Back in 2008 Twitter was on fire, I was getting over 100 new followers a day, it was insane and fun! I would spend hours talking to people all over the world, it was so exciting, it was great to just sit and talk to people. You could be heard, you were easily found, it was a great way to build your business, for FREE! FaceBook was also new and an interesting place to be, you could be easily heard there as well. So what happened?
Today, almost every social network has become a megaphone, a yelling channel, a place to simply regurgitate content, a spewing of highly repetitive news bits. The louder you yell, the noisier it gets, the more crap you post, the crappier social networks become.
The biggest change, the social networks have changed their algorithms to reward paid content, the paying advertisers. I don’t have a problem with that strategy, that’s free enterprise. So how do those who can’t afford those promoted / advertising rates, it can spin out of control quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing.
What used to be the wild west has become a pay wall in a near zero marginal cost society, this is not a good thing for everyone. NET Neutrality is similar in that we the people are fighting tooth and nail to keep the Internet open and somewhat free. The big cable companies and ISP’s want to control what you can see and do….the social networks are acting similar in that you can be found and heard if they allow it, if you pay for it.
Social networks are not acting in the best interest of the people…and they shouldn’t I guess, they started for many reasons, the biggest was to earn large amounts of money. I’m not convinced money was the main motivator, but money is a powerful illusion, we honestly believe we’ll be happier with more money, in most cases that’s not true.
So what happened to social media networks? Why are they making it harder and harder to be found and heard? And why do we feel we just have to be there? I guess we drank the social media kool-aid, it taste’s too good.
My message to you, stop wasting so much time Tweeting, Updating and posting noise….stop and go do work that matters, make the world a better place, go change lives. Go and teach someone to do something they never thought they could do, something that improves another’s day, maybe their life. Unless you have a job that can afford to spend the time and money to maximize social network advertising, you’re hiding, you’re not doing work that matters.
I challenge you to think back when you first signed up to a social network, and ask yourself what happened to social media networks since you joined the masses.
How much time do you invest in Social Media Networks? Is it good use of your time? What are you hiding from that could make your life better, maybe even more money? I urge you, stop….stop hiding, someone needs your help.
Dare I be so bold to say it, Social Media is not a business model.
I struggle with the resistance of business owners still today, hanging onto old ways of doing things, trying be in control, running around in circles trying to keep up, business has changed / is changing to where you must deliver your product or service to your customers, if you don’t, they’ll click and be gone. It wasn’t long ago when you had to go to the store, we used film for pictures, we no longer need a land-line, and kept current reading newspapers, now we just have to make a few clicks on a mobile device!
Customers are taking away the business owners power, they are choosing how and when, and how much they’ll pay. This has very little to do with Social Media, it does have everything to do with how business really is, and eventually you will either embrace it, or continue to resist it…either way, you’ll have to change how think about your customers, and how you run your business. Sure there will always be certain types of business that need manual labour, but many of those jobs, as much as you don’t want to believe it, will be lost to automation, this technological change will be devastating to the families relying on those jobs.
This has very little to do with Social Media, it does however, have everything to do with The Open & Free Business Model!
Social Media is NOT a business model, you don’t plug your business into Social Media, you plug Social Media INTO your business.
There is much confusion on what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is, and what it will do for you, in fact, there are many claiming it to be the end all to your websites problems. I’m not going to go into the details of SEO, I’m going to share an experience, what I’m often asked to do for a business. I can safely say, if you think SEO is going to bring the desired outcomes you’re hoping to obtain without planning, without knowing why you’re flexing the SEO muscle in the first place, you most likely would be wrong and disappointed. If your website sucks, SEO will merely reveal that it sucks even more, much like Social Media Networks do.
SEO is not duck-tape, it’s not a quick fix to a perceived problem,I’m not saying SEO doesn’t play a role in your marketing efforts, I am saying…you need to step back, fly at 50,000 feet, and ask yourself what it is you want your website to accomplish, and then work towards that end. It’s called a realistic strategy, and then a marketing strategy. To explore, to discover what your business objectives are, why do you even have a website? There are many, many questions that need to be answered long before you journey down the Search Engine Optimization road. The future of business is not about shortcuts, it’s not about SEO either.
