Standing out there in a wired, connected, impersonal world by integrating personal involvement with social networking connection.
Social media might not be working and pundits are saying, for real relationship building as well as lasting buyer interaction. Whoa! Talk about a going-against-the-grain statement, right? Maybe you have been reading through the newest books about just how you’ve to have increasingly more media interaction. You see retail business statistics that indicate that a substantial percentage of purchasing decisions is based on someone going to yelp or perhaps facebook or google, searching for their friends’ reviews of that brand, then making a purchasing decision. You notice the way a huge company adds social networking to the mix of theirs, increases sales, and decreases customer service costs by working with a group of folks responding and answering to social media requests.
It is easy to see that social networking is the strategy to use. Or perhaps is it?
For starters, in case you’re a retail establishment, particularly in an offline environment, you’re most likely being social-shopped, review-shopped, and price-shopped online. What about the very short run, sure, the social media increases the sales of yours. Additionally, it, incidentally, decreases the average cost of those sales. Due to the commoditization of the sales experience. I will get to this in a moment.
Next, in case you’re huge branded company that has minimal interaction with the consumers of yours, the end users, (think Proctor or Nike and Gamble) and you include social networking to the mix of yours – you’re adding personal involvement – and also you therefore increase trust and relationship value.
Thus , in case you’re a retail establishment which wants to participate with other similar – retail establishments in a cost – competitive environment in which you do not have value differentiation and quality differentiation – what I am going to show you most likely does not pertain to you.
But… in case you’re a retail establishment which is starting to wonder whether social networking, optimizing yelp, and focusing on likes and reviews is beginning to deteriorate the price of yours and quality perception… you may like to read this aggressively.
Or perhaps in case you’re an enormous branded company for whom social networking has produced a rise in sales, and you’re satisfied with that increase in sales, then you most likely will not get very much from this book.
But… in case you’re an enormous branded company, you have had results with social networking – and you need to further increase ROI from interacting with the end user in a far more significant way than social networking – you may want to aggressively devour this book before your competition does.
You see, the success of social networking is a bit of a mirage. First, why does social media increase sales? Because it increases trust and relationship in a chilly, branded, mass advertising based world. So by layering on social networking to a huge business that has zero consumer interaction, aside from a customer service department that handles complaints, you quickly and of course add a degree of increased relationship and trust.
But in case you’re a consulting firm, a doctor, a small business operator, a pet walker, a self improvement coach, or perhaps some other business that interacts with humans face to face as the business model of yours, if you move to social networking to increase interaction with more individuals, you reduce the typical amount of trust and relationship that happens across the board. You commoditize your relationship experience, moving to a place in which you’re connecting with increasingly more folks simultaneously but less personal involvement. And it feels as you’re gaining more respect and trust, due to the fake interaction that’s occurring. And also for the small group of already loyal clients as well as followers, you may increase exposure because today they’re seeing you no matter if they do not require you, when they open the facebook page of theirs. And across the board, trust and relationship goes up.
And so far as good. Operating based on the model.
But what happens next is insidious. You start to connect with prospects as well as clients only in the social networking environment because as it consumes much more of the time of yours, you cannot spend that much time face-to-face with similar valued consumers. You start to find out much more involvement from more prospects, and also it validates the experience of yours with social media up to now, so you still ramp up the interaction you do online.
As the interaction online continues, you increase the customers as a result of the personal interaction. But you start to see they average ticket, the typical expenditure of the typical customer is going… down. Due to the loss of private interaction with you, the face of the company of yours.
You wind up with even more clients at reduced prices. It costs you similar (if not more) to service these brand new, lower priced clients. So the profit margin of yours goes down. But volume, sales revenue is up.
So you figure you truly invest much more in social networking, get a lot more clients, and hopefully move these clients up a profit chain so that they invest even more with you over time.
And that works, for a time. Your revenues are growing. Social media feels good.
Once again, so far as good. Perhaps not making more cash, but have more clients, as well as you own personal mental drain is cheaper since you do not need to speak to so many humans personally. Rather, you pay someone in India or perhaps Malaysia to pretend to have personal interaction via blog and facebook comments.
But what happens next?
Your competition has figured out precisely what you’ve. They’re doing exactly the same thing. Interacting online. Gaining trust. Running facebook ads on the facebook page of yours. Talking with the clients of yours.
