The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.
This quote, frequently misattributed to Groucho Marx and Gerorge Burns, is actually from French dramatist Jen Giraudoux in his 1933 book The Enchanted.
Why mention it? Because it is what comes to mind whenever I see the latest imported trans-Atlantic abomination which is doing its best to ruin our beautiful English language. Hot on the heels of the word “awesome”, used to describe anything fractionally above average, “reaching out” is infecting every piece of marketing material, every Facebook page, every website with its awful ubiquitous blandness.
To reach out to someone should evoke an image of personal contact, of warmth or empathy; even, dare I say it, sincerity. Not any more. Now it’s a synonym for email or phone call. How many times do you read “we reached out to Company X”. No they didn’t! They emailed them or left a message on some awful automated phone answering service, they did not make personal, human contact.
So for everyone who sends me an email or written material that starts off “I just wanted to reach out to you to tell you about this wonderful offer….” be aware that I know it means “I want to sell you some crap”, and rest assured that your materials go straight in the rubbish bin.
I was recently at an event listening to experienced business people talk about social media and how they use it to engage with customers. My ears pricked up when one businessman said that he couldn’t see the point of social media because he had already spent thousands of pounds on SEO (search engine optimisation), and that social media is “just another form of advertising”
That’s not an uncommon reaction, and it means that people who think that way haven’t yet understood that, regardless of the platforms you use – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever – social media is not a broadcast mechanism, it is a conversational one.
Think back to people you regard as great conversationalists, whether that’s on TV or down the pub. The secret they all share is that first and foremost they are good listeners. When the local bore is always talking about themselves what do you do? Mentally, you tune out.
The same rules apply to your social media usage. If you listen you will find out:
• What your customers want
• What your competitors are saying
• What their customers are saying about them
Why wouldn’t you want to know that?
If you manage a business and are not already taking the first steps to start meaningful conversations with your customers on the various social media platforms, call us on 07768 264274 for an informal chat. What have you got to lose?
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net