Social media is much like a mall. There are lots of places to stop and visit, lots of people around, sometimes people you know or if you are like we were you take those people with you, and many people assume they know why a person is there, but they are probably wrong. Why do I say that? Because not everyone goes to the mall to shop. We’ve all almost been run over by those mall walkers who speed walk around the mall. They know it is a great place to walk without dealing with the weather while being safe. Think they buy something every time they go to the mall?
And what about those teenage girls that travel in packs? They want to see and be seen as well as see what’s available. Sometimes they shop but often as not it was an easy way to dump the kids. Parents of young children love the mall because so many have play areas or other kid-friendly activities that keep them occupied until nap time. My daughter learned to walk in the play area of the mall near our house when she was that age.
In the mall some years ago, someone got the idea to put up kiosks. These mini-stores operate under the idea that people are there walking around so you should be able to get more sales. I consider them the infomercials of the shopping mall. Have you ever bought something from a kiosk? Have you ever been stuck talking to the people who work there because they were so demanding you couldn’t not talk to them?
So how does all this relate to social media? Well, it is exactly the same. When you go to Facebook or LinkedIn or any other tool, the people there are all there for different reasons. Some you will know and many you will not. In order to engage them, you can certainly be that annoying man with the face cream who practically puts it on your cheek if you aren’t fast enough or you could have a product that speaks for itself. You could be the person discussing interesting, thoughtful information or you could be the absent older woman who’s friends all told her she HAD to sell her jewelry in the mall because it was so fabulous when in reality they just wanted to stop paying the high prices. But look at the primary reasons people go to that site first. If your clients are on Facebook to talk to their friends, catch up with people, play some games and generally get away from work, they aren’t going to buy a business-to-business product. If they are on LinkedIn to find their own customers, your network needs to be large to get their attention. If they are on Pinterest, you need to know what that is.
DO NOT just do something because you think you should. That’s where your parents used to ask you if your friends jumped off a cliff would you follow. Instead, think of reasons to do things and make them count. For instance, I have a number of clients where we have connected their LinkedIn profiles to their Twitter accounts. Their customers are not on Twitter but a large percentage of their business comes from people using a search engine. What helps search engines know who you are? Twitter! So we post where the customers are AND to get play on the tools they use. That’s a good use of social media!
Take a moment and think about how you are using social media. Are you getting any results from it? Are people discussing your content? If not, look at what you are doing and see if you can tell why. Talk to your clients and see if they are following you on social media. Why or why not? What do they expect? What do they want?