Now, previously, in case your competition were to speak with the clients of yours, you would not lose your clients. Due to your real, personal connection with them. However you’ve commoditized the connection of yours with the prospects of yours via social networking – using the very same social networking interaction the competition of yours is able to pay for and do (because remember, in case you’re doing this to any scale at all, you’ve to hire individuals to carry out the social interaction for you) – your competition can duplicate the same social experience with the clients of yours as you do. When that happens, you’re not differentiated. The customers of yours will leave based on reduced price. The business of yours as well as your pricing become commoditized.
Perhaps at this point you’re thinking, that is what is happening to me. Social media has been a great thing for the company of mine. It has increased sales. But today I’m beginning to find out increasingly competitive by nature, commoditizing pressure, and I did not understand why.
And now you understand why.
Perhaps as you read this, you are able to see the logic, but you do not see it happening to you. That is okay. It’ll.
I anticipate we’re planning to see an enormous backlash in the arena of social media across the board in the marketplace in the next several years.
Interaction is going to become increasingly personal. There’ll be a reverting to real human engagement because the market will discover that commoditizing the relationship – building process means the same will happen as happens when nearly anything is commoditized – competition reverts to price based lowest-price-wins-the-sale pricing. But in case you have studied business in all you are aware that just one business in any market can be the low price leader. All others either go out of business or perhaps choose to participate on the differences of theirs.
So when you commoditize the social networking experience of yours, you enter the lowest-price-wins battle, and over time, you are going to spend many to obtain similar amount of social interaction and relationship as you’ve right now.
So why don’t we talk for a second about the huge branded companies for whom social networking has had a massive impact. Social media works, very well, for that scenario, because the first interaction level has been very low. Meaning that for those businesses, social networking is a step UP in interaction. My personal prediction is businesses that are experimenting with – and getting – results that are good with social networking will recognize that it is a characteristic of the greater amount of individual attention (of course) and understand that by applying what I teach in this book, they are able to further improve the level of the relationships with the clients of theirs by raising the amount of interaction with those clients from that of just interacting in the social networking, to adding personal interactivity and personal events to the customer conversation.
In reality, that is precisely where social networking are able to work best – as a bridge between traditional mass media and real human interaction. Social media could be utilized to facilitate involvement on an individual level, utilizing it as a screening process to elevate prospects from JUST interacting online, to coming to a live store event, meeting a live sales representative in a local environment, or perhaps otherwise interacting personally (and making increased sales as a result).
I have shown now exactly how social networking is initially increasing client involvement in a retail environment, and just how that increased client involvement may lead to long – run commoditization of the purchasing process, and I have shown the reason why social networking is increasing client retention and interaction for large, branded companies (and incidentally, probably the majority of the case studies cited in the marketplace for social media effectiveness involves big branded companies).
Thus , in case you’re a retail business, social networking could be a preliminary boon that results in potential destruction. And in case you’re a big branded company with hardly any personal involvement, social networking could be a great thing – even long run.
But in case you’re not a local store, and you’re not really a big branded company, what’s the impact of social networking on you?
To begin with, let me say this: among the common fallacies in the business community is to think: “if it works for business that is big, it should be great for me.” And social networking is not an different. Just since it really works for business that is big does not mean it is going to work for you.
Let us assume you’re a small business operator, a consultant, a coach, a service professional, or perhaps another person who interacts with folks. You visit the major case studies, and decide to try social media.
To gain initial traction, you ask the current clients of yours and prospects to like you on facebook, to have interaction with you online, and enable you to develop the online presence of yours. They love it, and let you know very. They love being in a position to chat with you at two in the morning in case they see you online, they do not have to wait until office hours. And at first, sales go up as there’s a preliminary sensation of a closer personal relationship. Naturally, at exactly the same time, you’re being stretched further and further as you’re paying increasingly more time and frankly, increasingly more trifling, client involvement. You see, when somebody needs to pick up the phone to ask you a question, they put some thought into it. They ask themselves, is this worth the time of mine and yours?
But with social networking, they simply post some thought that will come along. And also you feel compelled to answer some post that will come along. And now you’re communicating more and more with the prospects of yours, taking increasingly more time. And sales may go as much as that first cohort of prospects, but most likely not enough to compensate for the extra time and mental drain you’ve of being there far more and for more mundane communication.
