October 12, 2010, AJ Sweatt
We access, digest and disseminate information at an extraordinary rate these days. Social media, Google, online marketplaces, forums, the convergence of phones and the Web – our ability to multi-task is being pushed faster than we can keep up.
Many marketers and businesses jump into emerging media with what I call the ‘broccoli mentality.’ You really don’t like how it tastes, but you eat it because you’ve heard it’s good for you.
With this rapid adoption by our customers, employees, friend and families, so go our instincts. And we jump right in. But it’s like diving head first into rapids – when you hit the water, all hell breaks loose.
We tweet as often as we can. We follow anyone with a pulse. We create pages and post content with links to ourselves like drunks with Uzis. And we’re convinced that we’re building our business.
I call “horse hockey,” and I say ‘calm down.’
I recently found a perfect example of this philosophy in a post titled ‘Six killer ways to boost blog traffic and revenue via social media.’ In it, the author give examples of how to quickly build quantity that is purported to get more eyeballs and therefore more dough.
What’s brilliant about the post is that it’s actually a ‘cynical’ presentation of what not to do in emerging media. And it’s particularly poignant for those in the industrial space.
Why particularly? Because the industrial buying cycles – from discovery through research, engagement and vetting – require a level of assessment & scrutiny that transcends the ‘social’ simplicity that social media falsely portray today.
If you’re in the industrial world, you’re not using social media. You’re using procial media.
It has nothing to do with the tools or platforms you’ve decided to use. It has everything to do with those that may buy from you and what they’re doing when you want to talk to them. These are professionals. And they’re looking for answers.
They may use toothpaste every morning, but when you’re talking with them online they’re in a different frame of mind from when they’re looking for an alternative for Colgate. These are folks doing their jobs. They’re engineers, designers, machinists, programmers – and they’re looking for solutions that are more complicated and require more complex solutions than what we see supported by pages in facebook.
Procial media are applications of the same tools that our social brethren use, but for ‘professional’ purposes. They should be applied to add value to our prospects’ and customers’ jobs. They should connect them with our data, information and nodes in our organizations that will accelerate their searches for the solutions that matter to them. Not get them ‘poked’ or invited to ‘Farmville.’
And the resources we deploy should be knowledgeable about our industries, our customers and our own companies. Hiring an intern to manage and maintain our Twitter accounts (if that’s where your customers are and you decide it’s what’s right for your business) will only get you so far. Eventually (and that ain’t very long in the manufacturing world), they’re gonna need substance from professionals with domain and technology expertise.
It’s time to get serious. If you’re in industry, the quality of those you engage with online matters. Not the quantity. What’s the use of having 20,000 followers or members if only 220 may buy from you?
The messages you deliver, the people you choose to follow, those that you allow to follow you, and those that you attract all add up to a value proposition that will more likely pay off for your business if you stick with the essence of craft.
Craft is indeed being redefined in marketing, content and messaging. But it still matters. Now maybe more than it ever did.
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