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On Monday, I wrote about clearing the decks as a great start to 2013.

In response, Todd Bonner of MEP Engineering commented:

“Believe it or not, Larry, I have been thinking a great deal about this subject over the past couple of months. Bound up in this discussion is the proverbial “shiny new thing” syndrome that dissipates focus and leaves most initiatives incomplete. I deal with this on a daily basis on personal and business fronts. It seems that creativity and easy distraction do go hand in hand, unfortunately.”

Funny thing happened on the way to developing this post based on Todd’s comment.

When I reread my Monday post, I found myself somewhat puzzled by my own words: “…when one of my new initiatives crashed sooner than expected.” I was at a momentary loss trying to remember what initiative had crashed. This was surprising because I have been blessed with a very good memory.

It was only when I consciously worked through what I did on the weekend that I was able to remember what had crashed. Oh yeah…that idea. It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing based on an item that flashed past my eyes on the computer screen.

How important was the idea if I had forgotten about it three days after an incidental mention it? Obviously not a critical element of either my business or marketing planning.

This in turn raises the question of how relevant is the proverbial “shiny new thing” to your ultimate marketing or business success? Obviously some new things help us become healthier, wealthier and/or wiser. But my sense is that most new things are little more than energy-draining distractions.

Which leads to the second part of Todd’s comment:

“My takeaways from the article?

“(1) Follow your lead and focus in on two highest-yield social platforms for B2B while ignoring the 100 other possible platforms, and

“(2) put all remaining effort into developing consistent, authentic and valuable MEP Engineering related blog content to engage potential clients. If that’s all we “get done” in 2013, I believe we will be in good shape.”

Assuming by social platforms, Todd means social media applications such as LinkedIn and Facebook, I couldn’t agree more with his takeaway (1).

For all businesses, including service professionals, social media marketing supplements traditional marketing such as networking, referrals and keeping in touch. Messing around on more than two social media applications will drain a lot of time and energy with virtually no payback.

As for takeaway (2), Todd has nailed the keys to effective blogging: consistent, authentic and valuable.

Ensuring that our blogs meet these three criteria will help ensure that we will be in good shape for 2013.

Thanks Todd…good comment.

Even though there are some generally accepted principles for starting and maintaining offline conversations with others, there are no standard requirements that everyone must follow.

In practice, this means that to interact effectively in person, we apply the generally accepted rules of good conversation, including correct grammar and pronunciation. As individuals, we customize these generally accepted principles.

The principles of good conversation, together with the rules of grammar and pronunciation form the framework for our interactions. Guided by these principles and rules, we enter into conversation with others, exchanging information and ideas, but doing it in our own personal style.

These are the kinds of user-friendly marketing conversations that take place in personal networking situations.

Not surprisingly, we follow much the same process when using social media to interact effectively online.

The most obvious difference is that instead of interacting in person or by telephone, we are communicating through the Internet.

Sure there are technical considerations to manage. But these technical issues are more obstacles in our minds than they are in actual fact. And besides, whatever problems we may encounter with social media, there is no virtually no limit to free and easily accessible online help.

Realistically, if you can carry on a worthwhile conversation by e-mail, you can do the same thing using social media.

Of course, with more experience and resources to devote to social media marketing, you can expect better results. But it all starts with online conversations, just like those conversations you have with friends and family using e-mail.

A forum to discuss and share the best practices for marketing professional services.

Not only is that the description for my new LinkedIn group,  it’s my vision for what I want it to be.

This group is one of two marketing initiatives that I launched last Friday (May 18, 2012).

The other initiative is 8 Simple Steps to Successful Social Media Marketing, a Facebook page.

Similar in nature, these initiatives had dramatically different outcomes.

1. LinkedIn Group

As I said earlier, my intention for this group is to create a forum to discuss and share the best practices for marketing professional services.

To grow this group, I invited all of my 514 LinkedIn connections to join the group. To this point, just over 20% of these people have accepted my invitation. There are now 105 members.

If you are interested, feel free to join the group. Happy to welcome interested new members.

2. Facebook Group

My intention for the Facebook group was to create a forum to discuss social media marketing, loosely based on the contents of my free e-book, 8 Simple Steps to Successful Social Media Marketing.

To grow this page, I invited my 624 Facebook friends to check out this page. Two friends liked the page. (I have unfriended one of these people. Her ‘like’ was accompanied with a demand that I like her page in return. Not only did I not like … in the true sense of the word…either her demand or the page itself, her business has absolutely no relevance to mine, or vice versa.)

Now here is a question for you: Why would two similar groups have such dramatically different outcomes?

I once had a lawyer friend who used to say that he loved practising law…it was clients that he didn’t like.

Certainly as a practising lawyer, I had my share of clients I didn’t like. After a particularly frustrating experience with one particular client, I decided that I did not want to deal with anyone like her…ever again!

This led to the insight of how to balance individuals’ right to counsel with my own right to peace of mind.

Agreeing that everyone had a right to have a lawyer, I added the disclaimer that the lawyer didn’t have to be me.

I started to decline accepting as clients people I didn’t think I’d like.

Having spent the past couple of weeks immersed in social media posts, I am reminded of my lawyer friend’s comments… and my own experience …of not liking clients.

Engaging Relationships

Social media applications like Facebook and LinkedIn offer businesses the opportunity to connect directly with potential clients.

In effect, this means we can use our social media resources to listen to what prospective clients are saying and engage them in conversations. By engaging prospective clients in conversation, we develop relationships that can ultimately lead to these people becoming revenue-producing clients.

Remember …if people like us, they might do business with us; if they don’t, they won’t.

If ever there was an excellent vehicle for showcasing our likeability…its social media.

The True Value of Social Media

Unfortunately, too many businesses miss the true value of social media marketing.

Instead of making mutually beneficial connections, these businesses use social media marketing to continue the same old annoying…and largely ineffective…promotional techniques.

They promote how good they and their services are …or at least think they are.

Frequently, they shout the same thing…over …and over..and over again.

Ignoring the needs, wants and interests of perspective clients, their posts are little more than self-serving promotional pitches.

Regardless of the actual words used, the message is the same: I don’t care about you. I only care about you buying from me.

Actions speak louder than words. Many social media posts send the message that the posting businesses neither understand nor particularly like their prospective clients.

If People Like Us…

Certainly these businesses have the right to post whatever messages they choose, provided of course that their posts comply with terms and conditions of whatever social media they use.

However, as consumers we all have the right to ignore posts…and the businesses … we don’t like.

The moral of this post?

If people like us, they might do business with us; if they don’t, they won’t.