Customers Don’t Drink From Your Water Cooler – The 4 Reasons Why Your …
Remember that scene at the beginning of The Patriot where Mel Gibson and his two young sons are attacking a line of British soldiers? Up on the ridge, Mel is hopping here and there; behind a tree. Then a rock. Then a bush. All the while loading, shooting, picking off Red Coats. In the scene following, a wounded British trooper, bleeding on a litter, recounts the experience. “It was one man. But he was upon us, everywhere at the same time. Like…a ghost!”
Some of you reading this article might respond to our dismissal of most social strategy with the same level of incredulity that the British commander did when he heard the soldier say that a ghost had wiped out the troop. Poppycock!
However, there are some of you reading this that may be secretly harboring such unpopular doubts about social networks. You have this sneaking feeling that what the media (and everyone else) is telling you is somehow flawed. No need to show your identity, we’ll take the hit for you on this one…but only because we’re right.
Social networking is a largely ineffective method
by which to stimulate sales.
Don’t we wish we could be more like Mel? Where our marketing is effectively everywhere at once; guerrilla in the bush, picking off customers left-and-right? This is probably why so many companies are looking, incorrectly, for customers in social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. They want to include customers everywhere the customers are.
Surely the hope is that if you’re a successful social maven online, your business will thrive. We all know that hundreds of thousands of people are using those networks every day. Finding customers in such a target-high ecosystem is as easy as hiding among the green ferns picking off guys wearing bright red coats. It’s just a numbers game right?
Don’t be fooled. The people that are selling you on social networks are the same jokers who join network meetings to take part in the inane ritual of “sharing leads” over food-served-on-a-tray at La Madeline. After the second meeting you’ve depleted your opportunities within the group. Now what are you supposed to do, hope that someone “brings a friend” to the next meeting?
Quality content is more important than Friends.
You might think social networks are the heart of guerrilla marketing, the tip of the spear in your rule generation course of action. They’re not. Going social is more akin to hanging out at the water cooler pretending to be busy. Oh sure, someone new drops by here and there, and you get to chat them up. But are these people you’re hanging with at the water cooler really your customers? The answer to that question is…no.
If location, location, location is a montra for physical-world success, then content, content, content is the similar watchword online.
What’s nice about content online is that it can be written once and then disseminated and consumed in a number of different ways.
Let’s take this article as an example. When we’re done writing it we’re going to post it to our blog. But that’s not all. We’re also going to record it in audio so it can be downloaded and listened to as a podcast. Following that we’re going to make a video out of it and upload it all over the place. The last thing we are going to do (and yes we’ll do it) is we’re going to proportion it to our Facebook and LinkedIn ‘friends’ and post a trackable link back to our blog to it from Twitter. Heck, we might go crazy and Digg it.
Now, ask yourself which one of these activities is going to get us the most customer leads? Hint: it’s not the socials.
Social Success Does not a Customer Make.
We’re running into too many companies that think that if they can get a bunch of Twitter followers, they will sell more stuff.
The painful truth about Social Networking is that adding your traffic to a social satisfy is like throwing a rock at a waterfall. Oh sure you see the hole it creates in the sheet of water, but a nanosecond later that hole is gone; swooshed down into the pool like it was never there.
One of the last things that Mel says to his frightened boys before taking his own hiding position in the scrub was “aim small, miss small.” This is exactly the opposite of what most people think their online marketing should do. They think, “aim big, score big!” They hear about these online gurus that have hundreds, already thousands of followers and/or friends online and dollar signs dance in their eyes.
Here is a hint about social gurus. Yes, some of them, very few of them, are making money. But just because you have a huge social following doesn’t average anyone cares about your business. By and large the people who are truly making money with the socials are those that ALREADY had large networks of dedicated followers in other media. Tech TV personality Leo Laporte, for example, had a loyal following before he produced his online network TWIT.TV. They did not create his network because he woke up one day and decided to “go social.” Instead, he moved his pre-existing network over to the new tools so he could include it in a fresh way.
The great misunderstanding that most companies seem to be having is that they think if they get social, then they will be able to cultivate a huge network of dedicated buyers. In reality, it’s the other way around. A huge network of dedicated buyers can definitely assistance from being moved to your social network, and engaged in new ways. But, creating that database of devotees-in the first place–starts with more basic marketing activities that don’t include Twitter or Facebook.
A company that has not covered its marketing fundamentals first, wakes up one morning and decides to “go social,” we guarantee failure 90% of the time. No doubt about it.
Customers don’t Friend you. They Google you!
Now, so far we’ve made the case that for most businesses looking to the social networks as a way to generate new customers (in any meaningful way) isn’t a lost strategy, so much as it’s a misplaced strategy. Where are the customers? We think the chart from Pew/Internet answers this question perfectly. Search is where your customer’s at.
When we talk to people about search we get wide range of responses. But most of it seems to hinge on the fact that there are not a lot of people out there that really understand how to effectively deploy a search campaign. One thing they do know is that a lot of money is being spent on search each year.
During a recession, time is not your friend. But the degree to which you can get time on your side, by engaging low-overhead, high-provide, assessable, self-replicating projects will determine how well you appear when the recession ends.
Social networks will fail to sustain your rule generation course of action simply because you don’t have the time it will take to make it successful. The requirement for your current live presence, plus the permanent character of your message coupled with the fact that your buyers don’t turn to social networks to find products, method that while social networks have their place, that place is behind the horse, not in front.
If you put as much time into your search strategy as you do you social strategy you’d be seeing mega dividends for your effort. AKA more customers. Why because customers are not friending you, they are Googling you. The meaningful point here is to be found when a prospect needs you.
Yes, when you step into the world of search engine marketing you are jumping into a battle where the big guns roam the countryside. This is the quiet war that’s going on. Why? Because people “in the know” recognize that search is the #1 generator of new customers.
There is no denying that search is complicate, it’s intimidating and it can be expensive. But If you want a shot at amazing numbers of new customers ever day, socializing with your “followers” isn’t enough. You must have a search strategy, designed to target your opportunities and pull them in. Search is where the quantity is. Search is where the customers are. Search is where the money’s at.