Wow, 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...
-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.
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?