I have taken my share of slings and arrows on the topic known today as “social.” In particular I have been one of the very few from the outset to put forth reasoning’s, along with pragmatic advice on why one shouldn’t be swept into the vortex of “you need social or you will never make it” mentality. As I’ve stated over, and over, and over (did I say over?) again. The only people making real money in social are those telling and selling you the idea – you need social media.
Again let me be clear, I am not talking about the power of sharing via social media per se. The idea as well as the facilitation and the ease on which ideas can spread and take hold near seamlessly is awe-inspiring in today’s technological landscape.
Although I personally don’t use any of them (as all the so-called “guru’s will tell you must) I do make it possible for others to share my work with the now accepted traditional “sharing” buttons that have become ubiquitous.
What I have railed about is the business model and all that entails, along with the lure of “quick riches” many entrepreneurs are chasing that I feel will end in tears. Far too many are trying to build their businesses on mounds of shifting sand rather than fundamentally sound business practices.
You can more than easily build a sound business and incorporate social into it if it serves a meaningful purpose, However, chasing 1 Billion “likes, fans, followers” what ever, instead of gaining 1 solitary pleased customer that will pay for your services while working to make them a raving fan and tell their friends or associates is not only foolish – it’s down right stupid. Period.
I expressed this a while back in my article “Beware of the Hitmen.” When I first wrote it you would think I just insulted someone’s mother. Yet, one of the very sites I contributed to back then that decided to focus primarily on “social” carrying the day, as opposed to other more meaningful attributes is now basically “out of business.” To my knowledge, I along with one other that left when the change was made (we both no longer contributed articles at the same time) has increased their share as a thought leader across the web and elsewhere. That other person was just voted as INC®’s #2 person of influence this year. Not bad company I’m in from my standpoint.
Allowing for your ideas and more to be spread is a cornerstone of anything related to social today. Again, just to be clear, I myself fully endorse as well as try to make those rails as slick as possible. That is just good business sense in today’s new technological era. However – trying to game the system with pie in the sky styled metrics as to fool yourself into thinking you’re accomplishing meaningful business by attracting “eye balls” rather than attracting customers is a fool’s errand. 1,000,000 people who look and don’t buy via social media are worthless compared to 1 person you organically generated via your own interactions that did. While more importantly (and I cannot emphasize this enough) making sure that 1 customer is just that: your customer.
People as well as businesses are finding out quickly with new policy changes being implemented on one after another of all these “social” sites that all those “fans” et al they worked so hard to acquire and share a voice with now will have to pay to once again talk to them. Welcome to “free.” I bet even Tony Soprano would give that tactic a thumbs up. And don’t even get me started on SEO!
For a more detailed look here’s an article just posted by The Wall Street Journal® which goes into an easily understood breakdown of what’s currently taking place.
And just a foot note. As I stated in that earlier essay about worrying about the 1 person or customer that comes to your site. When I get asked (and I get all the time!) how many followers, readers, visitors, etc. they still stand perplexed that I wouldn’t know off the top of my head and seem to want to clutch their chest when I say, “And, I don’t care.” You would think I just raised a cross to a vampire.
When the insinuation comes that follows all of these discussions. e.g., “They have X amount of ________(fill in the blank)” as if I should now somehow be impressed, I just follow-up with, “Sounds interesting, although I don’t use any of that myself in the manner you do, my thoughts and ideas are easily verifiable to reach millions in over 95 countries as of last count. But thanks for sharing.”
© 2014 Mark St.Cyr