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How To Stop Promoting That Your Business Merely Exists

businesses_that_merely_exist

Having a business is irrelevant if you provide no value.

We all have a goal for potential customers to see us, like what we do, connect with us and to eventually invest in us. If you cannot deliver value to someone else than you are not worthy.

Proving That Businesses Merely Promote That They Exist

Here is my roll call of examples to show you that have with a resolute ‘No Value Guarantee’ and the only goal is to sell a product. To many businesses, social media represents a place to purely promote what a company does. It serves no wider purpose.

If we didn’t have the internet the equivalent would be having a phone book repeatedly crammed through your front door.

We all see this type of post everyday on our feeds:

 

poor1

Any value for this audience?

companies_that_just_exist

Nope…can’t see why I would want to come here.

companies_that_just_exist

Making someone’s life easier?

companies_that_just_exist

So, someone has connected with you on Twitter, you now want them on Facebook

companies_that_just_exist

We can even do it on LinkedIn…

companies_that_just_exist

….and in the local press.

Each post you see above represents businesses advertising that they merely exist. Whilst businesses have responded to technology, many have not responded to the evolution of the customer and a responsibility to be more purposeful.

This is the problem we are currently facing. Businesses are opting for the quickest routes possible to shove as many messages down someone’s throat, rather than accepting that they are in this for the long term to grow a customer base. Sometimes it feels like businesses have one week left on all social media channels before it’s taken away, so best run as fast as you can and tell everyone you come in contact with.

Social Is Only To Distribute

All that social media represents is a distribution channel, so lets become better at using it in a way to disburse a viewpoint and encourage others to discover more ie. click a link back to your space. Social media is not the stick of dynamite that is going to explode where others are going to come flooding to you, all it represents is the fuse and the examples seen above are just a wet match trying to ignite.

The dynamite lies in your source (the source I refer to is the space that you can create, curate and is yours) and when it’s accepted can potentially make an almighty explosion.

SOCIAL MEDIA = DISTRIBUTOR

SPACE YOU OWN = THE SOURCE

Creating value equates to an audience who are responsive and grateful for what you deliver. However, it’s not getting easier in the quest to grow an audience.

Where Are We Today?

It’s time to realise that you need your audience more than they need you. Here is a snapshot for how the world looks today:

683 million tweets per day

3.6 billion searches on Google per day

3.4 million blog articles posted per day

922 million active websites

57 million internet users in the UK (population 63.5 million)

See what I mean, let me say it again, the fact that you have a business (and a social media presence) is irrelevant. All you are is a tiny noise that is rarely heard at the bottom of the world’s deepest well.

However, there is hope and rather than this being an article that points at others (well, I guess it is, but that’s to demonstrate), it is here to highlight three things:

  1.      become more relevant to an audience
  2.      relevance equates to association
  3.      association means exchange of value

Become The Driver For Value

You now have a better opportunity than ever before to create value that converts into customers. Imagine a street full of terraced houses and on the end of the street is a police station. One represents a community that has a purpose to serve people, the others are just there.

Here are some pointers that I have applied to become more than just the same looking house.

1)   You can’t throw everything at a wall

It just doesn’t work thinking that you can mix everything up by offering competitions (trust me, people only want something for free, rather than engage with you), promoting what you do and then looking to provide value. It’s a bit like going to a barbeque and once you feel comfortable chatting to those you know and haven’t seen in a while, you’re then told to join in with a game of rounder’s and then all go inside to watch Game Of Thrones. You just can’t jump from pillar to post.

It is more important to find your voice and what you stand for first, to then how understand the role you play for others.

2)   Change a way of thinking

There were 581,000 new businesses start-ups in the UK during 2014 (according to Start-Up Britain), the majority will act and think the same. Whilst the herd mirror each other, we now have more spaces and channels than ever before to express our views, how we can make a difference and more importantly add value to others. The way we look at the world and expressing an opinion is more important than receiving an email saying that I have until the end of the week to take up a website audit review.

 3)   Content spreads because of an idea, not frequency of posting

Content that represents value and meaning for an audience is far more likely to spread, than thinking that you have to be relentlessly creating content.

People spread content they find compelling, not a rehash of someone else’s work or blatant advertising. I know the ‘quality v quantity’ mantra is regularly used, but to get to quality you have to understand the problems you can solve and the advice you can give. Quality does not mean paying for someone else to create an infographic that takes two weeks to design.

4)   Technology has made things easier, but people change too

We can’t just put messages out there and expect people to react. We have become better filters than we were 10 years ago with the information that we receive.

I can remember when I became more interactive with email since setting my @gmail account in 2004 (you can see when you set yours up by clicking on settings, Forwarding and POP/IMAP to see when you started). Every email that entered my in-box, was treated as a Royal Mail Special Delivery. The companies that had received my email address and sent me noise, were almost virtual friends and for some reason, they had found my email address and I felt special. Fast-forward to today and we all feel a lot more comfortable when clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ button.

5)   Attention has to be earnt, not bought

To have true meaning to someone else, takes time. We can’t expect that just because we have a section on our websites called ‘blog’ then we can sit back with a sense of accomplishment.

I now realise that if time is finite and we look for the quickest routes possible to earn trust, paying for Facebook ads, investing more money on an Adwords campaign, is akin to going to the end of year school ball. In the build up you have spent the money saved from the Saturday job working in the supermarket on new clothes, you’ve had the hair cut and the probability of impressing someone from the opposite sex is higher than it was. In reality all it meant was that you spent the money you had earnt to be a hit, but the next day you’re back to you. If impressing a girl was based on stuffing the sink in the school loos with toilet tissue and then letting the taps run, then it doesn’t work (trust me, I know but the school never found out it was me, so I win).

Rounding Up

Yesterday cost a lot more than today. With the ability to communicate and deliver a message, shouldn’t we now be understanding that we all evolve as people?

Whilst we now jump into different spaces to see how they work (hello Periscope), to understand our audience takes a lot more than interrupting a flow of someone’s day. If we can understand the value that we bring and appreciate that the evolution of our customers (and potential customers play) is happening at the same time, then we can start to see some clarity in the roles that we play as businesses and also individuals.

Image at the top of the article courtesy of Andrew

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