By B.L. Ochman
In 2005, Henry Copeland, founder of Blogads.com told me that when he went to get his teeth cleaned three years earlier and the hygienist asked what he did, he said “blog advertising.”
“Umm, hmm,” she replied. The next year, his answer was the same. Her response was “Oh! I’ve heard of that!” The next year: the same exchange, and the next.
As he was leaving on the third year, she called out “Good luck with the flogging!”
I got a similar reality check yesterday in a conversation with an incredibly successful CEO who said “I don’t read blogs, and Twitter makes no sense to me, even though I’ve tried it. Just tell me what I need to know, that I can learn while I’m doing something else, like paying bills. I don’t have time for social media! I’m too busy running my company.”
My ignorance is in great demand
My particular brand of ignorance has never been in greater demand than in the past year, and I’ve had the great good fortune to advise some of America’s largest companies about integrating social media into their overall marketing.
Yet, I often talk to people who have literally no idea what all the fuss is about social media. “We’re here to work. We have to make our numbers,” they say. “We don’t have time to sit around Tweeting. Even if each employee spent five minutes a day on Twitter or Facebook,” I’ve been told, “that could cost the company millions in lost time.”
I also got into a bit of an argument recently at a party where an extremely successful artist told me he had no idea, and didn’t care, what Twitter was. In fact, he doesn’t use a computer except for email. “How could you not know what Twitter is,” I stupidly exclaimed “unless you’ve been living under a rock.” (I’m not proud of that response.)
Yes, I know the value of incorporating social media into marketing. And if you’re reading this, you probably do too. So do many companies, big and small, who have begun to listen earnestly to their customers because they realize the customers have gained a great deal of business control. But don’t think for a minute that the rest of the world really gives a fig about social media.
The most important question
So, my friends, especially the 5,855 self-appointed social media gurus and ninjas on Twitter, think twice before you launch into your next client pitch. My bet is you need to start with a very simple question:
“How do you define social media?”
The answers are likely to surprise you.
A Social Media Reality Check from the C-Suite
By B.L. Ochman
Tags: , c-suite social media, corporate social media marketing, reality marketing, social media, social media marketing, trends
How could you not know what Twitter is,” I stupidly exclaimed “unless you’ve been living under a rock.” (I’m not proud of that response.) ~ I’ve been there. Not proud of it either, but that is what the fish bowl can do to your brain. It can make you feel more important then you actually are (never a good thing).
My girlfriend, family and most of my friends could care less about my blog, or my twitter profile, or my social media “presence”. However, due to an online following…we have the tendency to occasionally forget this.
Most people who aren’t in your line of work could care less about what you do. After all…they’ve never even heard of Seth Godin.
Many of those companies are correct in assuming that their time would be wasted if they spent five minutes a day on social media tools. It is not because of the tools, but it is because of the user. Proper strategies must be utilized for social media to work for a user. Just tweeting about your lunch break won’t do anything for your company unless it is a part of your overall social media strategy.
I explain to client all the time (I am a web content developer) that social media is an asset to business because it is all about customer connection.
Businesses will benefit from discovering how they can provide valuable content to their customers and offer them their interaction. Then that tweet about your lunch break could mean that you were ready to answer questions about your newest software release.
Social media is very much what you make it. Tools are only as valuable as users allow them to be.
I forget it all the time, but I’ve trained myself to speak the language of increasing profit and demonstrating results before I ever get to talking about tools. Helps immensely, because then they’re asking you – how can we get those results with Twitter, rather than me bringing it up.
I just presented something about social media to a client today. My definition is that social media is something that facilitates communication between you and your customers (or potential customers) and builds relationships with them. The thing this client and many like them need to learn is how to add value for their customers in their social media efforts because it’s not about selling. Sales will most likely increase because of it, but selling shouldn’t be the main focus of social media.