Why professionals fail on social media
I’ve long been fascinated with how “serious” businesses like professional service firms can use tools like social media, blogging and digital marketing to grow their practice.
It’s no secret that the way people search for, compare and buy products and services has changed enormously in the last decade. Remember the last time you used a phone book? Do you even own one anymore?
These days people turn straight to Google when they have a problem that needs solving. They check out advice from self-proclaimed experts on internet forums, and compare providers on review sites. They might even ask for advice from their friends and extended network on social media.
Clearly, professionals need to tap into this online search and referral network if they want to build their business. It sounds easy when you hear the advice of “social media gurus” – just share something on facebook and twitter and watch it go viral, and watch the customers come rolling in.
Most professionals encounter a very different experience when they try their hand at social media, blogging and online marketing – the sound of crickets.
“We tried Social Media once. It didn’t work” – 1001 different professional service firm owners
I’ve found this myself, when I first developed a website for my veterinary practice group Cairns Vet Clinic in 2004. People just didn’t seem interested in what I was writing about, even though it was really great, helpful stuff (honestly!). I’d slave over a blog post or spend time on social media with frustratingly little response.
I’ve seen the same thing occur when my professional colleagues dabbled with social media or online marketing. Lots of effort in with little results.
Does this mean that social media is a waste of time for professionals? Absolutely not! I’ve watched some professionals who have been really successful online marketers. When you see what they get right, it’s easy to see why most professionals fail in their online marketing efforts.
In future posts I’ll be sharing some case studies of professionals who have been highly successful in their social media and digital marketing efforts.
But to whet your appetite – lets review where most professionals go wrong with social media
Top 7 reasons professionals fail on social media
- They lack focus – they don’t concentrate on specific high value clients and being the very top provider to those clients.
- They’re antisocial – you can’t just pay lip service to social media – to get the real benefits of social media you really need to listen and genuinely interact with your clients.
- They don’t offer value and expertise – at least not what their clients value. High value clients have very specific needs and expectations and won’t work with someone who can’t demonstrate their value and expertise up front.
- Their website sucks – It’s from 1999, it doesn’t generate leads, it doesn’t allow interaction or connect to your social media channels, or your client’s needs, or your business goals. This is a big one!
- They aren’t where the people are: This sounds like a no-brainer, but businesses need to go to where their customers are: this means being found when they search for problems, being active on social media and getting featured on the industry news sites, blogs and mainstream media that your clients read
- They don’t engage – Another no-brainer, but it’s a mistake we see again and again. Social media is about relationships and conversations. Building relationships and engaging with clients and influencers online and offline are essential to get results from social media. If you don’t do this you are just using social media as an advertising channel. This is like turning up at a party and trying to sell to your friends – very uncool. and sharing great stuff you’ll do much better.
- Their brand isn’t shareable – Think of the stuff that people love to share on social media – it’s fun, cool, interesting, family oriented – Stuff from their accountant or lawyer… not so much. To succeed with social media professionals need to be more creative.
and a bonus:
#8 Bonus: They quit too soon – Social media and digital marketing are long term strategies – the benefits take a long time to accrue but once they do they keep paying off.
What are the top mistakes you see professionals make in their marketing?