Numerical Blindness

Whenever anyone says that a business or brand MUST do social media, I cringe, I wince, I reach for a cocktail. Then I shake my head and think.. follow the money.

Numbers, meet Perspective:

YouTube has millions of people who like funny cat videos and other people like to mock them with hilarious, f-bombing NSFW cat videos.

Translation: There are years worth of content uploaded every day, meaning there’s no way for people to see even a fraction of it. For every commenter on YouTube there are BILLIONS who are not registered, don’t share and never comment.

Google Plus is growing like gangbusters, hit a record 25 million in no time flat, will probably exceed 30 or 40 million users by the time I hit publish.

Thusly: By the time you read this, there could be 50 million users and therefore, about 6.3 BILLION non-users outside the Circle.

Twitter has some 200 million+ registered users, depending on what the searches say.

Ergo: Roughly 6.5 BILLION people do not care. It’s used mostly by spammers, brands, bloggers, my cool TV-loving peeps, obnoxious fame-whoring celebs and per Gini Dietrich, PR and marketing types talking to each other. Any clever Twitter infographic will point out that most people don’t get follows, clicks, RTs or anything approaching ‘influence.’

Facebook would be the 3rd largest country in the world, with 700+ million users.

Reality check: There are about 6 BILLION people NOT on Facebook. Of those that are of the legal age and are on FB, I suspect the majority are playing Farmville, uploading baby pics and ignoring your marketing efforts, so it’s not time to surrender just yet.

Do you know IF your audience is social?

I’m not lobbying against social media marketing, far from it. Just needs to be done correctly.

I have more friends, know more ‘regular’ people not in social – not on Twitter or even Facebook – than I know who a1re on. They’ve barely heard of Google+ and only pay attention to YouTube videos for kicks.

The ones that are ‘social’ have Facebook and banner ad blindness. You’re rarely going to reach them ‘socially’ with your marketing, save for a well-written content driven blog post that answers their specific question on how to find a deal at the store, which dishwasher is worth the money, etc.

Do you know WHERE your customers are social?

Why do you ‘need’ an iPhone or iPad app? Not because everyone has one; with ‘only’ 130 million iPhones and 30 million iPads sold to date, roughly MOST of the planet does not have one.

The reason you market to iOS users is your research shows you they are YOUR audience, they’re the ones likely to have the income, interest and inclination to buy your product or service. So what if mobile users make up only 33% of your web traffic; it’s their percentage of conversion and sales that matters.

Fish where they are biting.

Don’t be blinded by the statistics and big numbers, and jump into social media because you ‘have’ to; if your customers are biting there, bait your hook. If not, follow the money to your own ‘Safari-using, mobile-gaming, iOS-wielding, Twitter-updating, high-income’ shopper waters.

“We’re not normal people,” quipped Mike Leszinski during a soloPR chat. Social users are a strong demographic of biting fish. The question you need to answer for your small business is: Are they YOUR fish?

Thoughts, quips, nits to pick? Please share.

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Google+. One network to rule them all?

I used to think that what Facebook was doing ‘wrong’ was not giving people more control over their audiences, what they share with whom.

Is Twitter random?

I agree with most of Mitch Joel’s points on Twitter, but for the reason that Twitter is [not] random. People use Twitter for:

  • Easy IM chatting tool with friends, share Tumblr posts.
  • Lifestream to anyone or no one listening, except us slimy marketers of course.
  • Business pros like to connect with other like-minded professionals, quickly and simply.
  • Marketers want to pimp their wares and spammers want to give me free iPads and cheap Viagra.

someecards.com - I can't wait for Google Plus to reunite me with everyone I blocked on Facebook.I have a personal Twitter account that is interest-specific. Some nice friendships have developed as my friends and I chat, get to know each other. My 3HatsComm about is about networking with peers and potential clients. Nothing random about them.

Facebook is the reunion

Tisha Berg wrote something to that effect in a comment. Once the initial rush of connecting with old school chums, far flung family members, the fervor dies down. Fun to play your BFFs in some games, but after a while it’s about you: where you’ve been, posting what your kids are doing. Look at me.

