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Social Media: Are Your Social Conversations Delivering Value?

are your social conversations adding valueWow, it has been a busy couple of weeks.  I have had little time to write.  It’s funny as what is driving me the most nuts about this is my community is asking for information.  There are specific topics they want me to write about. They have questions and I haven’t had time to answer. I solidified an editorial calendar and have a good plan to deliver some solid content the next few weeks.

The purpose of this post today is to discuss the value we offer our audiences.  It’s not news to anyone has ever been on the internet that there is no shortage for information. 500 million users on Facebook, 24 hrs of video uploaded every minute, one new LinkedIn user every minute and the list goes on.  As more and more people hop on the internet and engage in social media the noise and clutter is getting louder and deeper.

I think the one thing that is getting lost when new people jump on to social media is that it is a conversation.  Many jump on Facebook and Twitter and use it as an ad platform. They take the same content they would advertise in the local Chamber directory and blast it hundreds of times on the social platform.

As business leaders we can control how our social conversations start. We obviously can’t always control conversations that are not started by us.  However, you can absolutely influence the tone and message of the social platforms we drive and own.   We can ensure they are engaging, inspirational and add value to the audience we desire to connect with.

I recently received an invitation to a local Facebook fan page.  The company is well run and has a decent brand in the local market.  I was immediately excited to see them on Facebook when I saw the invitation.  However, once I clicked on the link to view their page I was quite disappointed.  What should my social nut eyes find? All that was posted on their wall was announcements of how you could receive a free maintenance assessment.  It had to be posted on the page 10-15 times the past week! The sad thing is there were very few other posts.

I have two primary concerns with my visit to this Fanpage. The first is they are doing nothing to add value to their audience. There were some tips earlier in the stream but it seems once they launched the free maintenance campaign the conversation became consumed by the word FREE FREE FREE!  My second concern is that they are dilluting their own brand.  By only talking about free trials and  free services they are leaving brand mind prints of the word free.

Yes, value is good when we can save money.  However, we also need to be sure to balance with the value of our services.  Why is something we offer for FREE worth anything?   If we only ever talk about the FREE part of our story, the value gets lost in the noise.

I am not certain if this particular business has a social media consultant executing their social media. If they do, the person should be fired.  If they don’t they probably need one.

My question to my clients, partners, colleagues and you is this:  Are you adding value?

Ask yourself these 2 questions:

1. Are my social conversations…

-Authentic?

-Real conversations? Or are they ads trying to hide in a conversation wrapper?

-Engaging my audience? How are they responding? Are they responding?

-Inspiring my audience to action? Action could be to “like” your Facebook page, answer a question or as simple as join a conversation.

-Connecting you closer to your audience?

-Enabling you to learn more about your audience?

-More about me than they are about what I can do for my audience to help them?

-Consumed by business speak?

-Speaking at, to or with my audiences?

-Delivering a healthy balance of personal and professional engagement?

-Building brand equity or diminishing it? (i.e., a Fanpage consumed by FREE offers)

2. What information am I providing that…

-Adds value to the person reading it?

-Adds value to their business?

-Teaches my audience something they didn’t know?

-Provides them data that can make them feel and be smart?

-Enables them to have a leg up on competition?

-They can’t get from a million other sources?

-Inspires them to do the “double click” (double click = action)

-Connects with them emotionally, personally, professionally?

It is imperative for businesses engaging in social media to learn the media which they are using.  It should not be used as a free for all spam deck.  Instead, take the time to learn the tools.  Research your audience.  Hire a coach if you need help.  The time invested up front will reap positive return on investment (ROI) exponentially on the back end.

Healthy relationships have balance.  Focus on balancing your social conversations with both personal and professional.  Each post, tweet and blog post does not have to be both. However, balance is key.

And last but not least, focus on your audience first.  Inspire them to connect with you.  Connect with them authentically.  Then last achieve goals of helping them grow their business or life.  If you do these three in this order you will then achieve your goals.  However, if you focus only on yourself and your own goals you’ll never inspire nor connect with your audience.

In a world of bitter apples. Be the sweet orange!

Inspire – Connect – Achieve

I challenge all reading this to really think about the content you are writing in social media.  Put yourself in the shoes of each of your priority audience segments and ask yourself the above questions.  Be honest with yourself.  If the answers aren’t good, change it up. You have the ability to control the conversations you start.  Make every conversation count and do something that adds value.  Real value.

Your Turn

What are your thoughts on this? Do you also see many businesses attempt to engage in social media yet still struggle? Are you adding value to your audiences?

Join The Conversation

  • PamMoore's picture
    Nov 19 Posted 6 years ago PamMoore

    Betty - I love your comment and point about being interesting.  So true! That's where content comes in!  

    I always say if you are a dud in real life chances are you'll be a bigger dud online!  

    Thanks for the comment.  You're not boring or a dud by the way. ;)

  • PamMoore's picture
    Nov 19 Posted 6 years ago PamMoore

    Thanks Avi for the clarification.  I think we are saying the same thing. Yay!  

