For Social Media Success We Need to Fish Where the Fish Are

Fishing at Cabarita Beach, New South Wales, Australia: image by Des Walsh

 

Likes and Dislikes

No matter how often it happens, it’s always a great reality check for me.

I’m talking about the situation where I’m in the midst of explaining to a business person how they could benefit from using a specific social platform, for example Twitter, or LinkedIn or Facebook, or some other platform, and they say “I don’t like Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook/other”. And it’s usually said with a tone of finality, as if to say, “And your next bright idea is?”

My reaction used to be, vocally or silently to myself, “But I’m trying to help you here. Aren’t you interested enough to get over your personal preferences and listen for some business/profitability clues?”

But it’s happened often enough for me to have done some thinking about – as we coaches like to discover so we can actually be helpful rather than just “right” – what’s really going on here.

And what I’ve come to observe is that this reaction seems to come from people who have not made any real attempt to engage with or through social media.

They might have a personal Facebook account, maybe even a Twitter or LinkedIn account. But they are not active.

Social Media is not an Optional Extra

So I’ve come to believe – hopefully without drawing too long a bow – that they haven’t yet started thinking about social media as an essential part of how they are going to have to do business from here on (and of course should have been doing for a while already, but I see no great value in hitting them over the head with that bit of preaching about lost opportunities).

And part of why they haven’t yet really engaged with social media for business is that they haven’t seen a direct correlation between social media and such key factors for sustainable business success as, to mention just a few:

  • lead generation
  • customer acquisition
  • customer retention
  • customer advocacy
  • risk management
  • recruitment and staff retention

Which is why I am increasingly focused on helping people who actually get that. People who understand the correlation and the need to get cracking if they haven’t already started “getting social”.

Rather than spending time and energy evangelizing the basic ideas about social media and business – and, by doing that, sometimes just annoying people quite unproductively!

So what’s this about the fishing?

“Fish where the fish are” is an old adage of marketing.

If we want to connect with our customers, both current and prospective, we need to be where they are. And be seen to be there, not just lurking in the shadows.

Offline, that’s why I go to events where I believe I may meet people who have need of my services or may know other people who do. Even if, from a narrowly personal view of how I would like to spend my time, I might prefer to be at home.

Online, it’s why I am keen to know what my clients and the people I would like to have as clients are talking about on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or Google+. And to engage in those conversations when and as appropriate.

It’s why I do research to find out how best to use those platforms – and others – so as to be most visible to and most engaged with people in my market.

But what if people are still not comfortable about using particular platforms?

For people who basically get the idea of “fishing where the fish are” in relation to using social media platforms, but are still feeling less than enthusiastic about using a particular platform, I use the analogy that even if I didn’t like coffee I would go happily to a coffee shop if I thought I would have a good chance of doing some good business networking there.

I could drink tea!

I’ve included this issue, i.e. not going where our customers and prospects are, in my post Do you make these 5 mistakes with social media? on the MYOB Pulse blog

Do you think there are ever good reasons for not using a particular social platform, even if that is well frequented by your customers or prospects?

Image: Fishing at Cabarita Beach, NSW, Australia, by Des Walsh – see CC licence at Flickr

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.

Comments

  1. I have to agree with all of the points you have raised here. Social media is one of the best tools that a business has to grow and reach more potential customers and of course most of it is free (apart from your time that is). I make use of as many platforms as possible and its seen the visitors to my website increase impressively over time.

  2. A great post Des. And I would apply this concept of “fishing where the fish are” to business in general. Are you fishing where the fish of your market are? Sounds simple but really powerful when properly understood.

    Cheers!

  3. I agree. No one can leave out social media when it comes to marketing your business.