Time to read: 5 minutes. You need to create sales and leads with ‘social’ media/marketing. That means finding “what works.” Discovering stories of businesses creating actual sales, customers, leads, subscribers — not just Facebook friends or Twitter followers. These practices live in places we cannot predict nor reliably access. Or can we? I’ll show you what to look for at conferences, in trade magazines, podcasts, video and slide decks of presentations. These are the haystacks we often search — looking for buried needles. Here are shortcuts you can use to find and apply “what works” and avoid what doesn’t.
“How can we make ‘social’ pay business dividends?”
It’s the right question but I fear you may be preventing your own discovery of the answer. So I’m offering quick thoughts on how you can improve your Web marketing batting average.
After years of practicing digital marketing, I research, speak and lecture for a living. I’m seeing walls being built around “what works” — but not by those who know and want to protect the knowledge. The walls are built by the same folks who need and deserve the answers.
I recently spoke to retail store owners and manufacturers who supply them. I briefed an international pharmaceutical company. In both cases I found savvy, successful business people rejecting what they knew to be true, valuable and actionable.
The irony of Mary
Mary is a real woman who I met but I’ll change her name. Mary made a decision to not invest her time in me. She told me why. I really like that. She based her decision purely on a quantitative assessment of my professional value. She cares less about what I have to say and more about how often I say things. And this, I think, is a problem for Mary.
Ironically, my entire lecture that day aimed to prove the quantitative values system (that marketing/advertising is founded on) is preventing social media success for most marketers. “How often” and “how many” is being trumped by “better, faster, more easily,” etc.
I respect Mary for wisely choosing to invest her time carefully. But in my assessment Mary is both failing to use online media to create qualitative value for herself, her business and customers… AND blocking her own path to cracking that nut.
Plainly: How many times anyone tweets on Twitter should not be a measure of their value to an audience or business person. But for Mary, I could not possibly be a valuable contributor to her, or her business, based purely on my lack of volume… my lack of usage. “How many” times I said *anything* at all.
Mary told me that I was credible — but not like I could be. If I Tweeted more I’d be more successful. It’s that easy.
Mary decided to not attend my lecture. Fair enough. She admitted I was an experienced expert (despite myself) but directly challenged my ability to provide value. Fair too! Mary told me I’d be far more successful in this business (credible as an expert) if I simply cranked out more social media messages. Good ones, of course. (yes, she said that too)
Fair but off the mark in my eyes. Because what I consider success and what other “social media experts” consider to be marks of success are very different.
Eyes wide shut
Finding useful information about “the social Web” that we can apply to create sales, leads and meaningful customer value is time-consuming. Got it. But do you subconsciously believe in a values-system that is no longer relevant — that doesn’t serve you in this new interactive realm? Could this be a problem for you… like I believe it to be for Mary and others like her?
Might you be walking away from the people with the answers?
Our values system drives our instinctual behavior… and our ability to make good business decisions. And our ability to have top and bottom line impact. But our “marketing values system” is failing us. Digital marketing offers a path to improve results IF we can overcome old behavioral habits.
I ask, are we seeing the answers but just not liking them? Are we then choosing to “just do social media” as much as possible and calling it a success?
Do you know what to look for at conferences, trade magazines, podcasts, video and slide decks of presentations? The answers lies in questioning the values system that we’ve been following since the beginning of modern-day advertising itself. Who’s arguing against it?
Who’s talking about, as an example, applying direct response in a medium that’s built for it?
According to Mary, we should use the Twitter tweet count (frequency) of guys like Guy Kawasaki to measure a speaker or consultant’s ability to create value. But Mary fails to appreciate that the number of followers is not a score. It’s a statistic. Like ‘minutes used on your phone plan’ or ‘number of claimed dependents.’ Alone, it lacks qualitative merit.
I have a friend who once said, “If you follow more than a few dozen people at the same time, you’re a fraud.” I actually agree. This isn’t a popularity contest. This is business.
I argue forcefully that improving your ability to sell more using the Social Web lies in believing that the opportunity is a qualitative one — not quantitative. Your ability to do more with fewer budget dollars — in a successfully applying social media to your business — rests in your ability to act on this realization.
Social: The new mass media?
Today, social media IS the new mass media. It’s that mysterious thing that businesses invest in — in full realization of the likely outcome: The inability of Facebook to hit the bottom line in a provable way.
But there are beacons of hope. Best practices that truly are. Stories of businesses improving their ability to do more with less budget. But not with more Friends or Followers. Actual sales, customers, leads, subscribers. BUSINESS success: Qualitative measures of behavior not quantitative “counts” that hope to persuade.
And now you know how to find more of them. Of course, stay tuned here where I’ll be publishing more case studies in weeks ahead.