When social media (Facebook & LinkedIn) first became popular, I thought it was an incredible medium. I continually received invites from high school friends or business contacts, Before long, I had hundreds of contacts on each site, and thought I was quite well-connected. I too, reached out to others to build my networks even more.
As an entrepreneur, I thought all the online networking would help grow my business services company. I even posted online ads through both mediums. I eagerly entered this new online world with high hopes for future business and personal connections. These endeavors were the future – I had entered the Internet 2.0 edition.
Questioning the importance came slowly, yet my gut told that there were issues. Out of the hundreds of clients over eight years in business, not one client told me they found out about my company through social media. They may have reviewed my resume, yet we did not become introduced through a social media medium.
Another sense of doubt came from political commentary. I started reading memes or comments from the same people over and over again especially as an election approached. As fake news emerged, it became obvious that many of these postings were complete nonsense. Beyond accuracy, the postings insulted the reader, who believed differently.
As a part-time business instructor, I place considerable emphasis on entrepreneurship. I ask students how they will market their business to obtain new customers. The most common response is “I will blast my message all over social media.” There you have it. The key to success in the digital age is to shout as loud as possible through our social mediums.
Marketing and sales channels come and go, yet one thing remains the same. Crafting messages that motivate people to improve their lives through your product produces new customers. People hate to receive shouts, yet they love conversations which improve their lives or companies.
When it comes to public policy, no one will change their voting choices by receiving insults. Am I going to change my ideas from the consistent shouting of someone I barely knew in high school? Let’s think through what we post on social. If you do want to post political stuff, consider something with humor or thoughtfulness that may motivate someone to stop and consider another point of view.
There is a role for social media in business. Creating channels for branding, customer service, and product feedback is important for overall business development. However, the idea that the more you post, the more your business will grow is completely false. Marketing is complex. Branding, messaging, multiple channels, product quality, and reputation all contribute to new sales.
No Easy Fix
Social media can be fun to see vacation photos, reconnect with varied people, and be entertained. Let’s wise up! There is no magic pill for marketing other than hard work. Outside of work, pick up the phone or meet people in person. You may be surprised, your personal network will be real instead of digital. Come on America, our true future awaits.