Social media is not black, white or any other supernatural magic. It only works if you invest the proper time and energy networking socially like the rest of us muggles.
Keyword…social. Meaning, build relationships to establish credibility and trust. That means actually engaging in conversation over on Twitter and Facebook and any other platform of your choosing. Build friendships and they will come, along with their friends. And their friends. And their friends. Throwing self promotions and links up all over your twitter and facebook pages hardly lead to a brand that any of us take seriously, let alone converse with.
Brands, you need to answer questions. You need to hold conversations, even if they are just about the weather or diaper rash. You need to socialize. Showing that you are a real person behind a product goes a very long way and ends up in your pocket book. Trust me, I’m not a Social Media guru but I’ve been around long enough to know what I’m talking about.
Recently, I was in a meeting with a potential client. We spoke for a long time about what it was that I thought I could offer his company. He was insistent that the success of Dooce was replicable. I assured him that many of us bloggers have tried yet haven’t seen the same results. She’s an anomaly. Not because she has a better blog than many of us, because she really doesn’t. It’s because she was in the right place at the right time with the right circumstance. Her moons aligned, that lucky chick.
He wasn’t impressed that I couldn’t promise her success with his companies blog.
Then we discussed building a following. I mentioned the whole Crock Pot Girls phenomenon, introducing the idea that there may have been a bot involved. He was impressed with the idea that a bot can build a huge following and said he wouldn’t mind paying for one. What he doesn’t understand is that all it translates to is useless numbers and not dollar signs. These “followers” are not ever going to actively engage which means they will never buy his product. He’s better off having 100 real followers that will buy his product, post about it on their facebook bringing in more customers than having 1 million “followers” that will never, ever visit his facebook wall, blog or twitter. *Crickets*
Then came the time to discuss numbers. I quoted my price. I heard the brakes squeal in his mind, I’m sure tire tracks were left on his brain. He said that he couldn’t justify my price without my guarantee of $500,000 in revenue derived from social media.
I almost snorted. Because anyone that promises him that…ever…is lying. It would be like me taking a sales position of, say, cars, and guaranteeing X amount of sales a month. There are absolutely no guarantees. Unless, of course, you dabble in the black arts and are a spell caster. Although, that would be super cool but just like guaranteeing an exact number, it’s impossible.
I wish I could make promises. Well, I could but I’d have to keep my fingers crossed as the words escaped my lips. Sadly, I’m not a liar. So, I left him very unimpressed with my social media prowess. I’m no self proclaimed sage but I understand the magic and know how to use it.
He is one of many who have very unrealistic expectations when it comes to social media.
So many “Brands” who choose to go the social media route are doing a horrendous job with the social part, which is probably the most important element to the whole thing. They expect their SM person to send out a tweet that entices hundreds of phone calls demanding their service or product immediately. They expect everything immediately. But, much like building a house, my friend Christina compares it to, you have to lay out a strong foundation and then build it brick by brick, taking care that each layer of brick is secure before building another row.
Most of my blogging, social media friends that I consulted,Amy, Jessica, Josh, Shannon and Theresa(just to name a few) all had the same complaints about their potential or existing brand clients:
unrealistic expectations, expecting free to very inexpensive payment for loads of work-because yes, a lot of work goes into building a brands credentials on the social media platforms, expecting bad products to be made miraculously fabulous somehow, and brands not listening to the advice we are imparting upon them.
Social media is constantly changing and shifting, it’s not an exact science with a magical formula.
But it’s not rocket science either.
It’s really very simple, actually. Grow your social media presence by growing your relationships. Growing your relationships grows your business. Growing your business fattens your wallet, idealistically.
And brands, this one is for you…it does NOT happen overnight, contrary to what you have stuck in your heads. It’s kind of like a pregnancy. It takes around 9 months to really have something you can begin giving hugs and kisses to.
After you build your brands presence, that…is when the magic happens.