By Nicole Dilg Beachum
Simply put, the way that most “social media pros” operate is killing our industry and will soon cause it to become extinct unless something is done immediately to rectify the problem.
Most people who specialize in social media or offer these services to companies on a contractual basis are actually creating the problem: The issue that is going to crash the entire industry if we are not careful. Take the scenario below for example.
Company A hires a social media manager to engage with customers on social media platforms and share content in Google+ communities and LinkedIn groups in order to gain new business. Let’s specifically assume that Company A is a B2B business. The social media manager takes blogs, news, and other relevant information and shares it on a daily basis on social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
Company B hires a company to manage their social media for them. They too are a B2B company that is looking to expand their online presence with these interactive engagements. Like Company A, they share relevant information on all the key social media platforms and engage with current and potential customers (i.e. other businesses).
Company A is trying to get Company B as a client, and vice versa. Social media can be very useful in getting new business, so what’s the problem?
The problem is that social media managers are just talking to each other, which does nothing to help Company A actually hire Company B. In other words, Company A’s decision-makers aren’t talking to Company B’s decision-makers and engaging in meaningful, persuasive conversations to build strong relationships.
The only people building relationships are the social media pros hired by the companies to represent them.
The crux of the problem involves a lack of communication between the social media manager and the business owners and decision-makers. How often does the person hired (as a consultant or in-house staff) actually communicate with the business owner and other key decision makers about the companies they are encountering on these key platforms and what is exchanged? How often are business owners kept intimately connected to what is being said on a daily basis with potential customers online?
Rarely. And this is a huge problem. Sure, you may get plenty of likes, shares, and retweets, but these will not be translated into actual business leads and new business unless we as an industry start making that change now.
It is not enough to take products and services and spam them across social media platforms in hopes of getting the attention of key business decision makers when we are only talking to other social media managers. This is not and will never be effective.
The only solution to this problem is hard and most people simply do not want to take the time or use their energy to do it the right way.
Let’s face it: failing to make this change will drive people away from the services we have to offer and will leave us all looking for new careers in the near future. We have to do it the right way. We have to take the information we are discovering on these social media platforms (not only potential leads but also what other businesses are offering) and share them with the decision-makers in the business.
Basically, this means the in-house social media manager in Company A has to not only relay potential leads for their business to the business owner, but also has to share information about relevant services that other businesses (not competitors) are offering. Company B has to do the exact same thing.
Company A’s social media team also has to talk and be social as an extension of Company A’s executives and representatives. Company B’s social team has to do the same. Failing to do this and to take this extra step, and make sure we are sharing information about other businesses to decision makers and actually having authentic conversations will be the end of our industry because we simply will not be delivering a return worthy of our fees.
In short, if we are only interacting with other social media managers and are failing to do our part of not only being authentic, but also communicating consistently and constantly with our clients, then we are making all of our efforts ineffective and, and in a word, useless. If we continue to do this, our industry, as well as the promise of social media for better business results for companies looking for growth is in danger of dying.
Nicole Dilg Beachum is Founder/Managing Director of Epik Consulting.