The Truth About Social Media

If you have been reading this newsletter for the past month or so you are probably aware that I have been working on creating a class to help entrepreneurs create content on Facebook – that is content that leads to sales.

My class is not quite ready for prime time yet, but in the process of creating the class I realized there are 3 aspects of all social media platforms that I feel it is important to highlight for business owners and entrepreneurs.

Social media platforms have monetized our attention

If you want to be truly horrified, watch The Social Dilemma. I saw it on Netflix, but I think it may also be available now on YouTube. It really made me think about how I use social media as an entrepreneur.

It is important to understand that Facebook and LinkedIn and the many other platforms out there spend huge amounts of money with the sole purpose of keeping users (that’s us) on their platform for as long as possible. The more time we spend there, the more money they make.

When Facebook launched FB Live it was after extensive testing that showed people respond to seeing other people’s faces. The new LinkedIn newsletter feature was launched after extensive testing. People who utilize these new features get some extra love from the platform – at least early on in the launch.

There is a piece of software called an algorithm that is individual to each platform. This software determines who sees your posts and whose posts you see. In general, these algorithms will show you more of what you like. When you consistently comment on posts by real estate agents in Canada, that platform is more likely to put other real estate agents in Canada in your feed. If you don’t believe me, try this experiment.

Spend the next 30 days (or even just the next week) on your platform of choice and on your smart phone consistently and deliberately like a specific kind of post- like uplifting quotes. During that same time go onto the same platform on your computer and deliberately like/ comment on a different type of post. At the end of that 30 days compare the two feeds. I think you will be amazed at how different they are.

As an entrepreneur who is trying to use social media to build relationships that lead to sales it is vital to understand this dynamic to better target your content and marketing.

More is not necessarily better

For a time there was a push to be on every platform. Then there was a push to be in as many groups as possible on Facebook. Both of these focus on quantity, not quality.

The general idea was that if we want to reach more people, we need to be in more places. Coming from a brick and mortar world this makes logical sense. The more billboards you have the more individuals who will see them.

Sadly, that does not translate to social media. Social media is saturated with people shouting as loud as they can to as many people as they can. Many people have learned to mostly ignore it, unless it is someone they know or somehow specifically relevant to them. Remember, the algorithm doesn’t show your content to everyone on the platform.

If you have the time to post regularly, interact with others in each group and generally build relationships social media marketing works. (or you could hire someone to help.)

But being in more than 5 FB groups or on multiple platforms, it becomes almost impossible to effectively build relationships with others. Sure they may see a post or two, but is that really going to move them from cold to client?

Effective social media marketing focuses on building or maintaining relationships over time.

Social media content can help build relationships

One of my social media clients uses his FB page to stay in contact with his clients. We post a variety of things from fun personal items to more serious business stuff. He knows he isn’t going to get any new clients from what is posted, but it has proven to be very popular with his existing clients. It keeps him top of mind for them and maintains the relationship in a business where he may only speak to them once a year.

This is the beauty of social media. We can reach a lot of people that we already have a connection with in a way that doesn’t feel spammy or intrusive.

I have another client with a very new business and he utilizes LinkedIn as a way to network and introduce himself to a new audience. He has a whole team of people that like and share the posts so they reach his ideal client base. His goal is to increase the number of discovery calls.

These are realistic expectations from the platforms being used. They are not trying to use social media exclusively to attract new clients, but as part of a larger business plan. There is an expectation of a live interaction at some point to close the sale.

If you read the issue last week, Referrals, Renewals and New Sales, you know that the hardest sale to get is new-new business. Social media can be a great way to get people into your circle of influence, but it isn’t going to make the sale for you.

I love social media, particularly LinkedIn and Facebook. They are incredibly powerful tools for any business. But it is important to understand the platform and how it fits most effectively into your business model.

Please share this newsletter with your LinkedIn Network.