WHY SOCIAL MEDIA IS HARMING YOUR BUSINESS
When I launched my business back in 2012, LinkedIn was the only real social media platform for Business Development.
My strategy was simple – find, connect and engage with my ideal clients. Message them, get a rapport going, then email explaining what I can do for them and offer a meeting or call.
It was a hugely successful strategy and was the only way I grew my marketing consultancy, won retained clients, and consistently fed my pipeline.
Fast-forward 8 years and now all the social media platforms are in on the business development action.
It’s been a wild ride that’s given us all an absolutely incredible platform to share value, make connections and grow our businesses.
But it’s also become extremely competitive, noisy and over-crowded.
Content Marketing has been a huge focus for millions of business owners for several years, and the combined effect is an absolute overload of information sharing.
It’s loud, confusing and overwhelming, and has resulted in some very real problems for business owners.
In this blog I’m going to share two of the top ways social media could be harming your business, and what to do about it.
PROBLEM: INFORMATION OBESITY
I consumed So Much Content over the past few years it made my head spin.
I was like a kid in a candy store, running from counter to counter stuffing my face with every conceivable flavour and variety of sweet content I could get my hands on.
I consumed so much information it threw me off course, distracted me, and made me believe I wasn’t doing things right.
Bright-shiny-object-syndrome had me trying so many different strategies and chopping-and-changing my focus.
As a creative who loves change, all those wonderful new ideas were just too tempting for me to ignore.
On the plus side, I’ve tried loads of different tactics over the past few years so I really know what works and what doesn’t and now I get to pass that valuable knowledge through to my clients.
On the negative side, it made me take my eye off the true strategic priorities for business growth
I was so busy consuming content and trying new things that I stopped harnessing the power of my own knowledge and expertise.
Worse still, I probably confused my audience because I wasn’t moving forward with singular focus – my energy was splitting off in too many directions.
So I’ve stopped over-indulging in content.
I’m doubling-down on my 18 years’ marketing experience and 8 years as a business owner and harnessing the power of my own knowledge and expertise to (a) grow my own business and (b) help other’s grow theirs.
THE SOLUTION: SLOW DOWN
This was the best piece of advice I got last year and I’ve implemented it throughout my business (and my life) to amazing effect.
I’ve stepped off the manic content creation rollercoaster and am producing one or two pieces of thoughtful and focussed content per week.
I’ve developed a content plan based around the services I offer and the key messages I want to convey.
Rather than race around producing huge volumes of unfocussed content to feed the machine, I’m talking about the same cluster of topics on repeat, because people need to see / read things at least 7 times before they sink in.
I’m slowing down to give myself time to answer questions and follow-up on leads that are generated by the focussed content I create.
I’m nurturing my community this way, and demonstrating my true passion to help people realise their ambitions and grow successful businesses.
Instead of spending hours writing posts native to platforms that get lost in a sea of content, I’m focussing on blog writing and my own email list.
My content is packed full of my knowledge and expertise, and I want to be able to consistently share and re-purpose it – something that’s extremely difficult with one-off posts all over the place.
And this leads in to the next big problem for business owners:
PROBLEM: MANIC CREATION
I found myself stuck on broadcast mode, sucked into an insatiable content-hungry vortex.
As a highly creative idea-generating person, I could write content all day long, it’s my comfort zone.
Last year I realised I’d become my own social media manager.
I’d spend days and days producing content in my race to share as much value with my audience I possibly could…believing it was the best way attract clients.
There’s a Content Culture that demands business owners be active across several social media platforms Every Single Day – weekends too people, don’t even think about taking a day off or the algorithm will punish you for it! 😱
The problem with manic creation is that it’s a never-ending time drain that simply will not yield consistent results.
Don’t get me wrong – it does work and should definitely be part of your overall strategy, I’ve won loads of work because of content I shared, but with no real consistency or reliability!
[CAVEAT: This strategy only works when you’ve done the ideal client work to truly understand who they are and how you most powerfully serve them. I help my clients work through this, so if it’s an area you haven’t fully tapped into yet, book a call to find out how I can support you]
Because I’ve slowed down and am no longer focussed on producing huge volumes of content, I have more time to properly engage with people.
I’m doing this in three ways:
I’m taking a genuine interest in what they are sharing and talking about.
Rather than focussing on what I have to say – I’m focussing on what they are saying.
I’m publicly engaging with their content with comments, shares, and tagging other contacts who may find their content useful.
Doing this is helping me learn more about them and form deeper and more meaningful connections.
I’m helping to nurture communities by bringing people together and being a catalyst for referrals and relationships to form.
The old adage ‘People Buy People’ stands true, and investing my time and energy into developing proper relationships with my ideal clients feels great and is generating far more consistent and reliable leads.
Ah the DM…a sacred space where we are super sensitive about being sold-to!
Never Sell On The DM.
I’ve tried this approach. It doesn’t work.
I cringe when I think of the sales DMs I’ve sent in the past!
When I DM people now it’s to have a proper chat, to talk more about something they’ve shared, to really connect with the person.
Again, I’m getting to know my ideal client, build a proper relationship, develop trust, and share very direct bespoke value.
In my DMs we are sharing challenges and war stories, talking about what we’re working on, sharing ideas, referring work to each other.
My DMs have become a safe little space for me to feel part of a community AND to nurture leads through the journey to work with me.
In some instances I’m moving the relationship ‘off-platform’, away from the noise of social media so we can slow down and understand each other better.
And this is where email comes in…
Moving the relationship to email was my number one LinkedIn strategy back in 2012, and it’s my number one strategy now too!
Email feels more intimate again, we’re more open to chatting about business opportunities, it’s easier to talk about about what I do, what they do, and how we can work together.
Yes, it’s a time-consuming focussed approach – welcome to the world of business development!
People buy people. Relationships matter.
Taking your time to really nurture your ideal clients will result in mutually rewarding, meaningful, and long-term relationships.
This approach is, once again, resulting in a consistent stream of discovery calls which are in turn resulting in more opportunities for me to support business owners.
So what’s working for me is less time broadcasting and consuming, and more time really connecting and engaging.
And yes, the irony that this is the exact strategy I successfully implemented in 2012 isn’t lost on me.
Ah the joys of cyclical marketing!
I also feel better knowing I’m not contributing to the noisy overwhelm of social media, I’m loving having the time to really engage with my community, and the result is that I’m winning work with far more consistency and reliability.
I absolutely LOVE social media, and it will always remain a fundamental part of my business growth framework, but I’m back in control of my business development and nurturing my prospects ‘in-house’ rather than relying on platforms that change like the wind, are unpredictable and unreliable, and could collapse at any given moment.
I’d love to hear what your business development strategy is for 2020.
You can share in the comments or, if you’d like to start a proper conversation about it, drop me an email and let’s see if we can help each other’s businesses become more consistent and reliable!