Monday, September 24, 2012

Ma Bell Got The Ill Communication

Is social media bullshit? 

I've had some days when I've wondered about that myself. With audiences that include people who still don't know how to turn on their smartphone sitting next to people who have jailbroken their iPhones and used them to tether their WiFi, it can be a nightmare to serve all during a presentation.

In many ways, today’s social media training could be compared to telephone training. You wouldn’t pay a consultant to come in and teach you how to operate your phone…a manual can do that. What you need is someone who understands the way people use the phone to communicate so that your staff may best use its features to make the tool more effective for your business. Scripting and strategy work goes a long way. This is not the time to ask how to transfer calls. You want your staff to know how to answer the phone, the expected protocol, and how to handle common problems.

Unfortunately, too often, people get stuck in the tool and can't get their head around the strategy for using that tool.

How much thought did you put into making your voicemail message? When is the last time you learned a new tip for using your telephone for business? Maybe instead of a telephone, social media training is like PR training. You need to prepare for one voice to reach many people – whether by video, audio, or text.

I’ve been reading the book, Social Media Is Bullshit. Admittedly, the title got my attention and with so much hype around social, I wanted to check out the author’s thoughts. I mean, I am a social media consultant…this could mean my livelihood, right?

Guess what? I love the book.

People put too much importance around the wrong things: Increasing follower counts, adding likes, and other superficial metrics. You wouldn’t try to measure how many people you could get to call your business phone number…but what happened as a result of that call might be worth measuring.

B.J. Mendelson challenges the authority of the likes of Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, Brian Solis and other popular social/PR big cheeses. He asserts that these guys work to preserve their livelihoods at the expense of providing anything of real value to the people who buy what they’re selling.

How are you adding value to your customers/clients/members? Focus on that today. I know I am.  

Ultimately, it all comes down to the same thing. You need to have a solid product and services before all else. If you don’t have that, you are misplacing priorities. Even if you hire me for social media strategy, you still need to focus on the basics. That should never change. You still need to build real relationships with your customers or members. Relationships that are not dependent on whether or not they are influencers. 

So, is social media bullshit? Only if you're focusing on it at the expense of your basic services. 

What do you think?

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