A lot of people are saying that whether or not Google Plus opens up in a strong way for business use, the fact that they can interact with people on Google Plus is going to help their business. In part, I can see that. Statistically speaking, the more people you meet, the better chance you have at meeting people you like or people who would buy from you.
But (because as Pee Wee Herman once said, we all have big buts), just talking to people and sharing kitty videos is not going to help *most* businesses. It will help you as a person, perhaps, or if you run a brand that is all about engaging online, you’ll be golden. If you’re an accountant, you may not be so lucky.
This is not a new conversation. People are equating followers on Twitter with business prospects. The logic goes that the more people you engage with the better chance you have of finding your buyers. Same for Facebook fans and blog subscribers. Again, for some folks, this may be 100% true. For a lot of people, it won’t be true at all.
Did I just douse you with icy cold water?
Let me say it a different way. It doesn’t matter what platform(s) you use in the online world. It’s the people you’re engaging with that matter. I don’t mean that in a warm and squishy way (this time, although I do love you). I mean that in a “Is this person ever going to help your business” kind of way. If your prospects and customers are not, for the most part, on Google Plus, you could share kitty videos until you see them in your sleeping hours. You’re still not going to build your business. You either need to bring the right people there yourself or go where the right people are. And I have horrible news, captain. In some industries, you might have to go outside of Social Media platforms.
You still aren’t sure about what I’m saying, huh? Hmm. Let me pull on some bigger names to help me out.
1. Eric Carmen tried to build his business on Google Plus when his customers and prospects weren’t there. The end result? He wrote the song, “All By Myself.”
2. Dr. John tried to be an early adopter and he jumped into all of the Social Media platforms before it was clear how he could use them to grow his business. The end result is his popular song, “I was in the right place but it musta been the wrong time.”
3. Very few people know that Bobby Vinton tried to build a business using Facebook pages, but none of his customers or competitors were there. That’s how we got the song, “Mr. Lonely.”
4. Most of Roy Orbison’s discography emanated from failed attempts to build business online (another little-known fact). Cases in point:
• Runnin’ Scared: About how Roy kept running from platform to platform to build his business
• Crying: Self-explanatory
• Only the Lonely: Which he thought about calling “Tweeting softly to myself alone”
5. Of course you already know that the Beatles wrote a lot of songs about Social Media engagement, but what they ended up discovering is that all of that engagement, as fun as it was, wasn’t connecting them with their buyers. Utterly frustrated, John and Paul wrote, “I’ll Cry Instead.”
6. Elvis Presley was on the receiving end of someone who was trying to sell to him even though he wasn’t that person’s buyer. We can sing along with “Hound Dog” and “Suspicious Minds” thanks to those experiences.
And I could go on and on. These folks have my back on this.
It doesn’t matter what platform comes your way. If your customers, competitors, or prospects are not there, as in, they are not aware of the site, don’t like it, don’t use it, think it’s scary, think it’s an utter waste of time, or something else, you will not be able to get them to buy from you via an engagement strategy.
It won’t work.
Engagement is great. And if you are using Social Media for personal purposes or just to learn, engagement is, well, pretty darned essential. But if you are a business, engagement needs to have a strategy tied to it. Engagement and your engagement strategy need to be kissing cousins.
See the difference?
Or do I need to get more rock stars to back me up?
This has been post #94 in the Engagement Series. Thanks for tuning in!
Image by Spencer Desmond. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/sdesmond