Most Businesses Still Don’t Understand Social Media

You might think that it’s just small businesses struggling with social media. While they’re struggling (failing miserably seemed too harsh), major brands are screwing up just as bad. The only difference is that the big businesses can afford to keep dropping the social ball (mindlessly retweeting praise and responding to negative feedback doesn’t count.)

I recently reviewed over 100 small businesses in 2 days. The results were horrendous. In my study, I focused on just five basics of a web presence. When I dug into the “extras” (anything other than Facebook) known as Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, all I wanted to do was click my red heels and go home. Big businesses are just as lost, but they’re even more complicated with their internal politics. Sometimes, it’s just too risky to connect on a human to human level.

The truth is that the businesses not hitting the mark seem to be missing two basic ingredients:

  1. Humanity (relationship building, empathy, humility)
  2. Value (educate, entertain, edify)

From what I saw, it was 100% ME, ME, ME! The small businesses only posted about upcoming events (promo flyers), sales, how awesome they were… you get the idea. They retweeted mentions of themselves and never produced their own quality content. As a consumer, repeat or new, there’s just no reason for me to jump in and engage.

Yes, the deals and sales work sometimes. Haven’t you noticed that they’re working less and less? Similar to how we’ve gone blind to Groupon emails, people are also going blind to valueless promotions. Our time is the most valuable asset, and in order to gain the attention of your customer, you must add value.

The value, which is missed by millions, is that you can connect over the Internet with individuals. These (your) people, whether they’re first timers or repeat customers, can generate income for your business for years to come if you just act like a human. You can either provide them with value yourself (acknowledge fans, edify them, entertain them, or educate them), or you can continue to shove sales material down their throats and turn them away to your competitor. *The good news for the savvy business owner is that your competitor is probably shoveling the same crap that you are online. If you act now and get your butt into gear, the opportunity is yours for the taking!

Engage in the conversation, create new ones, but for the love of God… just act like a human being!

If you focus on adding value above making sales, you have the opportunity to build an even larger and long lasting relationship with your current and ideal customer. This is where the money comes into play. You have to have the vision for the long game.

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