Since the mainstream takeover of the social networks in 2008 every small business owner has been nudged, persuaded and cajoled into adopting a presence on all major platforms and for many the results are perhaps not what you may expect.
We all hear and read of the the massive success achieved from the small independent business that blew up from their inspiring Instagram account or the personality-led business that became an overnight success with their viral YouTube channel. These meteoric results create a desire that you must heavily invest in your presence on social media to have any success in a modern business landscape. The reality is, many small businesses are performing mass self-sabotage from their current efforts and their involvement in social media marketing is causing their business to go backwards.
Before I get into the dangers I want to make a very clear and simple point. I am a HUGE supporter of how digital marketing and social networking can have a MASSIVE positive impact. It is just the practices that I see adopted by the masses are quite frankly embarrassing.
The primary problem is that the “dark-arts” and “ninja tactics” orchestrated by some of the world’s most creative marketers have delivered results beyond expectation and suggested to the masses that these tools provide the answer, missing ingredients or short cut to success. So much so that they now have forgotten many of the core principles of building a business.
In all of my experience to date, the one thing that has been the single driver of every single successful venture, project or campaign has been the following of my personal mantra for success.
“Do the basics, to a high standard, consistently”
What is happening in thousands of businesses right now is that the core principles of sales are being forgotten in favour of rolling the dice with the next magic campaign, social post or viral video attempt looking for short-term success.
In the real world, there are no short cuts and developing a sustainable customer base is created over time and built on trust.
Business developers know that questions lead to conversations, conversations create relationships, relationships create opportunities and opportunities result in sales.
Slowing the process down often speeds the outcome up. I often draw comparison here as looking for a partner for life as opposed to sex on the first date.
Back to the self-sabotaging behaviours that are costing businesses a fortune.
1. Pissing in the Wind
I do not understand why thousands of independent business owners rush to build their social platforms, invite a handful of friends to like or follow their page and then never plan anything else to build their audience. Worse than this they spend fortunes on creating graphics and then invest bucket loads of time into collating and creating content to post regularly and nobody is listening! They are just pouring productive time and effort down the drain and could have gained more success by opening their front door and shouting their offers into the street!
We are all in the “people” business and to gain true influence it is important that both visibility and credibility are established before any opportunity to do business ever exists. Yet daily the prior trend of spamming people’s email inbox has been replaced with sending 500 word messages with links to videos or squeeze pages via Facebook messenger, direct messages or as an auto-response to a new follower. Please, please pretty please can people put a stop to this blindly unsophisticated intrusion of privacy and if you have something that may benefit me – please get to know me a little first.
I am pretty certain that most people do not want to read some of the mindless drivel that people are sharing on their social streams. Ask yourself before you hit the “post” button, will this represent me and my brand well? Can people engage with it? Does it serve others? Everybody now has the ability to be a full media production unit – great that you can be the journalist, please do not forget that you need to hold the role of editor too! In this age of information we are awash with content to consume – if you want yours to stand out then please make it good enough.
4. Egocentric Results
Yes, you are the most important person in your life – I get it! Unless you are Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump or Selena Gomez then the likelihood of people being that concerned about what is happening in your world is slim to none. Make your contact about your audience, understand them and provide them with things that serve their life, make their day easier, and things they love to talk about.
5. Aimless Distraction
Whether it is the thumb on your iPhone, the index finger on your mouse wheel or two fingers on the trackpad, the action of mindlessly scrolling through the sea of nonsense on your social walls is causing a tragedy in lost productivity. For many a homebased worker, high pay off activity such as prospecting, serving customers and planning marketing campaigns has been replaced with the vacant distraction of the soap opera of social media.
This article is delivered with the purpose of holding up a huge STOP sign and helping you to re-evaluate your activity and ask yourself if it is really working and genuinely driving results or is it simply draining from your limited resource and standing in your way of building a solid business foundation.
Perhaps the shift could move back to understanding the biggest value in these tools is how they can increase productivity, reduce geographic constraints and accelerate the building of new relationships.
Build your audience, serve your audience, engage with your audience and be prepared to bring the conversation “offline” and work the old fashioned way if you would like to see some true returns.
And if you can’t wrap your head around it to make it pay for you, stop it and get back to delivering the basics, to a high standard consistently.