Sunday, August 30, 2009

Don't Have Time, Can't You Do That For Us?

Imagine walking into a store. You ask the guy behind the counter a question about one of the products. He looks at you and says, "I don't have time to tell you, but here..." he opens up a door and pulls out another guy, who looks a little shell shocked. "This is Sam," the store owner says. "He'll talk with you about our products."

Is this just about the most ridiculous thing you can imagine? A store owner who doesn't have *time* to answer a customer's question? What kind of a business is he running?

He is running nearly any business in America right now.

Think about your business. Doesn't matter if you are an accountant, or selling hot dogs on the street corner, or baseball hats in a mall - you're busy, crazy busy, just trying to keep things running.

When some person looks at you and say, "You ought to get on Twitter/Have a Facebook Page/Use LinkedIn," you naturally reply, "I don't have time for that."

And when you hire someone to help you with your Social Media, you look at the strategy they provide and say, "I don't have time for that, can't you do it for us?"

Call me Sam, but, I don't know your business one tenth as well as you do.

The confusion here comes from the typical service model we have. For instance, when you contact an accountant, if he handed you a plan and said, here's the strategy, go ahead and do it yourself, you'd be pretty disinclined to pay him. Likewise, when a painter gives you an estimate.

Social Media though, like all forms of promotion, is about the relationship between you, your business, your products/services and your consumers. It may seem like the most reasonable thing in the world to have your Social Media consultant blog for you, but do you really want a complete stranger being the person between your brand and the entirety of the known world?

Yes, you can absolutely hire Sam to ghost blog for you. Or have Sam Twitter prepackaged public relations lines for you. But what happens when someone asks Sam a question? Will he really know anything about your business? And every thing he says will have already had to go through a few layers of approval before he can "officially" say it. In reality, you could say it yourself in 1/10 the time - and answer those questions right away.

Imagine this scenario.

You walk into a store and a guy with a nametag that says Sam is behind the counter. You ask a question and he looks at you blankly, says, "Uh..I have to check with the manager..." but makes no move to do so. You ask him if there is someone you can ask, and he looks around, "Maybe over in that department?" he waves at some random corner of the store.

Is this the most ridiculous thing to imagine? Hardly. We *all* recognize a typical big box store situation when we see one. Those stores are full of Sams, people hired to do one thing, with a near complete lack of engagement in anything they do.

Think about *your* business. The business you created, the business you want to grow - who is the person who knows the most, knows your message, knows your strategies best? I sincerely hope the answer is "you." :-)

But you don't have the time, you insist.

It took me 20 minutes to write this blog post (with editing.) It takes 10 seconds to send a Tweet. It takes about 30 seconds to write a Facebook or LinkedIn status update.

You probably spend more time telling your Social Media consultant that you don't have the time than it would take to actually do three Social Media tasks. You check stock prices, sports scores, new apps for your phone...you have time to check who is talking about your business and what they need to know from you. You had time to read this blog...you have time for Social Media.

You don't have time to *not* do this, your business needs you to make the time. If you don't care enough to talk to your potential customers and clients, why should anyone care to listen?

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