Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Social Media and Fishing

I lead weekly social media labs. I frequently find people who are stuck on some minor detail with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and feel that they just can not move forward until they (for example) understand what they should enter into the "Location" they enter "Grapevine" or "DFW, Texas" or "Dallas - Fort Worth" they spell out "Fort" in "Ft. Worth" and do they spell "Texas" or just enter "TX"...

I also find people who are ready to write off social media because "It does not work." What you find out is that they tried posting three or four things to Twitter and nothing much happened. They did not see their Twitter account show up on page one of Google search results. They did not pick up a dozen followers in their first week. No one reached out to them via Direct Message.

I find this to be a particular tendancy among engineers. Their expectations of cause and effect are perfect for product design but not very good for business development. I have seen brilliant engineers with exciting product designs collect some great leads from a conference or a trade show, send off an email as soon as they return to the office, then wait for a response. Maybe, if they are very aggressive, they will make a phone call...and leave voice mail. What more can they do? They emailed / called and nothing happened. Maybe they are lucky enough to get a face-to-face meeting, then they expect the potential customer to get back to them.  When nothing happens, they become frustrated...and go out of business.

I feel like asking, "If you went fishing and the fish were not biting, would you say that fishing does not work?  Of course not! You would change bait, change locations, come back on a different day or a different time of day. You would ask someone where to go and what lures or bait seem to work there."

You need to do the same thing with social media. Try different things. Be creative. Keep at it. It is not the key to overnight success. You must be persistent and build success slowly.

James Snider is a marketing consultant, responsible for developing the 3.4 billion dollar 1394/FireWire market. James has over 16 years of marketing experience with 7 years working for Fortune 100 companies, 8 years as executive director of a non-profit and, since the summer of 2009, as a strategic business development consultant.

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