Small Business Tips

Using Social Media In Your Business (A Business Coach Tries To Make Sense Of It)

The Small Fish Social Media MeshIt’s OK, I know I’m a business coach and not a social media expert but we’ve been learning a little lately and I thought you might find it interesting. I’ll defer to the experts and I acknowledge the input of a few experts in this field. Mark Barrett from CI Marketing (our Internet marketing adviser and website custodian), Natalie Alaimo, coaching client of Melanie Miller and Social Media specialist, Seth Godin (who I’ve never met but who writes and speaks with considerable authority), that guy who wrote “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and Michael Stovin-Bradford of Tactical Resources.

No-one knows all the answers, everything is changing so quickly that there are no answers in the way we used to think of them – that there’s a right way to do things that will give you guaranteed results. There’s not and it’s likely that that old certainty is gone forever, at least where the Internet is concerned.


This article tries to share what we’re doing when it comes to social media and how it meshes with our online strategies. I’ve been thinking about why people use social media (it’s not because they want to hear how good you are or why they should buy your stuff); the social (media) contract; relationships and the mesh (thanks
Lisa Gansky).

The Social (Media) Contract


Why do we use social media and the Internet (I’ve lumped them together here). As I said, it’s not so that we can be advertised to, we use it when we want to find things out or when we want to find out about things (including where we can buy them and how much they cost; we use it to be entertained, interested, informed – in a sort of lazy, passive way.


I’m not sure where this assertion came from but it rings true – we use the web (Google mostly) to look for things. We expect to find them quickly and, if we don’t, we’re back to the search results looking for a more useful site before you can say “click here to find out more”.


We use social media like
Facebook and Google+ (watch for this one – it promises to be huge) to be mindlessly entertained, to see what our friends ate for lunch and to see what they’ve shared – because we’ll probably be interested in some of the stuff they’re interested in.

I know from my own habits that overt sales messages or someone talking about themselves too much gets boring. I’ll read posts or articles or click through tweets or subscribe for emails if I think they’ll be interesting.


And our tolerance is low, too. I only read about 10% of the regular emails that come my way (and I know that only about 20% of the people who receive our Fish Tales open it to read it). We scan the heading and make a very quick decision about whether we read on or not – there’s so much stuff out there, we’re not interested in checking to make sure we don’t miss something interesting. If it’s really god, someone will share it again, anyway.


So, the social media contract – be interesting, useful, entertaining. Reveal something of yourself, share what you’ve learnt recently, pass on interesting and useful titbits (but not too many, that’s boring, too). It’s ephemeral – what you share or write is soon lost.
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