When you open up Facebook to ‘Friend’ anyone – unless you put them in a List via the labyrinth of privacy settings – you run this risk of your boss seeing that nekid keg stand picture your idiot roommate from sophomore year decided to upload and tag. Beyond the embarrassing and career damaging, there’s the irrelevant… too many updates that have nothing to do with what interests me right now.

Google+ tries to Circle the ‘problem’

In creating its network Google counters the Facebook List with a Circle. The concept – other than to attract folks to its cloud and gather data to perfect search, sell ads – I think is to give me control so I can:

  1. Write any old thing I want to share with anyone.
  2. Post the ‘hey look at my EPIC World Changing blog’ link for everyone to ignore at their leisure.
  3. Maybe chat up with friends about my favorite TV shows with only those people on that page or hangout having access, other personal and professional connections being none the wiser that that’s really how I spend my time. :-) Emoticon for accessory. Or not:
  4. Share the ‘cruising vacation wackiness photos’ with the few friends I trust enough not to rebroadcast or tag it, with privacy settings that mean it’s not findable anywhere else. – HA! Believe that, I have THE real estate deal for you; there’s a big SHARE link under everything.

Different is good
someecards.com - Google Plus reminds me of my job in that I have no idea why I'm there or what I'm doing
I do this already, separate work (LinkedIn, Twitter) from play (Facebook, other Twitter).

Google+ is very nice, but I’m not using it differently. Yet. First thing I did was create a Twitter-Business-Blogging friends circle. When it’s more open to the general public (see also, everyone else I know – none of whom give a rat’s ass about being ‘social’) I’ll still have different circles.

What’s still missing?

If it’s not the networks that are broken, then it’s the way I use them? Or rather the way I think of using them. TEHO. We’ll always use these our own ways, so what I may want to filter may not matter in any way to others. I’ve already liked how I’ve used G+ for some discussion, how it’s not being programmed or gamed – yet; just curious about control, what will be searchable and shareable to others, not to mention what happens when the API opens up as it evolves.

Are you using social networks differently? Do we need ONE network to rule them all?

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An EIEIO for Social Media

What we learn as kids sticks with us, right? Look both ways. It’s good to share. Old MacDonald had a farm.

Bill Seaver, who knows from blog content, posted over on Social Media Examiner that I could learn social media from Old MacDonald, and I have to agree. His five EIEIO benchmarks for compelling content that earns attention:

Dilbert.com

  • E – Entertain.
  • I – Inspire.
  • E – Educate.
  • I – Inform.
  • O – Outrage.

Educate and inform may be a little redundant, but this is great advice for creating content. The more your Twitter, Facebook and YouTube content fit these criteria, the better it’ll be at earning attention of your community by offering real value.

I love stealing good ideas

Taking it beyond content creation, here’s my E-I-E-I-O of social media.

  • E is for Engage. Without engagement, participation from others there isn’t much point. It’s static, it’s broadcasting not social. I comment on more blogs than my own, tweet, participate in LinkedIn groups and yet, it’s not enough. There are more opportunities out there, to connect and engage with others, potential clients and colleagues, other people.
  • I as in Include. It’s a community, not a country club. Social media should not about excluding others but including different points of view, other perspectives. There are tons of great blogs and bloggers out there, so I’m grateful when a Redhead Writing crosses my path.
  • E can also Encourage. We’re part of an online community and everyone needs a little motivation, support and encouragement now and then. Share, post, comment, retweet. Take the time to find and recognize a lesser known, but no less talented bloggers. I think my twitter feed reflects that, as I’m as likely to share something by a Neicole Crepeau as a Chris Brogan.
  • I for Initiate. Don’t wait for others, start something. Ask a question, share it, start that blog or post that video. Seeing a need for a Small to Medium Business group, Jayme Soulati and others have launched SMB Collective, complete with Twitter chat and more.
  • O for Open. Open APIs, open forums, open up to others, other ideas, open to your own crazy ideas, your own creations. Open the box, see what’s inside.

For my next trick I’ll put it all together, make it work and take over my corner of the social media and PR world.

Something I missed? Share it in comments.

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