Are you caught up in all the hype of what Social Media can do for you and your business? Have you already invested in Tweeting, and updating FaceBook or LinkedIn, only to be disappointed that the results weren’t as promised. Don’t feel too bad, it’s common, and it happens far more often than you think. It’s not much different than the get rich schemes when you think about it. It was the same back in 1994 when all the experts said you had to have a website or you would go out of business if you didn’t build one.
Today, there is something being taught that’s misleading, in my humble opinion anyway. I believe it to be untrue, a lie. When a Social Media Teacher, Expert or Guru makes the claim, “You can manage your social networks in 20 – 30 minutes a day”, they know not what the say. I know they are trying to appeal to the ” I don’t have time ” excuses, but I can assure you, it takes more than 20 to 30 minutes a day. I’m not saying it’s impossible, OK, I’m saying it’s impossible. I say it because I’ve tried, but the math just doesn’t work!
Social Networks have become so busy, so noisy, the bigger these networks get, the shorter the lifespan of your Update or Tweet gets. Of course you can Tweet & Update 5 – 10 times a day in 20 minutes, but you can’t actually manage your social media presence in just 20 – 30 minutes a day. There is so much more involved, let’s crunch some numbers, I’ll use myself as the example. This may seem overly simplified, but you’ll get what I mean : )
@owengreaves (my Twitter handle)
I follow 9,736
My Followers 20,052
My Tweets 56,635
There was a time back in 2008 when I was getting over 100 followers a day on Twitter, a lot has changed since then, that kind of activity is now considered rare. Unless you’re a rock star like Lady Gaga, a TV star like Ashton Kutcher, or one of the very early adopters that was launched to stardom as lovable and likable from the outset, like Gary Vaynerchuk. He is actually more amusing and entertaining : )
Most of these experts, guru’s and teachers make the statement that you can have an incredible social media presence by Tweeting & Updating just 5 – 10 times a day, and you can manage your social presence in 20 – 30 minutes a day. Maybe, but I doubt it.
If the average lifespan of a Tweet is 20 minutes, which it is today, 5 – 10 Tweets / Updates per day doesn’t give you much reach, almost none. In order to get a serious ROI, you would need to a higher frequency. Being active once every 20 minutes won’t build much, unless it’s entertaining, interesting, useful, and or helpful…but even then you’re reaching for a high profile or return on your activity. Many of these networks behave like Radio & TV today, you need high frequency, just flood the networks and the world will come to you. NOT!
If every person following me (20,052) was online at the same time I was, that would be awesome, but they aren’t…ever! That would imply, that all 20k of them are either in or close to the same time zone I’m in, they are all functioning in the same hours I am, give or take 3 hours either way. The next thing that would have to happen is, they all would have to be paying attention to all my Tweets & Updates within the 20 minute time frame, or lifespan of those messages. They’re not!
At a minimum, to be heard or seen every 20 minutes, you would have to Tweet or Update 3 times an hour. The math there is based on a 24 hour clock, so 3 x 24 = 72 Tweets / Updates per day. Even if we drop that back to an 8 hour work day, you would need to Tweet / Update 24 times per day…7 days per week, that’s the minimum right? Sure, you could do that in 20 – 30 minutes a day, if you automated your tweets / updates. But that’s not being present, you can’t have a social media presence and not be present. How could you respond in a timely manner?
Even if everyone were in the same time zone, everyone was online at exactly the same time I was, and they were watching my every Tweet & Update, they’re not. It’s not realistic or possible.
If I’m going to be honest with myself, those actually listening for me, would most likely be lower than 10%. Out of the 20k followers I have, if I’m seriously lucky, 2000 would be online when I am, and out of that 2000, how many do you think are listening, probably less than 200. Of those 200, how many would actually respond, or read, or do what I ask them to do? Probably 20, now those 20 I might consider to be true fans, if there is conversion of some sort, I would believe that, but what is conversion for you? Another question that needs to be answered.