SEO is not duck-tape, it’s not a quick fix to a perceived problem, it’s supposed to enhance, to improve your findability on the interwebs, to assist your conversion ratio, and much, much more. SEO is so much more than just trying to game Google or Bing, to just end up on page one. If you haven’t done the hard work, SEO won’t do anything if your site isn’t designed or setup to make people do something. If you’re only goal is to end up on page one, that’s easier than you think….but you will still fall short of your desired outcome.
SEO is so much more than just trying to game Google or Bing. SEO, in my opinion, should be in your marketing efforts, well after the planning and building, after you have completed a mind map of your site’s objectives. SEO is a tool to ensure your content is directing visitors to a call to action of some kind. SEO is not a destination, it will not fix other broken problems with your content, or your website, it will reveal them. SEO should be used to qualify those visitors, and then enticing them to go where you want them to go, what you want them to do. The very notion that SEO should is the solution to your site reaching page one is the wrong objective, it’s the wrong goal, you are asking the wrong questions, there are deeper reasons why Google and other search engines aren’t giving your site it’s due, your site isn’t doing the right things to garner their attention in the first place.
The future of business is not SEO!
Today I have been hanging out on Google+, Twitter, FaceBook and a few other Social Networks. All this hanging was bothersome, why?
It got me to thinking back when the Internet was new, there was very few places that dominated your time on the Internet, at least not since AOL. Today we are sucked into big sites like FaceBook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and so on. Think about how uch time you spend there, think about what you did before these sites came to be.
Can you even remember what the first thing you did back before these Social Networks? I used to spend a lot of time using Gopher, remember that one?
Today we are immediately, automatically taken to FaceBook or Twitter, we don’t even flinch or think twice about it. It’s like the Internet has lost it’s glitter and has taken a back seat to Social Networks.
The Internet has far more to offer than just Social Media Networks, it does doesn’t it? I hope so, if not, we will wonder aimlessly through the desert once again.
So whatever happened to the Internet as a destination?
- Build Your Platform – Start (chrisbrogan.com)
- The Future Of Business – The Death Of Social Media GURUS & EXPERTS! (owengreaves.com)
- Real Estate Agents, Politicians & Social Media GURUS (owengreaves.com)
- The Next Social Networks (chrisbrogan.com)
First a disclaimer, I am in no way claiming I have cornered the market on Social Media Networks, I happen to use them for my business. I’m also generalizing, you can find many that don’t suffer from the problems I rant about below. The three sectors, niches or whatever you want to call them, all three have something in common. They don’t know how to listen, nor do they know what their constituents want. All three claim to know that building relationships is paramount. All three claim to understand how to use Social Media Networks, but have been failing miserably. So what’s wrong?
Let’s start with a short story. I attended a MeetUp some 30 minutes down the freeway from me, I got there a little late, but as I walked in, I was introduced and then promptly put on the spot. I was asked, what top tip would I give a person or business in using Social Media. I had to stop and think for a nanosecond, and blurted out two things, one was to listen, and the other was to pay attention to the bigger picture. Now I can hear most of you Social Media Experts cringing, but I don’t mean what you think I mean.
The listening part, and the paying attention part are not separate, they are tied together. If you are a business, and you are just starting to dip your toe into the Social Media Networks, there are a few things you should do before you even attempt to listen or pay attention. But I was put on the spot, but I did clarify what I mean’t to ensure there was no confusion.
One of the first things I did, was write down some objectives, outcomes, before I even setup any kind of listening system. I wanted to know up front what I wanted from this exercise, before I began the listening, I also wanted to collect data from a higher level. I wanted a 50,000 foot view of what I was looking at, I wanted to see patterns and trends. But I’m getting sidetracked.
Now let’s get back to the real reason I’m writing this rant.
