Have you met a person, whether business owner or individual, that just doesn’t “get it” yet when it comes to social media? I have. In fact, I’ve met several of them. Many are on the brink, they’re trying hard to learn the ins and outs, find the value, and discover what it is they need to do to get involved. There are others who continue to turn a blind eye and think: “Hey, if I can’t see you… you can’t see me!” There’s another category of user out there though. It’s the one full of people who are on social networks, and yet don’t understand the idea of processed vs. organic growth, relationships, promotion, conversation, connection.. you get the picture.
It’s an analogy that Vince Fowler from Action Coach relayed to me during a coffee and social media chat. And it’s one that’s stuck with me as I’ve been explaining online word-of-mouth to those I meet along the way. People are smart. They can sniff out a plant faster than you can say information super-highway. And now, more than ever, it’s so blatantly obvious when it’s being done. A business attempting to sway opinions in any kind of black hat approaches might as well strap on a cone-shaped hat with D-U-N-C-E written across the top. You’re filling the pipe with processed food and expecting luscious and miraculous growth, when really, you’ve just got a lot of shit coming out the other end.
Social media’s not going anywhere. That’s a fact the rest of us accepted long ago. Those of you basking in social media success, good for you! Keep doing what you’re doing. For the rest of us, here are a few tips I think might help make the transition into this new land of real world transparency a little easier on you:
- Quit trying to buy our love and just be loveable. This means being the best you can be at what you do from start to finish.
- Take note, not offense. Learn from the feedback you receive, whether online or offline. Use both positive and negative comments to improve weak spots, or make strong spots sparkle even brighter.
- Take any outlying comments with a grain of salt, both positive and negative. Just because one person may think you’re the cats meow doesn’t mean the rest of us do. Certainly, be proud of pleasing a person or customer that much, but use it as an example on how to make every person purr that contentedly. Don’t stop until you’re rolling in praise. Same goes for any feedback you may not want to hear. It’s also a grain of salt. One outlying comment or two is not the end of the world. It’s when you keep on receiving it that it becomes your signal that there’s something more than just a grumple-puss behind it.
- Know when to cut your losses. You cannot please 100% of the people 100% of the time. There are just way too many of them and only one of you. Do your best to right any wrongs. Once you feel you’ve done all you can, shrug it off and continue on. Remember that organic process? The rest will come. If you’re focusing on excellence in your industry, all you need is some time.
- Recognize what you have influence over, and what you don’t. The minute a person walks through the door of your business, or meets you on the street, you have influence over their experience of you. Once they’ve walked out of your life, it’s all over. Do everything you can to ensure every aspect of their interactions with you are the best you can muster given the current situation. The rest isn’t up to you.
Learning to roll with the punches and incorporate feedback, both positive and negative, is the most important first step in this space. You may have heard the term “listening” before. It means “to pay attention.” So sit up straight, turn and face the people who are trying to tell you something. And just listen. From there, your next step should become a little more clear.