I don’t really consider myself a social media expert. I DO use the tools social media has given me to promote our business, help our clients grow their businesses, connect with people who will help me make things happen and to build better relationships in my personal life and business life.
I also have no problem talking to people about how I use these tools. I have talked to large and small groups about how they can use social media in their line of work. I have no problem educating people on how I use social media as a tool. Much like how we don’t charge for webinars at Hall because we feel it is better for us overall, if we educate people more on the recent advances in technology and internet marketing. I don’t keep my Twitter strategy or how I use LinkedIn close to the vest. I want you to know too. I think we all can learn from each other.
Social media is like a mullet
Photo credit: heyjohngreen
News flash – Social media is fun. There is nothing wrong with participating in something fun but for some reason we all feel guilty doing it. We have to constantly verify to our peers, bosses and friends that we are working when we use social media. We assume we can’t use something for work and have fun, or can we?
I connect with business partners, share our content and have made some perfect business connections thanks to social media. I have a larger business network, we have more inbound links to our site and we have made sales from people we connected with on social media sites, showing me that this is effective for our business.
More than the business part, social media is fun. Users connect with friends, share pictures, tell stories and tell everyone about fun and exciting things they are doing.
I usually keep these two aspects of how I use social media (work and personal) clearly defined. For example my LinkedIn account is for business – I list business books I am reading, post links to our blog and share company news. My Facebook account is much more personal – I share news about my friends, events I am attending, races I am registered for, photos etc.
So social media is a little business up top, but it is also a pretty big party in the back.
Social Media Agencies, Experts and Gurus – What did you do before?
In my travels over the last few years, I have met and stood shoulder to shoulder with lots of social media experts and business professionals. One thing I am noticing is as companies get into using social media, they are slowly morphing into social media companies. I have seen software consultants blogging about Twitter, retail outlets posting about their favorite Facebook tips and more.
There are lots of pieces to running a business; marketing and networking are big pieces. My concern is that too many people are turning into social media experts and less experts on what it is they joined social media to do in the first place.
You created a Facebook fan page to direct people to your website that sells widgets. Now you are posting about social media tips, people are going to your website and businesses are shocked that no one converted and bought a widget! They didn’t want a widget – they wanted that social media tidbit you teased on Facebook.
What did you do before you added social media marketing to the mix? That should be your goal still. This could be website traffic, building your business network, selling more products, getting more people to your events etc.
By focusing on being a social media expert you are hurting your business
Photo credit: ilovememphis
Constantly remind yourself what goals you had in mind when you joined social media sites. Staying on message should equal more conversions because you have a network of people interested in your products and industry, not social media.
Building a business around social media or morphing your current business into a social media boutique or consultancy has the same benefits as calling yourself a high end salon that specializes in mullets. You are hurting your business by putting too much energy into a tool like social media that changes hourly, how it is used is case-by-case by organization and that doesn’t put money directly into your bottom line.
Mullets happen every day. Someone, somewhere walks into their barber shop and requests their hair to be short up top and longer in the back. Is that what you are going to do? Build a business (reminder – businesses are supposed to make money) around a tool people use for marketing that is mostly personal and has some business usefulness? Or should you stick to what you came to do and be the best widget seller who uses social media for their own marketing efforts?