My point is this, managing your social media presence is NOT how much time you spend Tweeting & Updating, that’s your activity. Managing your social media presence is much, much deeper, it’s monitoring your engagement, your interaction, tracking, and developing a strategy to ensure they keep doing what they are doing, engaging with you and your business. Learning where they are from, city & country, a complete makeup / profiles could be valuable for future business. There are monitoring companies that specialize in analyzing your social media data, measure campaigns, and so on, Radian 6 is popular, and it’s not as simple as 1 + 1, it’s complicated data. But that’s the oil you’re looking for, data is the new oil.
There is a huge misunderstanding on what managing your social media presence is, Tweeting / Updating is not managing. Managing implies you are studying the data, studying what your followers are doing, finding out what they want, spending countless hours in Twitter search looking for opportunities to find new potential clients / customers. You couldn’t possibly do all of that in 20 – 30 minutes a day, well maybe, if you outsourced that work, paid someone to meet with you to help you understand what the data means. But they are few and far between, anyone with credentials rarely work for free, and you do want someone who knows how to read the data.
You don’t plug your business into social media, you plug social media into your business, and that’s a whole different story. The best way to learn that is from Olivier Blanchard, the best way to learn how to measure the ROI in social media is from Olivier Blanchard. In fact, you should invest in his book called, “Social Media ROI – Managing & Measuring Social Media Efforts in your Organization“. He lays it all out for you, and I can promise you this, you’ll find out it takes longer than 20 – 30 minutes a day.
Like today, the future of business still won’t have any easy shortcuts, you must work to get the desired outcomes you’re looking for, that includes building a following, building a community of true fans. Kevin Kelly describes true fans as:
“A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.”
The only way to get true fans is through long hours of hard work, a plan, a strategy, and a full understanding of what being a social business means. Knowing what to look for, and what to do. Social Media is still at it’s infancy, and there are very few who grasp where all this is taking us.
So let’s get off all the hype, let’s filter this with the right lens, there are no shortcuts, and social media is more than just Updates & Tweets…it’s hard work.
I hope this made a little bit of sense? It probably appears like I’m ranting, I am a little, I’m hoping we will all work together to keep things in perspective and not try to take advantage of those who truly don’t understand. Social Media will play a large part of business in the future, more so in the next 5 – 10 years, but today it is still grossly misunderstood, because we’ve never done it like this before. These networks do play into the Open & Free Business Model, it’s how I run my business, and someday you will to.
Go and find your community, your true 1,000 fans, and serve them in such a way that they become loyal, loyalty has been missing for some time now, we now have a chance to recover the once loyal customer from our past.
So guard yourself from hype, the over promise, how easy it is, guard yourself from the social media lie.
The month of March has been great for new books in my office, I love social business books, and I like this one, Gary has a special way of saying what’s on his mind and what he sees. CRUSH IT was just a sampling of what’s yet to come out of Gary, he describes his first book as his Keynote(s), and this second book is his consulting. This book is packed with example after example, be sure to pay attention while reading.
I finished the book today, I am full, this book has more to digest than CRUSH IT, more to think about, and it makes you look at your own business again and again. The book grabbed me right from the first paragraph, why, I’m older and remember small town thinking, maybe you do to. Everyone knew each other, everyone helped each other for the most part, and we watched out for each other. The neighborhood watch was invented back before Jesus walked the land. The first chapter has you reminiscing, Gary starts the book with, “Think back on the last time someone did something nice for you.”
That opening sentence really sets the tone for the rest of the book, I’m sure that’s no accident, he touches the nerve-endings that make you remember back to a better day. A couple paragraphs jumped out at me, ironically, near the end of the book, but I enjoyed the book from beginning to end.
Gary says, “the biggest disconnect for business leaders is in their understanding of how they should treat customers they meet face-to-face, and how they should treat the ones they meet through their computers, iPad, iPhone and what have you, there should be no difference.” He’s right of course, I’ve always said, Social Media is not new, it’s just gone digital, so your off-line conversations have merely moved to the Internet.
