Saturday, August 04, 2012

WANTED: Better Social Media Conversations, Value and ROI

There seems to be five types of people:

1.  Those who use social media and it has had a HUGE impact on the success of their business.

2.  Those who use social media and pretend it is impacting the success of their business.

3.  Those who use social media and have no idea if it has any impact on the success of their business.

4.  Those who have tried social media and think it sucks.

5.  Those who still don't know much about social media and have not really participated in the whole movement.

Then there is me.

I am a heavy user of social media.  It has helped me grow my business.  It allows me to discover information about clients, prospects and others.  The conversations are often useful.  I learn. My participation on Twitter, Facebook, etc... has allowed me to make and grow business relationships.  But I am not seeing a HUGE impact on sales.  I clearly do not want to pretend it is more than it really is.

I track all leads that I have in my business, and some of them clearly come from the social media world.  But most of my business comes from person-to-person word-of-mouth.  Nearly all of those who refer me to clients for speaking or consulting are people with whom I have recently seen in person (while it is true some people know me online before we meet.... the real referrals tend to come from those I have met in a live environment.

Of my last 200 speaking presentations (and in-company training programs), less than 10 have come from social media leads.  The majority of business (and my business is nearly 100% referral based) come from people who I knew personally, had met recently in-person, or had been in one of my audiences.  While some of these folks may have first known of me via social media... the referrals only come after we meet or they have seen me speak at an event (which means we can argue that those original social media connections did directly prime the path to real business).

This does not mean I do not believe in social media.  I am a fan-boy of all the tools I use to communicate.  But I do not think I am alone in wanting deeper conversations in this medium.  I am tired cat videos, "To Chick-fil-A or Not To Chick-fil-A" re-tweets, or photos of Ryan Lochte.

Now here is where the critics can say I suck at social media, and therefore this is why I am left wanting for more.  Perhaps I use it poorly or am lacking a coordinated strategy?  Maybe I am not intellectual enough to chat with the really cool kids.  I once heard someone say social media now resembles high school... with a few cool kids sitting at the "right" table in the lunch room while the rest of us gaze over longingly.

Yep... maybe it is me.  Those with social media guru status have lots of ideas, but often their fame and large following makes them unable to see the forest for the trees.   I am seeking ways to raise the bar on my own interactions.  I can take it if you want to tell me how it is.

How about you?.... anyone else left feeling like you just ate a big meal and are still hungry?

Have A Great Day.

thom singer


Adrian Segar said...

Thom, I am in your Category #1. Here's how social media (SoMe) has worked for me.

Ultimately I would agree with you in that most of my presentation, and conference design and facilitation work has come through personal contacts.

The difference is that for me most of those personal contacts have come about through SoMe.

When I travel I suggest a tweetup in the city where I'll be. I don't remember a time when I didn't meet new people with whom I'd first connected with online. (As well as reconnecting with old friends.) These days, a majority of the new people I meet (professionally) face-to-face I've "met" previously online.

At EIBTM in Barcelona last year I was surprised at how many people were anxious to meet me and knew of me solely through our SoMe interactions.

I doubt if you're doing things much differently from me, Thom. I suspect that the difference between us is that relatively little speaker presentation work is obtained without a personal connection. People who book speakers usually want to talk to someone who's seen you work and can provide a direct evaluation. For me, however, there are so few people who are designing and facilitating effective participant-driven and participation-rich events that SoMe has been a vital channel for me to get my approach out into the world. Perhaps as a result, people are more willing to check me out in person once they've had some kind of SoMe interaction w/me that gets them interested in learning more.

Yes, SoMe has its limits as a platform for deeper conversations. But when a tweeted link can lead to a 2,000 word blog post, I think SoMe provides a great channel for those personal introductions and contacts that ultimately lead to tangible business.

Would love to hear other thoughts and experiences on this topic. Thanks for airing it Thom!

Thom Singer said...


I appreciate your comment.

I also want to add that this discussion is on only about how it impacts my business. This is just part of the whole.... as life is not just about money. (I got judged as being only money focused via a conversation on Google+.. .which only served to remind me that another issue with Social Media is that people fill in the blanks with their assumptions). I have a ton of social success with my Social Media activity on many levels.

I think you are right that we do use it in similar ways... you are simply better with pushing it to the next level with your tweet ups, etc...

And as I said, I have launched or grew relationships to personal level that have lead to the business success..... but there is also a lot of dead air online. said...

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