Social media and genuine engagement

A social media Like isn’t a love. It’s not even a dislike.

I’ve been thinking how much social media has evolved in its short life.

A like on Facebook for business has no value whatsoever. It doesn’t show any level of engagement, it just shows that people want to be seen liking your business as they believe it will make them look good to their own peer group, or they want to enter one of your competitions and this is your entry requirement. So, for example, if you run Vegetarian cooking classes for experts. Some of your followers will want to show how advanced their vegetarian cooking skills are and a ‘like’ positions them as this to their own audience.

In the same way none of us ever need to give to charity any more, we just need to share the tweets and articles of others who write about what they are doing for charity. The most cynical gain all of the charitable halo, without any of the hard work. It gives them the ability to show their peers how benevolent they are and never need to reach into their pockets.

So this is a the REAL battle for business. A like isn’t a friend. it’s an alignment. There must be a way of extracting value from this, but as a stand alone like, a favourite or even a share, it’s still only an indication of a position and not any form of buying signal.

I am convinced that today’s socially savvy have enough ‘friends‘. Whether they know them all or not is a different matter. So, as brand owners, we need to slowly allow them to get to know us and offer them the same courtesy in return. Don’t stick your social media tongue down their throat on a first encounter, but rather allow the relationship to grow and flourish and you’ll have a chance of becoming social lovers.

Try it, see what happens, but feel free to share this with your own audience and i’ll see how wise you really are.

How to ride a Giraffe – By John Timpson – Mini review

How to Ride a Giraffe - By John Timpson

I was given the book ‘How to ride a Giraffe – By John Timpson’ by the people from the rather excellent Real Business magazine and so thought it would be well worth a read, but I have to say that some of the first chapters really bored me – the history was fascinating but it was all a bit self congratuatory. But then it got to Chapter seven ‘Only great people need apply’.

In this chapter, rather than looking back at what a clever bloke he is, John Timpson opens up about the recruitment of Timpson’s staff. His conclusion is that if they had only tried to recruit cobblers, they would have had a choice of 30,000 people or so, but by aiming to recruit people with the right attitude, they had a far wider choice and they could easily teach them to mend shoes, given a year or so of training.

This is something that is very easy to overlook – particularly when times are tough. We are in danger of reverting to type and taking on people who are a safe pair of hands and can be dropped in to do a safe job for the business. But this can only ever put you in a holding pattern. Safe people will only ever maintain or slightly decline your business. Stars make it grow.

If you look at how US basketball teams recruit, they look for giant kids. This is their version of buying the hardware. They know that again, they can teach some (or maybe even many) of them to play basketball – ie, adding the software. You can’t teach a kid to be a giant, just as you can’t teach an experienced cobbler to be a happy person with a customer service attitude, so buy the hardware and add the software with good training and mentoring.

I’m reserving judgement as to whether the whole book is worth reading, but so far, this chapter alone makes it well worth the effort.