The rise and fail in Social Media groups
The internet has allowed us to take massive steps in connecting like never before, in our local area and even globally. A big part of this tide is online networking groups, for example, those like www.meetup.com and the groups on Facebook, What’s App and LinkedIn to name a few.
There are benefits to these groups, and at the same time, they also promote some behaviour traits, traits that are the opposite of what networking is really about and could be detracting from our business and brand.
For networking to work there have to be key elements at play:
1 Helping each other
3 Communication on a regular basis
4 Connection around a common theme
Selling on social media groups
For networking to take place, we need to be adding value to each other, whether, information, support and business.
It depends on the reason/ethics of the group whether you are allowed to sell/promote your services. If you have permission to promote or sell your product, the act of which while acceptable to the group ethics may result in some people leaving the group. These groups at times become a “spam fest” and become uninteresting to revisit, however, certain products could be shared in a group by a recommendation that adds value and this would be down to the administrator (admin) to take a call on. Whatever though the majority of the posts must be value-driven not sales driven.
Maintain visibility and build visibility
Posting in such groups allows us to gain visibility with people we have not yet met in the real world. So it can initiate the start of a relationship.
It can also serve to remind people we exist no matter how busy our work lives and especially when we are in sales this subtle reminder could also lead to referrals.
How many times has a good friend of yours referred a competitor simply because they forgot about you?
Being a member of the group is not enough. What the consultants at Asentiv call a MINO (Member in name only) If you are a member of an online network (and real world) and you do not “show up” you are not visible and not contributing then why are you there? Whats app is a perfect example people are members of so many groups that are posting irrelevant material that they have stopped even checking what is posted. But they refuse to leave the group because of social “Missing out” or just in case they need something one day.
The problem is that unless you are a contributing member of any group when you do ask for help the chances of getting real help are limited. You may get superficial help a phone number or a recommendation which has as much to do with making the helper feel good as helping but you certainly won’t get a lift to the airport if you ask. People will not, on the whole, put themselves out and invest time unless the relationship has real value.
Building personal credibility for business people is fundamental after all showing you do what you promise to do and being likeable is a key businesses pillar. This is so much easier to do offline even if it takes more effort. This is one reason why offline relationships tend to have more depth, and people will go further to help you.
There is a disturbing trend online of confirming participation in events and not turning up. While to be fair this happens offline also, it seems to be excessively prevalent online.
Check out the next social online event you are invited to then look at how many people are a part of the group who do not attend (possibly ever) and of those who confirm how many turn up.
I do not think social media networking is going away and neither should it. It is a great resource. This said if we are not careful these fantastic online resources will start being seen as nothing but NOISE and a haven for time wasters who are only involved in “Superficial marketing”rather than “Relationship marketing”.
There are some great admins out there controlling the ‘noise” in their groups. I would also encourage “real world “ meetings which will serve to deepen relationships and cement loyalty.
Remember you can’t get a haircut over the telephone