I opened my email reading client and downloaded my usual 300 emails that came in over night. After waiting a few moments for my spam filer to filter all the Viagra, hair loss remedy and ‘Nigerian Prince’ messages, I began scanning the subject lines. Immediately one email message jumped out at me:
“Congratulations Dalmatian Cleaners, your post got 11 views”
It was a message forwarded to me by one of my clients. For the record, my client’s business name is not Dalmatian Cleaners, but I’d like to preserve his anonymity if you don’t mind. He had forwarded an email message he had received from one of the social media platforms he uses. The email message was reporting the activity of his latest post.
The email message forwarded was also accompanied by my client’s comments and commentary:
‘Only 11 views???!!! Why bother?’
All that time spent carefully crafting the post, thinking about just the right words to say. Perhaps an hour preparing to snap a picture to accompany the post (yes you SHOULD clean up your plant in the background if you are planning on snapping a photo – I’ve seen some pretty ugly plants in the background of some of the pictures you guys post). So maybe you invested two hours in writing your one post of the day (week, month), and then after all that time and effort, all you got was 11 views?!! Oh heck ya, I’d be disappointed too!
So, 11 views of your post. Yes, I agree, it’s not a lot of being seen. There is not much of a return on your efforts of posting…well, at least not at this time.
If you have been reading my previous articles, you will have read that social media, ALL social media, is about these 4 points:
1) building audience
2) building visibility
3) building engagement
4) building conversions (driving or creating sales, creating customers)
This client currently has very few followers of his Google My Business page. He has just passed the 400 count of fans/followers on Facebook. You might be thinking, ‘This is kind of low.’ Well, let’s look back a bit, Jesus started out with one, and grew to 12. But look at today, from small acorns mighty oaks grow. You need to work at growing your fan base, you need to work at growing the number of folks who like your page, and keep on working at increasing the number of people who follow you.
As you gain followers, fans, and build audience, things change. It gets easier and easier to grow. Look at the music industry. A singer starts out singing on a street corner and builds her fan base, builds her audience. Over time, that builds up so she can fill a coffee shop, then a small theatre, eventually filling stadiums. Album sales start one at a time out of the back of a van, or direct sales one at a time on the street corner while busking. Eventually her Youtube channel that had just a few fans and followers swells to millions.
You build audience one at a time. As you make posts, your current fan base is exposed to your content, and perhaps you pick up another fan liking your post, your image, your content, and maybe even likes your page. One at a time. ONE At A TIME! Oh it’s painful, and slow.
As you build your fan base, you are building your network. Content goes out to fans, and friends of fans. It’s the old shampoo commercial all over again, where one of your friends tells two friends, and then their friends tell two friends, and so on, and so on. If your audience is small, it takes a huge amount of effort to get that pyramid scheme working for you. Once your pyramid is built, it’s easy to spread the word to huge amounts of people. The trick is to build that audience, and can only be done one person at a time. Those that do the work, get the reward. Those that do not do the work get nothing but more work put in front of them. That’s the way the system is designed. So, if you are in the lead, you get to keep the lead. If you are coming from behind, you have to work hard, and worse, work harder to catch up or get ahead. Leaders have an advantage while those with a little audience, have to work much, much harder and are disadvantaged.
So, once you have built your network and fan base, you get visibility. When you make a post, it goes out to your fans, and friends and family of those fans. The larger your fan base, the more people will be exposed to your posting and content. So if you have a huge fan base, you can ride that wave like surfing a tsunami. Your single voice can be amplified dramatically using your large net-work of fans as your post is sentto your fan base, and then rides out the networks and affiliations of your fans.
Now, here is a tweak to this…Influencers.
Influencers are like super fans. An influencer is a highly popular fan. An influencer is a person who has a large following of fans themselves, so when your content is retweeted, commented upon, or shared, your content gets sent along to the influencer’s huge fan base. Your message picks up a lot of speed and is amplified more than usual because you hit a concentration of interest and is being pushed to large numbers of people. Kind of like making friends with a local celebrity, and then this celebrity mentions your business on a local radio or TV that reaches thousands. If and when an influencer engages with your content, such endorsement can end up generating more fans, more followers, more likes, which results in more engagement, and the cycle repeats…
Engagement is an interesting topic. All social media is based on popularity of people, businesses and content. Like a comedian who writes a great joke, and then performs that joke, and people laugh, people then take the joke home and share it with their friends, who share it with their friends, and so on, and so on….until the joke spreads around the world. Well, how do you measure that popularity? In a word, you measure the engagement of the joke. You count how many people heard it, how many laughed, how many took the joke home and shared it, and you count how many times the joke is re-told and shared. That is basically how engagement is measured.
But there is more. Social media systems are designed to reward content that is engaging. A good joke needs to be shared and highlighted. Popular content is the same. Social media is set up that popular content and popular businesses get REWARDED with more exposure to more and more people. This exposure is called reach. The more popularity, the more reach is enabled and extended to content and businesses (and people) posting it. Popularity is rewarded, and thus, encouraged. And, popularity cannot be bought, it must be earned. And the only way to earn it is on its own merit as judged by the people, and the actions of those people, thus why social media systems are set up to count and measure each like and share. Social media simply monitors the content and has set up certain trip wire systems so that as content trips those trip wires, amplification systems kick in spreading popular content around the globe.
Lastly, building or getting conversions:
Converting folks from passive observers of content to become customers, to buy something, to use your services is ultimately WHY anyone is using social media today. For the past few years, dry cleaners have been enamoured with the concept of social media, in love with the idea that it’s FREE to use and has little, low or NO cost to get the word out of their business. Smart dry cleaners are the ones who are now asking, what am I getting in return for my efforts? How many new customers did that lost post create? How many pairs of pants did that last campaign bring in? The smartest cleaners are the ones what realize all this effort made in social media needs to produce more than just likes, and shares….because a like is just a like, and share is just a share, exposure bucks don’t pay staff, rent, utilities and profits…you need CASH and that only comes from making sales.
As my client noted: his last post got 11 views…I can only imagine how THIS conversation between a cleaner and his supplier ends up: “I got your bill for the last shipment of hangers and poly. My last post got 11 views, so I will send over 5 views to cover that supplies bill.” Yeah, right!
It’s all fine and dandy to be a social media darling, but the fact is it’s a brutal market these days. The cleaner with the most amount of ACTIVE CUSTOMERS bringing in ACTUAL PIECES to be cleaned and pressed…WINS! Likes don’t pay the bills, cash does…