Later on he makes another interesting statement, “companies that soar in 2011 and beyond are those that will figure out a way to balance the short-term demands of what wall street or investors with the long-term demands of The Thank You Economy.” Think about that for a moment, maybe read it again.
I loved his few words on how fear blocks innovation:
“It’s becoming more unusual for a big consumer brand to really innovate and create a great product. Vitamin Water didn’t come from Coke; Pom didn’t come from Pepsi. Too many companies get stuck in the muck of their own fear and short-term concerns, which prohibits them from taking risks and following through on great, creative thinking. They’re too wrapped up in meetings and procedure and stock value, or worst of all, the politics of keeping their jobs, whereas smaller, scrappier companies are often still ruled by passion and have the freedom to experiment.” WOW! I couldn’t say this better!
On page 228 he lists the biggest mistakes companies make with social media, keep in mind this what most companies and individuals do in my humble opinion, here is Gary’s list:
1.) Using tactics instead of strategy
2.) Using it exclusively to put out fires
3.) Using it to brag
4.) Using it as press release
5.) Exclusively re-tweeting other people’s material rather than creating your own content
6.) Using it to push product
7.) Expecting immediate results
I’m not going to add much here, I can’t improve upon anything Gary shares in his book(s). As a futurist, I see much of what Gary claims, and some things he doesn’t, in the end we are shouting from the roof tops to pay attention to what’s going on in the world of business. Great book Gary, thanks for being who you are.
I hope you enjoy the book, if you don’t have it, you can buy The Thank You Economy right here.
Gary’s point is this, The Thank You Economy is about the life-time value of a customer, brands / businesses need to be human, period.
Tell me, did you like the book, and what was the best part for you?
You’ve either heard me say it, or you have read it here many times, ” The Future of Business is not a skill set, it’s more about how we think”. For some reason business owners always end up at tactics, they come back to the ground level and try to do what they have always done. A great example is the Old Spice Campaign, they went out and created an amazing series of commercials, ran them and missed out on the most important part. Engaging with the audience! Instead they went right to tactics to get more views and more followers instead of actually talking to their audience. They really missed the boat here, they blew it big time. What happened, it became just another advertising campaign that was clever and amusing.
We are entering a huge crisis for business owners, it gets more urgent the longer you wait to educate yourself on how business really is today, and will be tomorrow. Part of the challenge is in the business owners head, they believe they know what is happening, and they don’t want to look foolish either, so they plod along not asking for help.
With everything going mobile and social, more and more to tiny screens, some on larger surfaces, we are moving away from what we have always done. We used to be people of the book, now we are people of the screen (a Kevin Kelly quote). In fact, Kevin wrote a bitty on 6 trends:
I’ll let Kevin Kelly fill you in on the details of these 6 trends, which he wrote about in 2008, I’m just going to touch on a couple.
Everything is flowing now, it’s endless rivers of content, endless streams. Business today is shifting and flowing from one thing to another. We are going from pages to streams, the PC to the cloud, from Today to NOW (real-time streams), from me to we, from items to data. Gerd Leonhard claims Data is the new Oil, how we harness that data can determine much of our success in the marketplaces. Today, everything generates a stream everywhere. Gary Vaynerchuk calls it our legacy, the trail of digital crumbs that we publish on the Internet is how people will remember us.
Ultimately, our business world online is shifting to a very uncomfortable place, we live in a world where everything is moving to free, or feels like free. Someday soon, like music, all books will eventually be $0.99, and will stay in long tail for many years, generating longer cash-flow. We have been moving to where the only things of value are things that can’t be copied. Business owners need to realize, where ever the attention flows, money will follow.
