One of the oldest mnemonics in sales and advertising is K.I.S.S. – “Keep It Simple Stupid” – a reminder that in sales or traditional broadcast messaging you have a limited window to make your point, and that point needs to clear, concise, and simple in order to have the desired impact.
I recently read a post, which proclaimed, like so many others these days that “sales is dead”. A statement that may be a little too strong to be accurate. But certainly we need to look for alternatives to traditional sales techniques in our online engagement as consumers grow ever more sophisticated. Likewise, in a world of peer to peer communication, broadcast marketing is challenged – its not yet dead, though it certainly is not as healthy as it once was. But with so much new content available to them, people are less inclined to pay attention to your message about your about your product or service, because they are involved in more interesting conversations about topics that they really care about.
Today’s connected world has created the need to re-invent K.I.S.S. as “Keep It Social Stupid”. We don’t live in a world of perpetual Super Bowl ads so entertaining that people wait with bated breath to see our clever commercial messages. People don’t like ads for the most part, and with the interaction of Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare as alternative entertainment, people aren’t looking for commercials or ads. They’re here to connect with others socially – and you forget that at your peril.
Businesses and business people that are successful online remember that their success will come from word of mouth recommendations based on the trust they develop through their online interactions, not because they are the first, the biggest, or the best at what they do. A recent study showed that a Facebook like was worth almost three times a Tweet. The article suggests that this result occurs because our Facebook friends most closely match our “real” friends, leading me to the conclusion that the social interaction was the keystone of the success. In fact in a recent infographic from Spinback they share that 90% of all purchases are subject to social influence.
So if you want to be social – what do you need to do?
Listen – find out what your friends and communities are talking about – what they care about, and what interests them. Not what you think they should care about, but what they are actually talking about online.
Contribute – bring your insights to the conversation – add you thoughts, remembering that you do so for the benefit of others, not for a direct return to you in your business.
Curate or Create and share with the group, but do so in the context of the ongoing conversation, not in the context of your business needs. Consider what you curate or create,before you generate a stream of irrelevancies. Using the information you glean during your listening to respond to the concerns, issues and interests of your community, Give careful thought to why your community might care about it and how sharing these items impacts them and your relationship with them.
Talk to People as individuals. It is impossible to understate how important it is to have conversations in this online space. Or how rapidly you increase the quality of a relationship by directly communicating on a one to one basis by replying to people on your Facebook page, making a quick response on a comment left on your blog, or mentioning someone by name in an online channel . It is here that connections can be made for the small business or professional and you can take a social contact and make them an advocate and evangelist for your cause, product, or service.
Following these simple guidelines will build relationships with members of your online community. Those relationships in turn generate trust , allowing you to become positioned as a valued member of the community and a resource for its members, which gets you to your business purpose in a very easy and comfortable manner. Companies and professionals who fail to engage socially are doomed to low level attention from consumers at best, and complete anonymity at worst – so why settle for that? And engaging in social channels without being social is, as I have said before, like putting Lipstick on a Pig. Go out and do better – You have the potential to be great, and you don’t need to settle for anything less.