This week I had a conversation with another LinkedIn Group leader that I wanted to share —our conversation puts the challenges of social media marketing front and center.
We were discussing how the amount of noise has increased within social media networks and that there is a lot of junk out there on, for example, LinkedIn groups. She was frustrated with the amount of spammers posting advertisement and she felt she had to continuously monitor the group to make sure the interactions were professional and relevant.
I told her that the real cost of social transactions was shifting from sellers to buyers.
What does this mean?
If you think about it, we don’t really bother to consider the true cost of our time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, industry forums and communities, blogs, etc. Beyond the value that you get from sharing with friends and colleagues (my wife posts baby pictures up on Facebook for far-away family and friends) there is a lot of stuff that sucks time away that may not only be useless but actually a true waste of time. Beyond slightly amusing posts my friends share…. do I really need to wade through that and the 50 other meaningless announcements on my Facebook home page to find the one nugget that is worth it?
Furthermore, how many LinkedIn group posts are a blatant sales pitch, job request, and link bait to visit your website before I tune out your group? How many SPAM emails do I have to delete on a daily basis to keep my inbox clear for my real work? BTW – I delete pretty much everything that doesn’t have a person sending and personally addressed to me. Email marketing doesn’t really work with me. Probably most people are feeling the same way.
There is no question that there is a fundamental shift occurring on the web. The cost of information distribution is shifting to the consumer from the distributor –social media is accelerating this. Facebook is free to post and to read. However, it costs some time to post, but it is taking a huge cost of time to filter the amount of information to read that “right” post.
Now, this may sound esoteric, but think about this on an enterprise level and from a productivity perspective. The amount of emails, posts, articles, powerpoints, etc. and you realize:
- We are overwhelmed with information
- It is costly, in terms of productivity, for our employees
- Social media is contributing to the problem of noise
- We don’t have good information filters to help our organizations yet
- Social marketing if done correctly, can help with the problem in that we can use “trusted sources” to credential and filter information
- The costs will continue to rise in terms of productivity if we don’t begin to focus on the problem.
- Customers actually pay a transaction cost for your marketing.
- The currency they use is their attention. Considering how busy many executives are, spending 10 seconds reading your email is a costly time consumer when you consider how many emails they get on a daily basis
- If your marketing transaction costs are too high because it isn’t relevant, timely, focused, and credentialed; you negatively impact your relationship
- Customers are reacting to the “hidden” costs. Companies that are SPAMMING them are losing attention and actually losing brand equity.
So, what is the solution?
The paradigm shift that needs to be made in order to capture what is going on in the market, leverage the opportunity that social brings, and accommodate the practical lens of the executive, today’s professionals need to think about customer engagement in terms of “cost of attention” instead of “cost of customer acquisition.” With this new perspective, then focus your social business transactions to provide:
- High quality
- High value
- High integrity
This will increase the customer’s perception of your importance, lower the noise in the market, and will translate to the bottom line in terms of financial transactions. We are all trying to discuss and navigate through the speed of social, but not many are taking account the paradigm shifts necessary to help make social relevant to the enterprise. I hope this blog post is a step in that direction. Would welcome your thoughts.