Archives for posts with tag: social media

The trouble with social media is the trouble with the 2-way nature the Internet has developed into.

On the plus, it gives everyone a mouthpiece. It’s an amazing, equalising, liberating and democratising mechanism. We can all self-publish and let our thoughts be heard around the world.

On the minus side, it gives everyone a mouthpiece. Trolls, inadequates and other losers can spew forth their bile and vitriol from the relative safety of their device.

You see, traditionally, the rich, powerful and famous published, broadcasted and pontificated and we – the great unwashed on the receiving end of this 1-way traffic – absorbed and consumed it. They were the creme de la creme and there was in the main a relatively high standard and a degree of self-censorship involved. They understood the medium, and they controlled it.

Once you make the broadcast mechanism 2-way and universal, a lot of those conditions and controls go away. Suddenly the 99% of us get a chance, and we’ve far less to lose, and potentially a lot more to gain.

It’s not necessarily progress, or regress. It’s constant and accelerating change.

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I did a survey recently for a customer who was looking to establish how their B2B customers preferred to receive communications.

The demise of email has been touted for as long as social media platforms have been around. Younger generations like millennials are simply not into email any more, we’re told. They’re all about chat and instant communication in its various different guises.

Interesting, then, that the standout preference was for getting stuff via email. Yes, folk get loads of emails and no, they don’t read many of them. They still want them, though, so they can mine them and sort them if they need to refer back to something. Alternatively, they might mark them as unread for a later date. They want well crafted emails so that they can tell instantly whether or not they want to engage. So it’s still about value then. The cream rises to the top and the good stuff gets read and actioned.

Admittedly, my survey was less than 20 one-to-one conversations with a cross section of business owners and ecommerce managers, but the feedback is telling and informative nonetheless, methinks.

Internet-based chat works of course, socially. It’s mimicking what we do in person. C2C and B2C usually lead the way for B2B to follow, and this same trend may eventually sweep up email as well, but probably not before the latest generation is the current generation and the mainstay of our economic growth.

Tom Peters is the creator of what for me is one of the most insightful quotes in all of commercial history.

He wrote that ‘Perception is all there is.’ Is there anything truer and more important in marketing? It doesn’t matter what the reality is, what really matters is how people see and interpret that reality. The advent of the online world, which has increased our ability to transact remotely without face-to-face meetings where we can judge things like tone and body language, has brought this fact into sharper focus still.

Of course, companies with this knowledge can choose one of two paths. They can work hard to influence the prospect customer’s perception of their products and services in a positive and accurate way. Or, they can seek to alter their perception to one that is at variance with reality. In other words, they can mislead.

Fortunately, the Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away. Customers who find themselves on the unhappy end of a transaction can take to social media to vent their spleen and positively influence both the company and their target audience.

The Internet is all about perception, but it’s also all about immediacy and transparency.  Which is nice.

A friend of mine suffered a LinkedIn unfriending the other day. He wasn’t sure whether he should be traumatised or relieved.

Getting unfriended or unfollowed in social media is like hearing some direct feedback from someone who doesn’t know you’re within earshot. You don’t get a note saying that someone has unfriended or unfollowed you. Instead, you find out about it indirectly.  In my friend’s case, he started getting daily suggestions to link in with this person. My friend has connected with this person, met him, they attended a social function, and then this person had deemed the relationship not worthy of maintaining and so severed it.

This is a good thing, in my opinion. It’s like getting an early ‘no’ in sales, so you’re not being strung along for weeks and months by someone who can’t or won’t say no. I think it’s good for two reasons:

1) They’re saving you the time of currying their favour. This buys you back time to figure out how to bypass them and their influence.

2) They’re not worthy of connecting with you anyway. Some accurate self-esteem is required to adopt this position!

Do you agree? Like many things, you can argue both ways.