Earlier this week Anita shared 5 Trends Uncovered at BlogWorld, commenting on several blogging-specific trends she saw while attending the show this past weekend in Vegas. Like Anita, I, too, was lucky enough to be able to attend Blogworld and came back with my own takeaways. What I found was a surprising number of presenters and small business owners taking a different look at social media, forcing themselves to admit some hard truths. These are things that, at one time, often weren’t talked about. In fact, it was almost frowned upon to utter them!
Here are four social media truths I heard SMBs finally accepting at Blogworld.
1. You can’t be everywhere.
We keep hearing that our customers are everywhere – they’re on Twitter, on Facebook, in the blogosphere, on LinkedIn, and on sites that we can barely pronounce, let alone figure out how to work. For months we’ve been racking our brains trying to figure out how to create a real presence on all the different social media sites displayed on KnowEm. You know what we’ve learned? We can’t do it. And we don’t have to. Many of the presenters at BlogWorld let us know that this was OK. We don’t have to be everywhere. We just have to find our online community and then hang out there. Instead of running yourself ragged, pick one or two sites that work best for you and your community. Spend your time there.
2. You can’t always be “on.”
For those of us who live and breathe social media, this is a hard truth to learn. However, as Sonia Simone lectured as part of her morning keynote, you, as a person, are not scalable. The more you give social media, the more it will want. And you’re going to get to a point where you need to set boundaries around yourself and how you connect with people. It’s not realistic to think you can be on 24/7 and still run your business and take care of your body. Sonia commented that if you feel social media is taking more than you can give it, it’s because you haven’t set a boundary–and you need to. Despite what the Social Media Gods tell us, it’s OK to ignore those last 10 e-mails and go to bed. Heck, it’s OK to ignore them just to watch TV. It’s up to you to draw your own line in the sand.
3. You can’t please everyone.
Social media has created this myth that we can please everyone. We have Twitter and blogs and tools like GetSatisfaction to notify us the instant our customers are distressed. However, despite your best efforts, you won’t always be able to save the day. This was true before social media, and it’s still true today. Sometimes the problem will be out of your control, other times it’ll be too late, and sometimes you won’t even be dealing with a real customer. You’ll be dealing with a troll or someone interested in launching a snark attack. Your job isn’t to please everyone. It’s to attract the people who want to connect with your business. Want to save yourself from some unnecessary headaches? Learn the difference between a troll and a snark attack.
4. You’re in social media to sell.
You know this, your customers know this, and it’s OK for you to admit it. You’re not in social media to develop a lifelong commitment to your customers. You’re in social media to build relationships so that customers will feel more comfortable buying from you. That means things like self promotion and marketing do have a place in social media; you just have to be careful about how you’re using them. Understand that you need to build relationships before you can leverage them and that while people hate being sold to, they love to buy (Brian Clark mentioned this during his keynote with Sonia). People want to buy products. They just want those products marketed to them on their terms. And that means creating the relationship before you have to call on it.
While the four statements listed above may not seem like anything new, I actually think they represent a growing shift in social media. In the past, we were told to focus on connections, to answer every e-mail, to respond to every blog comment, to be present on every platform possible. However, now that we’re watching these sites mature and our own energy deplete, we’re re-learning that it’s OK to say no. We’re here to run a business, and sometimes our best has to be good enough. We’ve long been told that what attracts customers in social media is our ability to be human. Sometimes we have to remember that we are only human.