But at this point, net, net, you’re pleased. Product sales are up. Clients appear to be happier.
Now get into the wrench in the marketplace.
Future new prospects are instantly subjected to the social networking interaction with you, rather than creating a genuine connection with you. And of course that still makes good sense to you, since you’re in a position to produce a faster bond with those prospects than you were in a position to with your first clients.
But 2 things occur: one) you do not build similar true level of individual connection with these new prospects as you did with your first cohort of clients and prospects. It simply does not happen the exact same way. Of course, you’re creating more relationships, but they’re at a shallower level. Resultantly, the sales per client for this brand new social media driven client base is drastically lower.
2) The relationships that you’re creating are commoditized – meaning that any of the competitors of yours are able to offer the very same amount of social networking interaction as you do. So when a buying decision needs to be made, prospects go to probably the lowest price or perhaps best offer, they do not differentiate based on your unique character or character.
This can lead to a continuous cycle of trying to be increasingly more prospects to your social media funnel to compensate for the reduced prices minimizing client involvement of the client base of yours. Naturally, this all happens slowly, over time, so it is not hard to believe that the change is based on increased competition in the industry of yours, the recession (a great scapegoat for lower profits in today’s world!), or perhaps that individuals simply do not want what you’ve any more.
But rather, it is actually due to the reduced amount of human relationship which has occurred due to the social networking interaction (and particularly the dependency upon the social media interaction for the human relationship component).
Naturally, they’re some apparent fixes for this particular issue. One is to merely hire many customer service reps ( you call social media interactors or bloggers) to manage the new prospect and customer interaction, trying to personalize it almost as possible. But if you do this, again, you commoditize the social interaction experience, and you’re not differentiated by YOU – the something that tends to make your business special and appealing and has been partly accountable for your business growth so much.
And you are able to pour a lot more and more cash into mass marketing to create increasingly more social networking leads to communicate with via social networking with increasingly more social media representatives. More clients at reduced prices.
Maybe after reading through this up to now, you’re thinking, ok, I can easily see the conclusion of this. It is not good. The long run is not good. So what do I do?
I am glad you asked.
To really dominate in a social media connected world, you have to become genuinely personal, differentiate based on real interaction not mass fake social involvement, and get the #1 trust relationship in your advertising space.
You might ask, do I really have to dominate?
The point is, you might think that you are able to be middle-of-the-pack and thrive. But that’s unusual. The market leader normally would make the majority of the profit. The majority of the profit in the market is shared by middle-of-the-pack-ers. And a bit of profit is battled for at the low price bottom part of the marketplace. This may be one more book in and of itself. But suffice it to state that in case you are not differentiating in such a manner that you are able to dominate the particular space of yours of the market (even if that market place is small, like chiropractors in Seattle, Washington, or perhaps stuffed bear repair artist in Denver, Colorado), you most likely are struggling to break even, and are likely contemplating selling the home business of yours or even getting out all together.Yes, the truth hurts.
I have already shown you why fake social media involvement isn’t a long run solution.
So that leaves personal differentiation based on real interaction.
I will explain first exactly what I mean, then the rest of the book will be devoted to teaching you exactly how to apply it in the company of yours.
Because the industry around you, others, your colleagues, and your competitors attempting to break into your market are focusing increasingly more of the time of theirs, money, and energy on social networking, as well as will at some point get trapped in the social media trap I have described above, I feel that creates a vacuum in the marketplace for individuals who are inclined to differentiate themselves based on personal interaction rather compared to mass social interaction.
In the past, it’s always been regarded as an excellent business model to have interaction more personally, to connect intentionally and personally, and differentiate both on individual interaction and on niche differences. That is been proven over and over, so no need to re prove it. And in fact, simply based on that proof – genuine personal interaction is a great thing, and a great business model. And as I have shown, social networking has just seemed to be a great replacement for personal interaction which when initially applied yields instant results that mistakenly lead one to think that the social media interaction is a valid long term alternative to genuine personal interaction.
However that several of your competitors are turning down the level of theirs of personal interaction, this makes the real world difference real folks will really feel in interacting with you personally (or well chosen representatives, not commoditized social media workers) even more amazing.
Today, possibly you’re thinking, but will not this take time and be costly?
Possibly. But the cost as well as the reward are dynamically different – as well as considerably in your favored – instead of following the new status quo, that of increased social media involvement.
