Since beginning a career in Social Media I have received many kindhearted calls, emails, and messages wishing me success. My favorite was a Facebook message that read, “Congratulations Teresa. I have no idea what you’re doing but it sounds like a great opportunity. Good for you.” While sincere in their thoughtfulness, my well-wishers were equally confused about my new endeavor.
While I love the honesty of my friends and family, I realize that clients and prospects may not be as blunt when it comes to their understanding of Social Media and its power as a marketing tool. They know they need to be on Facebook and Twitter, but they don’t exactly know why… or even how.
We all know the old saying about making assumptions, right! As a Social Media Marketer the same thing applies when discussing your arsenal of resources. Potential clients may be missing out on the value you offer if they do not understand the fundamental benefits of the medium itself.
1. Your clients do NOT know what Twitter is.
Well, that’s not entirely true. Chances are most people you talk to have heard of Twitter. They might even think they know what Twitter is. Lord knows, breaking the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death before any major networks created both legitimacy and recognition. But the bottom line is that when it comes to Twitter, there are two types of people: People who have been on Twitter and people who have NOT been on Twitter.
Before I joined Twitter, I just thought it was Facebook on crack! I assumed it was an outlet for those people on Facebook who insist on updating their status to let the world know that they tied their left shoe… and then 30 seconds later follow up with an enlightening post about how they tied their right shoe, too. Coincidentally, this image completely deterred me from joining or even checking it out.
When I finally signed up, I thought to myself, “Why didn’t anyone tell me what an incredible resource this is!” I lost myself for at least an hour, looking at everything from Social Media and California tourism to Fashion and Celebrity Gossip. It was a refreshing change from my usual Google search in that other people had taken the work out of the search itself – offering up the most relevant articles on the topics I was most interested in.
In a nutshell, people on Twitter know how powerful it is, how difficult it is to gain a quality following, build legitimacy and what a valuable resource it can be in positioning yourself as an expert in your field. Those who are not on Twitter, have no clue. Next time you sit down with a prospective client, before launching into the impressive Twitter campaign you’ve planned to amass a huge following, stop and ask the client if they’ve ever been on Twitter.
2. Having a personal Facebook page, does NOT mean you understand the purpose of a business page.
Just last weekend, someone admitted to me that they know they need to have a Facebook page for their company, but they don’t entirely understand why. The question always turns back to, “What am I supposed to do with this page after I set it up?”
I’d wager that Facebook is the most recognizable and widely used social network. Most people are familiar with the personal side of Facebook, where you post pictures, wish your friends Happy Birthday, and occasionally rant about how much you hate bicyclists. But using Facebook for your business is an entirely different ballgame.
The issue here is twofold. In some cases, the nature of the business itself does not automatically lend itself to Facebook page purpose. This is especially apparent with professional industries like CPAs or doctors. They don’t have sales or events, so what in the world would they use a Facebook page for? While this makes it very convenient for these professions to quickly dismiss the notion of a social media campaign, it reveals a deeper lack of understanding for Social Media Marketing.
Most businesses limit their vision of Facebook to an image of a billboard where they can publicize their current sales. They don’t realize that their page should offer an experience to their customers – a setting to hold contests, post interesting factoids, and interact with their fans. Businesses know they need to have a Facebook page. It’s up to you to explain how to derive benefit from it.
3. Most people only go onto LinkedIn to get a job… and that’s it.
I am completely guilty of this! I joined linked in because I was unemployed and everyone told me I had to. At the time, I posted my resume and a profile picture and called it a day. It did come in handy when I’d meet someone who might know of a job opening for me. I could direct them to my LinkedIn page, rather than kick myself for not carrying 20 resumes in my purse at all times.
But contrary to popular belief, LinkedIn is not just for uploading your resume! Facebook may still be the place you to post your vacation photos, but LinkedIn has become THE networking site for professionals. It is a powerful resource to promote events, generate leads, and gain recognition as an industry leader. But to do so, it requires a level of activity of which most are unaware.
If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “Sales is a contact sport” you understand the secret to LinkedIn. To benefit from LinkedIn, you have to join Groups, participate in Discussions, and check in regularly – Not just when you’re in between jobs. It can be a large time commitment and requires consistency – which clients will gladly pass on to you if they can understand the benefit that can be derived.
I can’t really blame anyone for being clueless about Social Media Marketing. After all, most people go onto Facebook just for fun… not because they’re getting paid to do so. Social Media Marketing is still on the cusp of becoming the norm in advertising and PR. We’re at a stage now where organizations and individuals recognize that they need to get into this arena but still struggle with understanding why.
A little bit of education can go a long way! Your clients are paying you to know more about Social Media than they do. In fact, just when your clients become familiar with Twitter, it will be your job to introduce them to the next big thing, which they will be inevitably wary of.
Being a Social Media Marketer is just as much about innovation, creativity, and knowledge as it is about educating. In fact, I would venture to say now more than ever, the players who understand the value of educating their clients will be enjoy the most longevity in this field. Being ahead of the curve is one thing. Bringing your clients along with you is another.