Recently I’ve had a bunch of things happen that were misunderstandings because people didn’t understand each other’s context. They are usually pretty funny, but also not a great way to do business. For instance, I was contacted by someone working at a company who’s name has “sheep” in the title. Because of my client base, I immediately thought wool and knit products and read her information with that context. Turns out it is a religious thing. Who knew? Another one is as a huge science fiction fan, the word “frak” is a swear word replacing the more traditional F word. So imagine how jarring it was the first time someone talked about “fracking” when it came to oil drilling in a meeting!
It is important to consider what contexts your prospects and clients are in when they see your information. It is through this lens that I help clients select social media and other advertising tools. Back in the day, if you were going to run an ad in the newspaper, you spent a great deal of time thinking about what section of the paper you would go in. Looking for employees? It had to go in the classifieds. Garage sale? In that area. Selling clothing? The style section for you. Etc. Why? Because people were going to be in those sections and thinking about those types of things already. They were primed for your ad – they were in context.
That’s why I don’t recommend Facebook or Twitter or blogging or whatever for every business. It is vital to understand where your prospects are and what they are looking for when they are there so you can be in the right place at the right time. If you are a business services company, chances are Facebook isn’t going to help much unless you put unreasonable amounts of time in because when people are on Facebook, they aren’t thinking about how to find services that will move their company forward. In the same way that people don’t go to LinkedIn to find a babysitter for Friday night.
Consider the context in everything you do so that you maximize your time and money and are in the right places. And if you are in a shale drilling meeting and I giggle, don’t glare too hard. Sometimes it is pretty funny!