It was a lively face-to-face business networking event. As you might guess, social media was a hot topic. Of course business cards were exchanged as many of the attendees represented agencies that promise to be able to bring social magic to a brand. But what I found most interesting happened later, when I visited several of their corporate social media pages. What became clear was that many of the profiles had not posted content in several weeks, and in some cases, months. Mind you, all the major social media icons cover their business cards, stationery and websites. As you know, the conventional wisdom here is to provide a social signal to customers and prospects:
“Like us, follow us, connect with us, have a live conversation with us – we’re here to engage you with our content!”
Well, not really … “here” that is. Yes, they’ve established a profile, and they are proudly displaying all the social media badges, but they are not maintaining or updating their presence. And that’s a problem because that lack of attention could be sending a signal that actually hurts their business. Hold on Alan, what do you mean? Well, as you know, “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression,” and here are a few thoughts that might be going through your prospects mind:
1. “I don’t see any recent activity. If I do post something here is anyone going to respond?” This is kind of like providing a phone number that you never intend to answer. Or providing a store front address that never opens its doors. Or like ignoring important email. How does that generally work out for a business?
2. “I don’t see any recent activity. Are you still in business? Or can’t you afford to hire someone to be in charge of this communication channel?” Now they’re questioning your financial stability. That’s not something you want customers, prospects, business partners or your banker thinking.
3. “I don’t see any recent activity. You haven’t posted anything new or worth reading in weeks. I guess there is nothing new with you.” OK, now they are just plain calling you boring. If you happen to be a marketing agency with a focus on social media you’re in deep trouble. When you think about it, how many businesses want to be labeled boring?
4. “I don’t see any recent activity. Your website talks about creative content-based marketing with social channels, and the ROI that can be achieved. I guess it doesn’t really work, or you’d be doing it.” This is an agency example and your prospect just said that you don’t “practice what you preach.” So now your “credibility” is under question. And all those nice marketing awards displayed on your website are not going to help.
Who would have thought? Those social media icons can look so innocent when they are displayed on a business card. But they really do send a loud and challenging message. Don’t take that message lightly.