A bit of paranoia usually sets us right.
It makes us go back and check when we haven’t locked the door; makes us call that person who fell out of the taxi to make sure they made it to bed in one piece; makes us think twice before putting our trust in the wrong people and being a pushover. It can, in some ways, make us wiser.
Also, as we progress in life, we tend to trust our own abilities slightly more than that of others, giving us more confidence and certainly aiding our own development, especially in our work life.
But what about when our trust in others is making us so paranoid that it’s stopping us from making important, maybe life changing decisions?
I have to admit that I’m a bit of a (not so) secret fan of all-American, Dr Phil-style, self-help programmes and my latest favourite motivational speaker is CJ Ortiz aka the Metal Motivator. This week, CJ has been talking about knowing what you want from your life. He describes the common problem of paranoia or an irrational fear of the unknown and how it stops us from making life decisions –something that I recognise as a common problem in the world of social media marketing too.
The fear of the unknown.
A lot of clients I deal with have minimal experience with online marketing and, as a result are extremely wary of it. Some don’t want to sign up to any social media platforms until they know exactly when and how this platform is going to turn into profit.
This is completely understandable, but the answer to this question is not so straight forward. After all, some of the most successful social media platforms didn’t know what they were doing when they started out. Their social success could be down to being an already established product (Starbucks for instance), posting likeable content, starting interactive campaigns, pushing the right posts at the right time, running competitions, handing out giveaways etc etc. The truth is, until you start and get a feel for what is it your audience responds well to, you can’t know exactly when you will see it soar and ultimately reap the benefits.
CJ made a great point in his article this week about moving your expectations from specific to general and I think this applies greatly to social media marketing. It may sound blasphemous to some, especially those who’ve been in business since “before the war” and are used to specific targets, deadlines and tight schedules, but by moving your expectations of social media from “I need to know exactly how much business it will generate before we begin” to a more general approach of “let’s see what kind of dialogue and interaction we can achieve with our followers” you will find it moving forward much quicker.
So now that we’ve decided to move our social media expectations from the specific to the general, what could still be stopping you from making that first step? Well, there are a number of reasons I hear every day and a lot of them boil down to, again, this irrational fear of what will happen as soon as they open their business up to the internet.
Here’s just a few reasons I’ve heard:
“I don’t want my business to have a social media presence – it’s doesn’t look professional”
This may depend on what type of business you are running. It doesn’t have to be all cats and Willy Wonka memes; remember that most major corporations have some form of online presence even if they use it as a platform to post their industry news headlines and nothing else.
“I don’t want a Facebook page as I have to put up a personal profile and everyone will see me”
I get this one a lot with Facebook: people who set up a Facebook page with their personal profile sometimes fear that they will somehow make their own wall-posts visible to everyone who likes their page. Not true. A few paranoid clients have not wanted to add other people as admins to their business page for fear that this other admin will be able to post as their personal profile. Again, not true. Think of a Facebook page as the shop window – you’re letting someone in to dress the window, not necessarily giving them keys to the stock room.
“I don’t want Twitter because my competitors can follow me”
This is true; yes your competitors can indeed follow you on Twitter. However, the majority of companies don’t give away trade secrets on these platforms. Even if your competitors decide to share something you have done due to it being, say, an article relevant to your industry, they are helping you share your content. However, if you really think that a competitor may be stealing your ideas, then it may be time to block anyone you think may be associated and take the necessary offline action.
“I can’t connect with my client’s profiles because my competitors will find them and undercut me”
This is a tricky one – some companies are very wary about connecting with their clients for fear that their competitors will catch on a go in to undercut them. This is a two way street though – you can follow potential clients too. And if you provide a good service, there will be no reason for your clients to jump ship with the first sneaky under-cutter anyway…
“I don’t want my company on LinkedIn because my staff will get poached”
LinkedIn is a great way to set up all your staff in one (more professional) platform and have them connect to your business page. However, a lot of MDs worry about putting their staff on a platform that allows them to list their skills and experience and display how dashingly good looking they are for fear that another company will snatch them up. I’m going to play my previous card here and say that even if this DOES happen, if you’re good to your staff and create an environment that they enjoy working in, then there should be no reason for them to take up the first offer that comes along through LinkedIn.
“Someone set me up a profile ages ago, but I don’t really know about all that…”
Listen up!! Because you guys are the absolute WORST! You’re scared of this unknown platform, so much so that thinking about picking it up sends you cold. You brush it off as a silly thing that someone thought was a good idea a couple of years ago but it never worked. It never worked because you expected too much and when it didn’t happen straight away you gave up. And now your poor logo is alongside all the other social business tombstones.
This is where you really have to jump in at the deep end because having a ghostly profile sat doing nothing is worse than having none at all.
So begin by posting one thing a week – just to get you started. You will soon get used to it and begin thinking up new and exciting ways to utilise this platform and this new found power. It won’t happen unless you go for it. Or as good old Dr Phil would put it – worry is like a rocking chair, it’s something to do, but you don’t go anywhere!!
Kirsty’s Final Thought…
It’s not a bad thing to worry – it shows that you care. But moving forward sometimes relies on us throwing a little bit of caution to the wind. So let your guard down and step into the unknown – you will find that social media platforms and the people who occupy them aren’t all keyboard warriors ready to attack.
Until next time Americ….I mean, erm Hull!