    Yes, it SHOULD be common sense but amazing it isn't! For example I have one large brand client who is coming up on their year of working with us.  They have refused to engage and can't get over the fact that because they have a website they should be getting "hits".  This thinking drive me nuts.  They finally just let us start training them on LinkedIn this past month and it's still like pulling teeth. 

    We are starting to become more selective in the types of accounts we can take on. Either ya' want to get on the bus or ya' don't.  I can't afford to support the ones who are still decided as their are many running to catch the bus and know they need to grab their seat. 

    Thanks for your comment.  Don't ever feel hesitant to disagree with my thoughts. I am opinionated and love a real conversation that challenges my thinking.  

    Make it a great day! Glad to meet you here. 

  • Nov 8 Posted 6 years ago Ben Acheson (not verified)

    I think the greatest problem is that most online brands are not actually conducting conversations with their stakeholders at all. A conversation is a two-way engagement, but most brands just want to keep pushing their message home - which is tantamount to spam.

    I've seen instances in which this is due to a traditional marketing mentality being applied to digital channels. Many marketing directors and managers (and to some extent financial directors and other board members) who sign off or buy into digital projects frankly have no idea how digital marketing works. They see it as just a new place to plaster their advertisements.

    As a result they're not just wasting money; they're risking the alienation of customers and other stakeholders. I think attitudes to digital will slowly be transformed as the current generation of digital visionaries migrates upward into the boardroom where they can sign off really transformational marketing projects themselves.

    A handful of companies will blaze a trail towards proper transformational, engagement-centric marketing. They will be the next giants of the internet age. My advice is to be one of them.

    How? Take the risk and change. Listen to your digital marketing team, trust their expertise and embrace the new way of thinking. If you can't embrace it yourself then relinquish control to the vibrant new marketers who can and will - if you'll only let them.

  • Avi Kaye's picture
    Nov 4 Posted 6 years ago Avi Kaye

    I'll take that last sentence you wrote - "However, I don't agree that this information is common knowledge, understood and properly executed by the masses."

    Yes, yes, and yes. 

    You are absolutely right, which is the point I was trying to make (and apparently failed :)). People who do social media know what you are talking about. People who understand how social conversations work see it as common sense.

    Companies - be they MegaCorp, or TinyBiz, don't really understand what all this nonsense is about, quite possibly because they are used to, as you say, broadcasting noise and not receiving feedback. And as for proper execution, once they don't understand what to do and how to do it, poor execution is just the result :)

    @avi_kaye
    www.butterknife-marketing.com

  • PamMoore's picture
    Nov 4 Posted 6 years ago PamMoore

    I agree with you both.  I also believe most of marketing and social media is common sense.  However, that doesn't mean people know how or will do it.  How many Facebook pages have you visited where either there is nothing on the page or it is filled with spam.  Nothing that inspires.  This is usually because 1)the person is clueless to how to engage their audience 2) the person is trying but not successful or 3) the person is guilty of spam and knows it

    When we meet with clients big and small the thing they struggle with most is content. Yes, they have their website, Facebook page and Twitter account setup but many don't know what to say.  

    It's common sense to those of us who have a background in engaging communities, inspiring audiences and building businesses that leverage integrated marketing.  However for a corporate organization that is use to blasting out noise via an agency, tv commercial or whatever it may be, engaging in real life, in real conversation is not something they are accustomed to.  Could also be they don't have the resource, skill or budget.  

    Same goes for small biz. We are working with many entrepreneurs who although they know everything about accounting or whatever their specialty may be they are not pros when it comes to online social media.  

    So yes, I agree with you. However, I don't agree that this information is common knowledge, understood and properly executed by the masses.  

     

  • Nov 3 Posted 6 years ago BettyLaVerne (not verified)

    I agree with Avi, that these points , albeit good, are mostly common sense. if a company or a person is new to social media, they only need to tell their story. honestly and sincerely, and they will have a good start. If they persist in placing comments, ideas, and information, they will be further involved. It is still common sense.But, you must be interesting ! After all, when you want to make friends with someone , you know that you must share, and you must be interesting. No matter how great you may be, if you bore someone to death, they will not come back for more boredom! http://impactinteractions.com/best-practices/blogging-for-business-ii-%e2%80%93-what-to-look-for-in-a-blogger/998

     

  • Avi Kaye's picture
    Oct 31 Posted 6 years ago Avi Kaye

    Most of the points you raise, while excellent, are mostly common sense. Be engaging, and give a real contribution to your users and customers. I think that the real problem is that businesses haven't cottoned on to the fact that social media marketing is a job. It actually takes time to contribute to conversations, write forum posts, and comment on sites like this one :)

    It's just so easy to whip up a Facebook page, slap some nice pictures on it, and set up an automatic repeating post about our latest Super Sales Drive, Summer Package Deluxe, or whatever. That's why most companies aren't joining in the conversation or reacting to what's going on. They just don't have the people to do it, because they don't understand the worth of social networking.

    Of course, this is a viscous cycle - they invest what they perceive to be 'great effort' in social media. It won't work, because they aren't really social, and they'll conclude that 'this isn't for them'. 

    @avi_kaye
    www.butterknife-marketing.com

     

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