The psychology of tomorrows entrepreneurs is simple, they want lifestyle not work-style, they will look for ways to get attention, this attention will provide the lifestyle many of us have worked for 30 years to get. They will do it in months instead of years. These entrepreneurs don’t value ownership, ownership of home, ownership of car, they are for more willing to rent, the shift from ownership to rental, where access is better than ownership. The likes of Netflix and services of that nature are driving this new theology. It’s not skill set, it’s how we think, we need to pay attention, listen more, and we have to build things that can’t be copied, like Trust. How do you build trust, get to know your audience, interact and build relationships. Don’t sell, just engage.
I was surfing about and came across this great video on Cristian D. Cano’s marketing blog, I just had post this video here on my blog, well, because I had to have it in my database : )
Having said that, Gary Vaynerchuk once said, everything we put on the Internet becomes our legacy, and that’s exactly what the question implies. If everything you put out there was turned into a book, would it be a best seller and how would people view you, not to mention, grand kids and so on.
Food for thought, but what would your FaceBook book be like?
Here we are yet once again, Christmas time. Why is it that we are all shocked by the fact it’s upon us and we just aren’t ready for it? If you’re one of those people, and you are a business owner, I ask you, how do you stay in business? I’m mean really, you are the one who is supposed to have the house in order, making sure all is on schedule, and then you say you’re not ready for Christmas?
Ya I know I’m ranting a bit, it sounds silly doesn’t it, but yet many of us do just that, some credibility is lost when you admit you aren’t ready for Christmas. It’s the same date every year, it happens only once per year, you know what it means, and you know what you are supposed to do, so what’s the problem.
Now I’m generalizing here but, we tend to spend our time & money on what we believe is important to us, not being ready for Christmas speaks volumes about how you value the world, how you value the people around you, and especially your immediate family.
Those in Social Media circles claim they love their followers and so on, we are all very nice to each other here, we lift one another up, we help for free alot, and we say things we don’t really believe. That’s the truth really, but we want to move forward and move ahead, and in the Future of Business you won’t be able to do that without people helping one another. We are moving into a Merry Christmas Economy!
In a Merry Christmas Economy we help one another, we don’t expect anything back, we just want to be a part of something larger than ourselves. We will share openly, we will click on Like buttons and Re-Tweet icons to show how much we value others and their businesses. We value relationships, we value the world differently, and we all have the same basic needs (in general), this new economy is open to anyone, it’s to good to be true, it’s awesome! You will need to make your brand / product or service like-able if it isn’t already, that’s how your business will be judged.
Gary Vaynerchuk has written about the Thank You Economy, is he talking about the same thing, he wants you to care, to care about those around you, and mean it. He not only wants you to say it, he wants you to actually do something about it. But will you, why all of a sudden now, why in this Social Media ERA is that so important?
It’s gut check time now, look deep into who you are, why you’re in business, why you in Social Networks, are you practicing, are you participating in business for others or yourself? If you are honest, others are secondary, but they shouldn’t be, they pay your bills, they provide the roof over your head. They will determine if your business is liked! But yet, we make it difficult for customers to deal with us, we make them jump through hoops to get our help, we make them work to hard to do business with us, why is that?
The Future of Business will be very different, being social is the osmosis of being connected, being connected means the world will decide what is good and what is bad, not slick marketing. This connectedness means we are on the move at all times, we are mobile in such a way your business will have trouble tracking and understanding the consumer, unless your values match with there’s.
The Merry Christmas Economy has an underlying problem, it has to solve the problem of an entitlement mentality. In The Future of Business, we must provide access over pay-walls, and find seamless ways of qualifying the consumer. When we get past the entitlement thinking, we will get to the heart of the matter, where people matter, make doing business with our brand, product or service virtually painless, only then will we have insight into the future of business. Dealing with your business has to be like breathing, no thinking, no obstructions, no walls, wide open hospitality, an experience they won’t forget, something they do through osmosis. Just like in the movie A Field Of Dreams, they will come and they won’t even know why. Is that your kind of business, one that participates in the Field of dreams, if you build it, they will come. It could be like that, but it will boil down to how you value others in a Merry Christmas Economy?