Clearly, I do not know the niche of yours or the specialization of yours. And so the following examples likely will not be in the niche of yours as well as related. So I just ask you follow along, now think about the way the sample scenarios can be correlated with the own small business model of yours.
Let us imagine initially that you’re little firm. You’re the primary deliverer of client services. You might have a small staff, secretarial, sales personnel, etc. But you’re the main service provider.
Now, assuming a new influx of thousand new prospects, which would probably produce a greater level of long term investment:
a) sending all of the prospects into a social networking environment , for example facebook, connecting with them as you can in a fully connected way, being as offered as they can, and resultantly positioning yourself as being “too available” (or getting someone to impersonate genuine social involvement instead).
b) letting the prospects know you’re there to help you chat with personally, but as a result of the importance of the time of yours, you’re accessible only by appointment. You lead them to a well crafted site which explains the reason you’re several, who you’re a great fit to work with, and just how you are able to help them. It potentially also clarify the value of the time of yours, let us them know you are not readily available for constant chatter on the social networking since you would rather talk with prospects personally, and let us them know you’re really available for personal interaction.
Which of these scenarios would probably lead to probably the highest level of long term high quality clients?
The a) scenario is going to result in mass communication with thousand individuals with no differentiation between need levels. Naturally, this could be tweaked so that social media representatives can be educated to identify “hot” prospects and lead them to an individual discussion with you (the exact same private conversation that might have happened in scenario b) without any social media involvement or perhaps expenditure, the presence of the site of yours that specifies clearly with whom you work as well as just how you are able to be contacted). With time, a portion of people will rise to the pinnacle of the prospect funnel, identify themselves as wanting more. Nevertheless, these will be individuals for whom the relationship has been commoditized, and therefore end run pricing may be reduced for these prospects-turned-clients.
The b) scenario is going to result in some variety of private conversations by prospects vetted by clear specificity on the site of yours, not having been commoditized by facebook chats, and apt to invest much more per client.
The overall result of the personal connection is going to be the exact same number or perhaps more clients, at a higher selling price per client, with no (or perhaps hardly any) social media investment. (I say little because a single technique for social networking is able to be that of a preliminary place where someone can ask a preliminary question about the services of yours, but rather than that conversation turning into a dead end chat, it results in either a realization that you’re not ideal for the prospect (qualification and filtering) or perhaps an individual discussion with you.) So the social networking is used solely for initial vetting together with the site, not for prospect cultivation and commoditization.
In a small situation this way, I feel the personal involvement wins every time. Fewer connections at a significantly greater level, resulting in higher quality clients at higher price and with much less commoditization.
At this stage, you may be thinking, but I am even bigger than that, I cannot talk with everyone personally. Great, let us scale this somewhat.
Let us imagine you’ve a firm with five service providers and five sales persons. Choice: funnel leads into social networking, filter, or screen, commoditize them, and qualify the leads and have humans interact with them in a significant manner?
I do not even need to run “numbers” on this scenario since you are able to do it easily – simply multiply results by five from the earlier example, you have duplicated yourself, and you’ve the private involvement from genuine human interaction that results in higher client values.
We are able to carry on and scale this to hundreds of service providers and sales persons and find it goes on to work in the favor of real personal involvement rather than social networking communication as the main form of interaction.
Today, once again, we are able to make use of some limited form of social networking to merely stay in that format, to attract leads that could not come through the traditional funnel, and can limit interaction in those discussions to inviting prospects to your own 1 1 discussion of needs, etc.
The social media framework will be used as a filtering device itself – and potentially as a content dissemination device, and that is good, so long as the communication on the social media framework is limited and it’s not permitted to lead you astray, getting greedy eyes if you see some prospects coming from the social media funnel. A lot of the prospects who come from the social media funnel would’ve come by way of a a traditional filtering site as described earlier. And if the urge to expand social media communication is succumbed to, the effect will be that leads will cheapen in value over time, as commoditization of the communication occurs.
Let us imagine a small company with a budget of $50,000 for prospect cultivating. A good way to make use of that investment will be to hire several out sourced social media reps to communicate with 1000’s of prospects in a cookie cutter social networking environment, possibly a mix of facebook, twitter, as well as your very own blog presence. You will create 1000’s of social media prospects who’ll be aggressively connected online, hard to reach personally, and likely to price shop before making a choice to work with you.