After the MeetUp was over, a small group of us went out to a local eatery for some chit chat and finger food. A funny thing happened while eating, I was noticing some tweets from all three of these sectors or groups, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. And these tweets were being done by people I know, people I have talked to on the topic, and thought they had a grip on things from my perspective. Afterall, this is all from my perspective, which means you can disagree, and it’s also subject to change without notice : )
REAL ESTATE AGENTS
If you talk to any Real Estate Agent, they will tell you they understand or have been coached by someone who claimed to understand, ya you know who you are. If these agents even remotely listened in anyway shape or form, they would know that posting every frigging listing on Twitter, FaceBook or what have you, is not what the consumer, the person(s) looking, or wanting to buy expects from them. I mean really, is that what you Agents think, really? A blast of 6 to 9 Tweets or Updates, all listings, tell me I’m completely off base here, I triple dog dare ya. I work with enough agents to tell you, some get it right, but very few do. If spamming 3 to 6 listings is building a relationship, then you clearly don’t know how to do it. But wait, if you ask a Real Estate Agent what’s the best part of what they do, it’s the relationships they build, it’s the most important part of being successful in the business. Is it possible? Are Real Estate Agents that out of touch? It would appear that they haven’t learned or figured out how to take relationship building into the digital realm.
Here is another group of people that seems to miss the listening part, maybe it’s the asking part. We have an election happening in my province and or community, it’s always a tenuous time. I was meeting with someone who is handling Social Media for a person running for city council here. They wanted to know what I thought, so I told them. Most people don’t follow politics that closely, if they did, voter turnouts would be at all time high’s and the world would be a happy place right? The truth is, politicians are no longer trusted, just like bank managers and the like, why? All they want is your vote, they don’t really want to know what you want, they don’t really want know your problem, they have their own agenda already.
I did say this, if you want to get votes, connect with your constituents, keep things simple, in such a manner in which they can understand what you are saying and asking. In simple terms, answer the damn question(s). I also said, asking broad global questions only tells your constituents you think they’re stupid. There is always a small percentage of people who enjoy or even understand the global questions, but most don’t. The average person wants to know what you are going to do for them. Don’t ask me broad questions like, What’s your vision of (enter name of city here) 2, 5, 10 years from now? I don’t know where my next pay cheque or meal is coming from, and you’re asking me about the vision of a city? Is that what your constituents said they wanted? I want to know what your vision is, not mine, you tell me and I’ll decide if it makes any sense. Then I’ll vote accordingly.
Anyway, it would be to a politicians advantage to keep things simple and bite sized, so the average person can chew on it and actually provide a proper response. If politicians are listening, or asking, then why does it appear they all ask the same type of questions? Because it works, probably not, it’s because people can’t and won’t answer broad global questions. So the politician gets elected with a false sense of security, and can’t figure out why the people at large aren’t happy…it’s because they didn’t listen and pay attention in the first place.
SOCIAL MEDIA GURUS
You know who you are, you need to stop pretending you understand the larger picture of what all these Social Media Networks means to the business world at large. No one does! There are some common practices now, but just now. Social Networks have only been around a short while on the Internet, there is too much to know, and too much to understand for anyone person to claim they are an Expert or GURU. And I’m certain most don’t fully understand ROI, and the global effect on human behaviour in these circles. I can only count on one hand how many people I trust to tell me about what’s going on, how is it that the plethora of Consultants, GURUS and Social Media Experts have miraculously figured it out for all of us? I think not.
As you can see I’m barely scratching the surface here, the truth is, these three sectors are only three, and it’s not all there fault. But it’s mostly the snake oil salesman called a Social Media GURU / Expert, all in the name of making a buck. Or worse yet, to expand an already out of control ego. It is and always will be a Buyer Beware world, find people you know and trust, then ask them who to seek out for sound information and direction.
Good luck, and please do leave your comments, I love hearing from you whether you agree or not.
- The Future Of Business – Social Is A Feature Not A Platform (owengreaves.com)
- Community Only Means Something If You Keep It Warm (chrisbrogan.com)
- The Future Of Business – Fight Off The Mainstream Media & Big Business (owengreaves.com)