8 Tips for Embracing Change in Social Media

8 tips to embrace changeSocial media has changed the we way that we market and advertise. It has opened many new doors through building relationships with customers, which for any business is a new sales driver. People buy from people they like and trust. Social media is about the people as there is always a person behind every Tweet, Facebook update, blog, etc. It is a rat race if you are looking at the numbers of followers, fans, retweets and traffic; but social media is not a mathematics game of paint by numbers. The numbers matter when they are taking the action that you want them to take. If not, you are in a never winning rat race that in the end you have nothing to show for it except bragging rights of a whole bunch of people doing nothing that you want them to.

Embracing the Change of Social Media

Social media is change. Social Media is not a new conversation but a new way of conversing. It is public, just as TV, radio and print are. However with traditional advertising we talked without listening. There was a direct response as if people came in and bought or donated, voted, etc but there was no means of a response outside of a action. Interesting dynamic as they could respond with action but yet not with inquiry. They had to go to where you directed them to go which does not always fit into their lifestyle where with social media we go to where they are. It is a change that we all are learning but yet some are resistant to. The fear that the consumer will suddenly have control (which when we consider buying power they always have) but the consumer never will have control of your brand as it is always your message. You always control the brand and can always communicate with a message unless it is not believed. Even then the brand image may be tarnished but the brand itself still exists.

Expectations of Performance

In social media we feel that we know people and through this we in turn set expectations of people or brands that many times they are unaware of. We tweet back and forth, we read and comment on their blog, we friend on Facebook and connect on LinkedIn. Now we are a part of their network and with that comes expectations. Expectations to this end equate to feeling more connected to them and when we feel connected, we are more apt to expect but also increasingly loyal. We find them as the go to when we have a problem as we “know” that they will take care of us as we are so connected. While these expectations may be real and a well versed company has everyone that is engaging in social media trained to handle all problems, there are times when we do not get the response in a timely manner (on our time of course) or the person we are connected to did not fix it to what we expected them to.

8 Tips for Embracing Change in Social Media

1. Know that EVERYONE is not Engaging in Social Media. It is our world but it is a small majority of the people. I know it seems crazy but not all of your customers or potential customers are tweeting, liking or connecting. Social media is a medium just like tv, radio, print and an open door of a brick and mortar shop.

2. Listen. Listening in social media is almost an over used term but yet there is so much to listen to as we continue to grow in this community. Listening is learning and learning for a business is a constant. With social media there are more channels to pay attention to but there are so many more listening stations afforded that we employ to make listening easier.

3. Create One Message. Social media is still advertising as much as people do not want to admit it. You are there representing a company, your own company or as an individual. The one message gets you noticed. Yes your profile as does mine mentions other interests but we talk to them about the interest which is one part of us which is still one message. A little guilt by association which is good as it focuses in on the one message.

4. Create Conversations. This seems hard but it is so easy. We all look to talk to the leader and forget about the other people who are there. The leader is leading, no doubt about that, but they are still learning and accepting this change of being involved in social media. But, the leader is wanting to have us talk to each other to generate new thoughts and show them their works create conversation.

5. Overcome Fear. The fear of posting is what prohibits us from accepting change and embracing social media. Oh no, so many will see what PI am saying or we question is this the right thing to say? I talk with clients and colleagues about this frequently. My response is always be you. We like you. When you try and be someone else, you are always you at some point, if you try and emulate someone else, we know. In social media we feel we have to conform to the group but in real life do we always do this? No, we don’t.

6. Leave Your Ego at the Door. As much as fear comes into play so does ego. Get a little boost in traffic, responses, or comments and whoa, we see expert coming. It is funny as with social media we see expert, guru, ninja, etc but yet with a heart surgeon we see credentials. There is no ego, just performance. In social media change is almost everyday with new technology or something new to learn but yet we see experts.Β  How can you be an expert on something without performing?

7. Social Media is Not a Strategy. Social media is a medium and not a strategy. It is a part of an overall marketing plan that is a part of the strategy but it is not a strategy by itself. This is a big part of embracing the change of social media. Social media is a different means of advertising just as TV was when commercials hit the airwaves. People talked then and with social media they are still talking but this time they can talk to the brand.

8. Be Responsive. This is big. Responsive is more than thanking for a retweet, responding to an update, responding to a comment. Embracing the change that social media affords us is taking the time to see if the person who retweeted our article has a blog that we may enjoy, see what they are tweeting to see if we should follow them, responding with a comment to someone else whom has commented in addition to or in replace of commenting to the author (and of course seeing if they have blog too).

Embracing change is more than finding more time to be apart of something that you are unsure of. It encompasses overcoming fear which leads to being responsive but yet a leader in creating the conversation. Physical fear is real and sometimes emotional fear is real too but emotional fear is so many times driven by the failure or unsure voice within us. Social media is change as we are all still learning from each other. It is a new way to market that is so incredibly powerful when we stop chasing and be there with giving more than we get. Accept the change and learn from it to grow you and also your business. We all do well when we talk to others as we see a new perspective.

