Trying to keep up with the social media platforms' algorithm changes is as beneficial as a dog chasing its tail. Most of the major social media players use the same formula. They lure a mass of new users, grant organic growth to the earliest adopters, then when advertisers come knocking the algorithm is changed. Think about Facebook pages for example. In the early days of their launch, Facebook pages gave decent organic reach. All you had to do was get as many page followers and whatever you post would reach most of the people who like your page. But today, you could have a million page followers and still have to pay to reach them. This is why we always recommend using your social media to funnel customers to your own platform (Website/contact database). This allows you to stay in control rather than be affected when the platform adjusts their algorithms.
I'm certain that I'm not the only one experiencing this. The moment I see an Inmail that starts with "Hi, thanx for the connection... I offer...", my brain just tunes off immediately. I get it, LinkedIn is a social networking platform for professionals but damn, professionals doesn't mean robots. It's no coincidence that the LinkedIn team called it a "Connection". You're supposed to build that personal connection first not just go straight for the sales pitch. It's like asking someone to marry you before even going on a date. This must be how it feels to be a lady. I get it now. I can imagine how my LinkedIn Inmails feel similar to dudes just sliding in the dm's, proposing and promising dreams of a happily-ever-after but they don't even know what you're all about.
Perspective is vital to any brands' story. When former US president Obama ran for office, he used popular hip hop artists to reinforce his message to young voters. His slogan, "Yes We Can!", resonated with the masses and gave the followers a position of power, making the fans the heroes of the story. On the other hand, when Jay Z launched Tidal a few years later, he used a similar approach. He too rallied up some famous artists to reinforce his message. His selling point for the campaign was that as the first artist-owned streaming service the artist would be paid more. This made the artist the hero of the story and not the users. This is why he got great support from artists but failed to gain the right traction when it came to subscriptions to the platform. Apple Music and Spotify dominate the space because their message is always about the user and not the artist. A great brand story is about the consumer and not the company itself.
Being able to touch and feel a product before making a purchase is an integral part of the shopping experience. Even though e-commerce is a massive business, it only accounts for 10% of sales made in the world. This is why even giants like Amazon revert to creating brick and mortar stores. There are certain products that you just can't purchase without smelling, tasting, fitting or even testing. Merely putting a product description and a few pictures from different angles just aren't enough at times. Of course, e-commerce is definitely growing at a faster rate than physical retail stores, however, it's far from overtaking physical retail. This doesn't mean that physical retailers can be complacent, but the days of a retail apocalypse by e-commerce are still far.
There seems to be a minimum requirement as to which level of staff get to enjoy the so-called "great" company culture. Think about all the supermarkets and retail stores in the country, from Pick n Pay, Shoprite or Checkers, you name it. Have you ever passed by during lunchtime? All you see is cashiers and deli staff eating their lunch while sitting on crates, pavements, rocks or taking naps under trees. How a company treats its most junior staff says a lot about their actual culture. It doesn't help to have memorandums about how you have a transparent and enabling company culture sitting in a glass-walled office yet you don't even grant your staff the dignity to eat lunch on an actual bench. It's demeaning to see a 45-year-old mother sitting on the floor with a flask for her tea and a sandwich while on the other side, supervisors and senior staff enjoy their cosy staff room with a coffee machine in it. Yet we expect the cashiers to serve us with a smile. Where's the culture in that?
Not every idea has to be revolutionary. Can you imagine a time when a trolley was revolutionary for the shopping experience? In fact, when having organized aisles in the supermarket was revolutionary. To take it a step further back, when the concept of a supermarket itself was revolutionary. Sometimes the revolution lies in the evolution. Meaning you could just find an easier or more effective way of doing something that already exists and carve out a whole new space for your business. Whoever invented TV was revolutionary. Whoever invented movies were revolutionary too. However, Netflix consolidated these revolutionary ideas and carved a new way of how they are consumed and formed an evolutionary business.
Could you imagine buying a vacant plot and using it as your company address? It will definitely look professional on paper because customers will assume your company has an actual location. Until the day they decide to pay you a visit. This is exactly how I look at this new trend of new companies using email hosting. In theory, it does make you seem a little professional when your mail comes from a custom address like MYCOMPANYNAME.CO.ZA. However, what happens when your potential client decides to visit your site to get more info about you. Just like finding an empty plot, landing on an empty splash page created by your hosting company is just as shady. It's 2020! Being professional in your conduct beats just looking professional on paper. Nobody cares whether you're working from home or whether you use a Gmail account. It's your work ethic that counts.
You can't consistently workout your upper body and not do leg day, similarly, you can't give 100% to your job and pay little to no attention to your side hustle. Otherwise, things start to look awkward right? There are a number of reasons why people start side hustles. Some as a hobby or passion and others for that extra income. Whatever the reason, clearly you would like your hustle to be a success. This is why you need to pump just as much muscle in your side hustle. Side hustles are like the gym. At the beginning of every year, people make a commitment to workout but by march, they have already decided whether or not this is going to work out.
I know this seems like a very simple concept. However, it's something that many entrepreneurs get wrong. Just because a lot of people "want" your product/service doesn't necessarily mean there is a demand for it. A demand only exists when those potentials who "want" your product actually have the means and access to purchase it. For example, just because a lot of people "want" BMW's doesn't necessarily mean there is a high demand for them. The fact that people want it is a great point of departure but the viability of the business will depend on whether there is an actual demand for it. It's not only a question of affordability. Access is also a key factor. You could have an affordable product that's hard to find. It's a delicate balance.
Using social media for business is like dating. Grabbing potential customers' attention is similar to getting to know a potential date. You can either take the time to get to know who they truly are, what they want and what they like. Alternatively, you could just flash your cash to get their attention. In short, you can either pay attention or pay for attention. Have you ever seen ads on Facebook and Instagram that have over 10 000 likes and only 12 comments? These are a clear example of attention that is paid for. In contrast, if you see a viral post that has made its way around organically, it will generally have a higher like vs comments ratio indicating the level of true engagement. When formulating your social media strategy, it is key to go for an outside-in approach. Date your customers. Get to know them. This could save you a couple of bucks.