Only until those prospects are elevated to a personal interaction with a real, live talking human will those prospects have a chance of doing business with you at any above a commodity level.
At this stage, I assume you wish to increase relevant human communication with potential customers. And naturally, this could be layered in at levels that are various. You do not need to eliminate social media all together. You are able to make use of social networking as a filtering device, training representatives to aggressively escalate hot prospects to live interaction (as we have seen live chat software so for years to maximize profit from on the web site visitors). But core prospect communication is done live.
Today, here is another scenario:
Possibly you’re still a little firm, an one person operation, or perhaps have a few of product sales or perhaps service interactor and also you would like to increase personal interaction without focusing on a single on one discussions.
The gamut of live group interactions is virtually endless, and at each level of involvement offers a greater level of personal relationship building than the social networking option.
For instance, imagine holding a live teleconference on a weekly basis the place where all prospects are able to interact with you. You keep a thirty minute teaching session, concluding with a moderating q and a session. Even if only five out of thousand attendees are in a position to chat with you individually, the personal credibility and clout quotient is pretty high, quite possibly for the 995 who do not interact live. You answer a live question that hooks up with others on that live call, and psychological and emotional bonding immediately occurs, and in a higher level than interacting with all thousand on social media. Naturally, once again, social networking will be incorporated with the live teleconference, for instance, creating a call to action on the live call that indicates a social media presence you can use for more questions. Of course anyone interacting on that social media presence is assumed to be there for more questions, so based on the nature of those questions, those social media respondents will be good quality prospects who’re likely ready for live 1 1 interaction with the sales team of yours.
When interaction grows past the amount of a teleconference, what else is out there? Think of Dave Ramsey, with a radio show which reaches millions each week. Just a couple of callers get through each week to ask questions live, however the live interaction creates a relationship building dynamic with non participators that still drives those non-participators to buy the book of his, attend the seminars of his, and routinely interact with Dave Ramsey in a business involvement. Imagine interacting with similar three million listeners on facebook instead! Think commoditization and an enormous bill for social media workers to answer questions!
Perhaps you’re thinking, but I am not popular enough for a commercial radio show? Maybe you have outgrown a 1000 person teleconferencing line, but you are not prepared for a radio show. What else could you do to mimic the live interaction via radio or perhaps teleconference?
What if you decide to make use of live streaming software on your site to mimic a TV or perhaps radio show, but broadcast from your site rather than a huge TV or radio station?
What if you decide to just scale the number of teleconferencing lines used to accommodate as much as 10,000 listeners? At that level of listenership, monetizing the “show” to such a degree that it’d easily pay for the technical complexity should be simple!
And all prospects generated would be personally connected with you in a way that just does not happen on social media. In reality, you differentiate yourself by not being on social networking, although not commoditizing the presence of yours there.
And I am not advocating completely shutting out social media, instead, I am recommending in order to avoid using it for prospect cultivation as an end, and to make use of it sparingly only for activities that obviously is able to be performed much better with social networking and do not commoditize the relationship (although I think it will be able to be argued that ANY amount of social media involvement begins to reduce the long term prospect value, and that anything that may be achieved via social networking could be achieved for similar price or perhaps less in a personal web environment that’s hundred % controlled by you or perhaps the firm of yours, rather than by twitter or facebook, et al.
Generic formula for maximizing non social media relationship building:
Massive daily deep content like articles, video, TV, radio, blog posts, etc. Articles and blog posts: example, Seth Godin, Mitch Joel
High level, high priced frame that proves credibility and authenticity
Mass communication that mimics live personal involvement such as teleconferencing, live seminars (for local markets), TV and radio, live streaming events, and broadcast events. This’s in direct contrast to social media involvement which enters the current frazzled “connected” stream that’s commoditizing interactions and relationships.
A service delivery model which is personalized almost as practical (and pricing is like it supports the personalized delivery model).
The above formula can be tailored to every business model known to male, and in the upcoming section, I will show scenario after scenario, in various niches, at several delivery levels, and at various price points and scalability.
I feel that by reading these scenarios and actively asking the question, so how does this component relate to the own small business of mine, you are able to adapt this high-personal-involvement relationship model into the business of yours, and as a result, escape from commoditizing client experience with social networking, increase client interaction and satisfaction, and improve the bottom line of yours and profit margins significantly.