Can we accept that social media is change where we have to learn and build relationships or is this a free for all?

photo credit: Redvers

  • I wish anyone including social media in their communication strategy would read this post Suzanne.

    Sometimes, sadly, people focus too much on the flashy results and forget the efforts and hard work, the philosophy behind it, the whole change-inspiring big picture. A true revolution that puts the user/customers at the center of information, truly for the first time. The reason, too, brands generally dislike social media, for lack of control over EVERY medium, like they have been used to.

    The good of change is that it is going to happen, wether you embrace it or not. Too bad for you if you don’t.

    • Gabriele

      You are so kind, thank you. I agree that if you do not too bad for you as you will be way behind the 8 ball in the next few years. Mobile marketing will hit it big in 2011 and then interactive tv is coming. Learning now and accepting the change will make it a whole lot easier to accept and adapt to what is coming. Technology does not stop.

      Customers are wanting to know that their brand is on the cutting edge of technology. We see this in packaging where if a package looks pretty people will buy it. The same frosted flakes can go into a brown box, have the name on it and be $1 cheaper but people will buy the pretty package.

  • Great article….So true, it’s always the 2% that forge the way forward then everyone else are followers. Some just resist forever or when it’s too late to get in on the momentum for their business to reap the benifits if they would have embraced it sooner.

    Creating that first conversation in Social Media could be scary. Just like standing in the elevator going to the next floor. Everyone looks at the Numbers for the floors. Why not start a conversation with someone, they can’t go anywhere that’s for sure.

    It’s all about starting that Relationship, oops there’s that word. You must have a Relationship with your clients or potential clients before the Magic begins.

    Embracing that fear of rejection right! That’s scary. Well the Social Media arena should be easier for those who are a bit shy meeting & talking in person. Now you can hide a bit so to speak online or you can leave a photo of yourself so they can feel better about the connection with a real person. That’s the Relationship part again.

    Commenting on a post/tweet is essential and just being yourself. So go out there and let that new flower blossom in the Social Arena.

    Thanks for letting be expound a bit. I love the Social Medium…..

    Cheers Everyone

    The Social Wizard

    • Social Wizard

      Creating conversations can be scary in any means whether online or offline. Starting with a simple HI, how are you gets the ball rolling. Finding interests and talking about them is next. Conversations are started when standing on a line at a convenience store as we are all there experiencing the same thing. those conversations are easy and then so are the others when you make the effort and recognize that we are all there experiencing the same thing or close to it.

      Embracing the fear of rejection is not that scary. Let’s face it, we are not perfect and there will be a time when we are rejected by people that we want to talk to but that just makes the case stronger to reach out back those that reach out to you. It is about not tackling the difficult customer and pushing them aside. See how these start to come together and we can embrace the fear easier.

      BTW, the stats in your article http://socialmarketingwizard.com/blog/mobile-marketing-metrics/ are incredible. I was a bit shocked by the 65% have clicked on an ad and bought. Definitely makes the case for mobile marketing.

      Thakns so much for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it.

  • I think your first point is key. Not everyone is engaging and I see too many people act as if a Social Media Strategy covers all the bases from Customer Service, Marketing, PR, and other departments. Reality is that some of these companies that I see take that approach stop being social and become robots.

    We can’t forget that not everyone is engaged in Social Media and even those that are engaged are at different levels.

    Listening so hard for many companies they want to bombard us by broadcasting information but they can’t take a few second to see what we are saying which is key to keeping customers and gaining new ones.

    I think the hardest part for me to explain would be keeping one message but I do understand your point completely. There are so many things going on continuously that you need to make sure to focus on one message.

    Regarding Fear .. I think we all have a bit of fear (especially me that English is my second language) of hitting that submit or post button but in most occasions like in real life you learn, you edit, and you improve.

    I think having a big ego and being non-responsive go hand in hand. I see to many big companies so sure that they are on top, so they can afford to not respond and in many occasions ignore what is being said of them online thinking that if they don’t touch it will go away eventually.

    I think every business is based on having healthy relationships to be truly successful. So Social media is just another way of making those bonds stronger.

    I really enjoy the way you structure your posts and organize them I have a lot to learn from you keep up the good work!

    • Raul

      Very hard to tell that english is your 2nd language. You seem to be very well received in the SM community and continue to grow; though I am sure that it is a much more comfortable experience to speak in your native language.

      Bingo! – every business is based on having healthy relationships (you get it!) Social media is not only a tool to make them stronger but a vehicle to be responsive in a manner that makes the most sense for the customers as well as the company. Those 2 go hand in hand. Healthy relationships are built by being responsive; being responsive has to make sense for the company and the consumer. Those like the press 1 for X, press 2 for X and you are 5 layers deep before you get a person is maddening. Would a tweet yield a better experience? Let’s face it, if they are very active twitter users, they are going to tweet about the experience anyway.

      Always a pleasure to see your name pop up in the comments!

      • It is my a pleasure to see your responses full with so much information. It is weird how these systems annoy so many people such as the push 1 and push 5 and so many companies take this road when there are other channels and options.

        Have a great week!

