our focus away from serving our audience.

So Now What?

I don’t mean to discourage your efforts to master this ever changing beast we call “Social Media.”

The Social Media revolution keeps changing how we gather, share and interpret information. (Purchasing) decisions continue to be influenced by our Social Networks. Ignoring this power will be fatal for any business. But we have to focus on new paradigms:

  • Business is only a guest in Social Networks

“Social Media is not about Business to Business or Business to Consumer, it’s about People to People” ~ Brian Solis

  • Today’s digital tools break down barriers of distance and isolation but they amplify the need for personal attention
  • Social Media is a two way street - keep both lanes open!
  • [tweet_dis]Social Media is not about YOU making money - it’s your chance to stay relevant[/tweet_dis]

Tell me - what kind of person is your Social Media persona?

I am the the founder of BlueBird Business Consulting (formerly Tweet4Ok). My focus is on Social Media strategy and education. My blog covers topics ranging from how-to social media posts to more general topics of concern for a rapidly changing digital world. Favourite quote: “To succeed in the business of the future we have to become the very people we are trying to reach” ~ Brian Solis


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18 Responses to “Face It! Social Media is not about YOU!”

  1. Jennifer Kent December 5, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Great post. This is the great truth that most people don’t understand and those that do avoid. Businesses want a black and white ROI. They don’t really want to hear that social media is about relationships and connecting and that it is only a part of the process. If you use social media well it can greatly increase your business (sales) and if you do it poorly, then you are wasting your time and money.

    The question is how to make brands understand the value of each interaction on social media without having a hard dollar figure attached.

    “If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear it?”

    • Frithjof December 5, 2012 at 11:39 am #

      Thanks for your thoughts Jennifer!
      I’ve been thinking a lot about where the focus should be. I strongly believe that having a good and active social media personality is essential for long term success.
      Very few business owners I meet have that long term vision but are lured into “get rich with social media” schemes.
      The key is that we have to serve our customers first - like in other areas of our businesses this is the key for sustainable growth.
      Working on a long term social media strategy can be tiring as we all know. I found Nick’s post “Do The Work” very encouraging, have you read it?

  2. Jennifer Kent December 5, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    It can and someday you wonder if it is all worth it. Then you have a great conversation with someone or answer someone’s question and you remember why you do it! Social media works best when mixed with your passion. 🙂

    I just read Nick’s post. I think that he lays it out exactly like it is. It is work and it takes time and effort everyday. There are no short cuts or easy solutions. It is just getting in there and doing it and refining your strategy as you go.

    Thanks for this post and sharing Nick’s as well!!!!

    • Frithjof December 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

      🙂 Jen some of the credit for both posts goes to you…
      Nick and I had lots of time to chat on our way to Salmon Arm 🙂

  3. Robloc December 5, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Everybody wants to say something but it ends there! It is all about the message and it is never personal!

    • Frithjof December 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by Robloc! Can you clarify what you mean “it is never personal” please?

  4. Harold Gardner December 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Your post is dead on accurate. Someone asked me what was the most important skill in running a SoMe campaign. I got a strange look, when I replied that the most critical skill was listening. Most folks are coming out of an advertising mindset and think about SoMe as another avenue to broadcast their message rather than an opportunity to engage.

    • Frithjof December 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by Harold!
      I know! Advertising is often the easy way out and it often takes a lot of “unlearning” to make the switch to being social and really helpful to your audience

  5. Andreas Wiedow December 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    Social media is only a hook that should lead to sustain business IRL. So yes, no business in online SoMe (unless by accident) but IRL.

    I’m wary of people I only know online anyway.

    Online SoMe is crucial when meeting people offline first time though. Everybody takes their smartphone out and adds you immediately. Then number of connections, followers, etc. count as FIRST Impression.

    • Frithjof December 5, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      Thanks for your comment Andreas!
      I somewhat disagree - Social Media IS real life! Personality in face to face interactions is only technically different. Relationships formed in Social Media can be as meaningful as in person.
      I agree however, that both personalities / lives have to match. A shiny Social Media presence can not make up for a failing business model.

      • Andreas Wiedow December 6, 2012 at 1:24 am #

        Hehehe, nice, I agree that relationships formed in SoMe ‘can’ be as meaningful as in person. And a shiny appearance - be that online or IRL - can be cheat.

        I’m coming from a different aspect which may appear a bit contradictory . . .

        “Every minute spent online one will regret at the end of their days.” Having said that I’m member of 140+ online thingies.

    • Frithjof December 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      Hey, viele Gruesse nach Frankfurt - ich vermisse den Weihnachtsmarkt 🙂

      • Andreas Wiedow December 6, 2012 at 1:13 am #

        Frankfurt hat sich gefreut und grüsst zurück . . . hehehe . . . Gib’ mir Deine Email und ich lade Dich zu ein - dann kriegste mit, was in Frankfurt läuft und hast auch noch mehr Kontakt mit Expats wo auch immer Du bist 🙂

  6. Justin Iiams December 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    The bottom line is that for every business and every person social media is different. different goals, needs, and wants.

    We have to do what OUR business needs… not what all the experts tell us we need.

    However, those experts might also have ideas that get us there sooner rather than later….

    • Frithjof December 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      Good point Justin! That’s what makes it so much like real life doesn’t it?
      Thanks for your comment

  7. Maria December 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Great article and very accurate. I see social media as an opportunity for trust building. It is a great way to humanize your business and be of service. If you are using it to drive sales I think you are missing the point. I think social media is most beneficial when you use it as a long term strategy rather than for short term sales building. There is so much good in social media. So much of it is about people helping people that when you decide to participate in that way, you go beyond the business to customer relationships to one of friend to friend. If you can establish that level of regard and trust - and it does take time - I think you can do a lot for your business.

    • Frithjof December 5, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

      Thanks for your nice comment Maria!
      I like how you said: “go beyond the business to customer relationships to one of friend to friend”

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