Since the onset of the digital revolution and the rise of social media we are bombarded by requests to ‘like us’ and ‘follow us’ as well as many others too numerous to name.
To all of these people and organisations I have a request of my own; “Stop asking and start earning!”
This is particularly relevant to those in leadership and management roles as it sends all the wrong messages to staff. It devalues the work ethic as it provides a form of reward for very little or NO work in return. A classic example is a restaurant that automatically adds a service charge rather than making the gratuity discretional. Where is the incentive to provide good service?
I am certainly not against asking for referrals or recommendations in business but only if you have earned the right to ask in the first place.
The other practice that I hate to see is the ‘mutual swap’ of recommendations between people or organisations that have done little more than agree to do it. I see requests for these all the time and it makes my blood boil. Since LinkedIn has introduced the ‘endorsement’ feature I get people that have met me once (briefly – at a conference for example), endorse me for skills they have never even witnessed. To be fair I blame LinkedIn for this as they are the ones encouraging the practice.
My blood pressure is brought back down to normal when I remember an old saying which goes; “You don’t enjoy what you haven’t earned”.
To earn your ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ put out usable content that your existing and potential customers will value. Be the voice of reason in your industry and seek to drive up professional standards. Interact with your customers and solve their issues in a way that highlights your commitment to customer service.
I think that many people and businesses have actually forgotten the real purpose of social media for business. The aim is not to have the most ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ but to generate the most revenue from your marketing budget. Many people are like me and when we see a blatant and unearned request we look elsewhere. I avoid restaurants that have service charges automatically included (I ask before I book). When I do get good service from any business I both reward it and I tell others, when I receive bad service I tell everyone (via Twitter usually)!
Marketers may argue the number of likes/follows directly correlates to the value of business created but I disagree. That’s just the view of ‘lazy marketers’, not professionals.
Let me know your thoughts. The buttons above and below will allow you to comment & share this blog but only if I have earned it!
Head of Training
Originally published: 16 October, 2013
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