  • Great list, I especially agree with #5, 6 and 8. It’s hard to be vulnerable and let other people in, but as Seth Godin says, β€œif it scares you, that’s the signal that you should do it. The hard part about being an entrepreneur is looking at the world and being willing to be made fun of.”

    People need to get over the idea that they have to be on Twitter and have to have a Facebook page and realize that social media is a tool that can help humanize their business.

    Thanks for the great tips!

    • Joe

      I think it is more that they have to be on all of the platforms and treat them the same. Social media provides tools not the tool box. You bring the tool box and put the tools into it. Not everyone needs to be on twitter or facebook or forums, etc. You need to decide what is best for you and makes the most sense for you and your company. Also understanding that you need to be you and not who you think people want you to be. That is a part of letting go of the fear.

      Social media is not new. It is an extension of the face to face meetings where we are able to reach out and talk to people from all over the world. So many never had the fear to talk to someone face to face about things but yet when it comes to something that others can see, they get all worry some that something or someone will not like it. Change the mindset and use social media as an extension of previous efforts and see how the business can grow.

      Thank you so much for dropping by, reading and commenting. Much appreciated.

  • I love when you discuss how advertising has segued, in some ways, to the world of Social Media. We needn’t toss the baby out with the bathwater in this case. Many of the lessons advertisers have learned can almost certainly be applied to Social Media. And why? We’re still dealing with people. We’re still trying to get our message through.

    While I refrain from saying that Social Media is “just a tool,” I have to say that if you don’t know what your message is, or if you don’t have a strong foothold in marketing, Social Media will be really tough for you.

    Your 8 points are faboo πŸ™‚

    • Margie Clayman!

      Love when you pop your head over here. As a fellow ad gal, I know that you get it about trad adv and social media. We are stilll dealing with people, more mainstream and the doors of communication are always open and the message still has to and is getting through. I just do not understand sometimes how there is such a differentiation between trad adv and social media. Maybe we want there to be? Maybe we had to bring the zip and buzz back into advertising and since trad adv was a bit on the downside due to shrinking budgets that we had to separate them so that people reinvested back into advertising in a new means?

      Hmh, wow you gave me something to really think about. If it was not so late, I’d call ya to talk about this more.

      • I think for some reason “advertising” has become a dirty word. People hear it and scoff. “Oh, that old thing.” I ponder these questions:

        What is the line between advertising and marketing? Is there one?

        How are Facebook ads *similar* to traditional ads?

        How is strategiing for an advertising campaign different from planning a social media campaign?

        The answers I get in my head are kinda interesting πŸ™‚

        • Margie

          I see a clear difference in advertising and marketing as advertising is a part of marketing. Marketing is the overall means of selling and advertising is a medium in which we use to sell.

          Facebook ads – FB ads are trad ads. Conceptually they are not much different than print but they are more interactive as you can click and get to a website and buy. The advertiser has your attention and time. In print you have to go to the computer, type in url. Disrupts the reading of the print pub which many are not willing to do at that exact moment.

          I think it is different as the person is online and can interact easily and not have to disrupt what they are doing to go over tot he page and find it. Now, ads in and of them selves are disruptive as we are stopping and focusing on what the advertiser is saying but it does not feel as disruptive. A social media plan better tie in the trad adv components. In the end Margie, we know that trad adv is moving to being interactive online or via mobile phones. People want to know that what a brand is doing and if they are on the cutting edge of what is going on.

          Now can you tell what is in your head? I am dying to know.

          • You pretty much verbalized it. I think that Social Media is sort of like traditional advertising on steroids. A lot of the logic and need for research are there, but now, instead of talking to a full circulation, you can talk to individuals, almost 1 at a time. To me, this requires more research, more planning. What are your metrics for this new kind of advertising? What is a success?

            But still, as you say, the principles – they haven’t changed. We are communicating in the hope that we can convince people to buy our goods. πŸ™‚

  • Let’s talk about #8: Social Media is not a strategy. You are right on with this point. I am watching so many people lose focus on the bigger picture. Have you seen the movie “Over the Hedge”? There is the amazing clip in the film where the squirrels become distracted by “bright shiny objects.” It is hilarious and one I have used in presentations about social media.

    Social media is nothing more than a tool. As marketers, we have to be focused on helping our clients stay focused on the larger strategy. If social media ends up being a tool that can help them achieve the business objectives, wonderful, then do it.

    • Jason

      I am thrilled to have you come on by. I think social media is a tool but also a medium as you are advertising and advertising is done through various channels, outposts and mediums (had a better thought but it slipped away from me). I was just thinking further as I was commenting back to Margie and now I am throwing so many thoughts around in my head about social media/advertising and marketing.

      Social media is that bright shiny object that people forget is still advertising, still talking to people and still building relationships. I think we talked about this over on your fantastic blog about building relationships and a community (army) around you. We have always done this in f2f but yet with the shiny new tools it is so revolutionary that we are just finding this out. Nah, if we look at social media as a tool/medium, we are expanding upon what we did in a more mainstream broader way. Not everyone will be our customer and that is ok, as we can be a resource for and to them.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I really enjoy your blog (in case you have not noticed) and here is a link for those who have yet to find it: http://jwsokol.com/

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