There are articles, videos, comments, likes and tweets that predict that the ‘future is here’. The question you should ask yourself is: Is My Business Here? By having a website and one social media account is not enough. I had a very interesting meeting with a gentleman recently who told me that word of mouth marketing is the best marketing, and that the digital world will not help his business. No, I’m not joking it did indeed occur. If you don’t believe me, search on Google and other search engines, the web and social designs that companies have. Terrible. So what is social media marketing then?
Humans have never changed. 50 years ago if you would be happy with a service or a product you would go to your neighbours and share your experience. Today, in 2013, you don’t have to go next door, you just tweet, blog, and write posts on your Facebook profile. Well it sounds the same, word of mouth amongst friends and the REST of the world. If you are thinking ‘But what about my business?, it’s a small business in North London or South London I don’t need to cover all of the United Kingdom or not even the whole of London. Let me tell you something that you might already know, people search online before they buy. For instance, I would search online first before I bought myself a T-Shirt, searched for a restaurant, for a wedding gift, an accountant or anything else people search ONLINE! Then based on my search ( browsing ) I would choose the best option for my needs. Unfortunately there is a huge gap between high quality and worthless web designs and social designs. As a result of this, people sub consciously make a statement of your brand. If it’s useless it means your brand is useless, if you DON’T have a web presence unfortunately your business will close down in 5 years, no actually, I apologize, very soon. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you!
Some business owners or managers would either say that they are doing fine without an online presence for their brand or doing fine with it. It all depends on how you define doing ‘fine’. For example, a possible scenario could include you owning a website, fan page, twitter profile, pinterest, instagram and maybe a blog. You post once per day and you have your Facebook fan page connected to Twitter so you don’t need to log on to twitter and tweet that ( which is a mistake, but I will discuss it on another article ). So what you are actually doing is speaking, speaking, speaking and again SPEAKING! People DON’T CARE about you, we as humans always like to talk about ourselves. If you don’t agree with me, stay home for 2 days and read How To Win Friends And Influence People By Dale Carnegie. This is an epic book which you most certainly have to read, memorise and implement. So what you should do, is listen to your clients, with the help of online tools that you can use to track all conversations that people have. If you are in real estate you can use different hashtags like #rent, #realestate, if you are in the tourism industry you can track hashtags like #holidays, #vacation, #hotels and many others. But it doesn’t stop here. You have to make conversations online, but only quality conversations, not just spam tweets and messages that becomes frustrating when people receive them, including myself. Provide value, have quality content and many other things. A very good example is when I recently tweeted to @VirginTrains to ask them a question about my pick up tickets. The response was amazing, in 1 minute they replied back to me and I didn’t have to stand in a queue, yeah I know we just love queues in London.
@alexandrosuk We don’t have any services leaving from King Cross so we’re not 100% sure. Best to speak to station staff Alex. ^LF
— Virgin Trains (@VirginTrains) September 4, 2013
Scenario 2: You can be less fortunate by not having a digital presence or by having one but in a dreadful state. If you do, I’m surprised that you are still in business. You need to realise that you need to go digital and have a fantastic user experience and a WOW online presence. Trust me, without it your business will not survive. The reason for this is that in reality when you begin a business it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have massive queues of people outside your store, like Apple in Regent Street has when it launches a new product. It takes time, effort and you need to be passionate about your business. Here is a vivid example of a business that is due to closes down. I ordered take away food from a restaurant in North London, the owners had the business for 20 years, no website, no twitter, nothing. They told me one day that they are thinking of advertising online ( to gain some clients of course ). My response to them was that it takes time and you need to put a lot of effort in it. It does not make a difference if they hire professionals from a digital agency, it is important to invest time and money. After giving it some thought and having in mind that they do not require a lot of time they didn’t want to get involved with the online world. You know what? The restaurant is closing this month! Another example, on how your business will end up if you don’t take actions today. If you are not there asking your clients how they feel, their feedback tracking and monitoring… you will end up with negative results and most probably the closing of your business.
Have in mind that the customer who doesn’t say anything to you online or offline is the most dangerous one. You know why? Because you will never recognize the weaknesses of your business and if you don’t know them you can’t fix them. So probably that ‘silent’ client will never visit your business again and you will not know why. You should prefer clients who give you truthful and straight forward feedback about your business and thank them! This way, you know what they are and you can fix any problems.
And you know what, any company that thinks they are ‘fine’ and rely on numbers and offline comments, deserve to go out of business. This means that the managers that act in this way have stopped caring. So if these business owners don’t care why should we as clients care? There are other businesses that care much more, share passion, tears, sweat into their business and do everything they can and can’t to make their clients happy. A competitive company is always on the offense. ALWAYS!
You tried it, social is not working
What is wrong with these people? Really?! A lot of companies tried social media and didn’t get millions in their bank accounts. Well listen carefully, there are so many ‘gurus’ out there that will use all cliche words like engagement, followers and likes. Regarding followers and likes, are they REAL? Fake followers is a trend nowadays. The last time I checked robots don’t visit our offices and they definitely don’t buy our products. All these gurus can promise you huge numbers and results. The other day I was in a meeting and a potential client asked me if I could provide his brand with 10,000 on his fan page in 10 days. I asked him if he had £50 million to spend on digital. He said no. Okay, unfortunately I could not deliver these kind of results. He told me that he had another agency that offered him these results. I explained to him my mentality about fake followers and likes. He smiled and said with determination ‘Well I will have 10,000 likes on my fan page’ . I didn’t want to be rude but I replied as politely as i could by reassuring him that that his bank account will not change with this strategy and it was a pleasure meeting him.
It’s easy to spot fake followers. And when you have paid for followers, it sends out a message that you are desperate, unauthentic and that you really don’t get the point of social media.
Even if you didn’t buy fake followers and your business tried social media for 6 months, tweeted like crazy, posted, made comments and then got tired and stopped, well what can I say. Social media is a long term relationship, it’s not a 3,4,5 or six dates and that’s it. It takes time, it takes effort and you have to do it correctly. You have to explore and discover new things. In this industry we are ALL students, we learn new things every day. It’s a new industry. Because people lack the knowledge, they believe whatever John will tell them and sell them.
I haven’t elaborated at all on mobile marketing, but I have a reason. Don’t go mobile, don’t advertise anywhere without having a WOW effect. People don’t care about your conversion rate.
Stop saying ‘In the future’ ,’later’, unless you want to end your business in the next 6 months! I know it’s scary but trust me, people my age, older and even younger will not do anything without conducting proper research, without their friends suggestions! Google, Facebook, Foursquare, Yell, Yelp, Pinterest, Instagram and so many other platforms. Start with basics and learn new staff.
Do you have an opinion? Share them with me 🙂