Social media is great for some things, but it's got a big flaw... and if you aren't aware of this flaw, you could make costly mistakes in your business. I've asked Jeanne Hurlbert, Ph.D., from MySurveyExpert.com to explain....
Social media, online social networking, is hot — and with good reason. Used effectively and wisely, social media can reap HUGE profits for business owners.
But those who don’t know the limitations of social media are falling into a trap that can cost them millions by making them THINK they know their markets, when they really don’t.
Let’s start with what social media does well. Social media — sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, content sharing sites like Hub Pages or Squidoo — offers powerful ways to connect with people, build trust, build a brand and drive traffic to your website and blog.
But what social media CAN’T do is tell you:
- Who your customers are
- What products and services they want
- When they’re satisfied
- When they’re NOT satisfied
Believing that you can learn those things from social media is a trap, the great quicksand-filled pit of social media.
And I watch business owners fall into it every day, when I hear them talk about how effective social media is for “getting inside their customers’ heads,” when I hear them say that they can understand their customers and their target markets effectively through conversations on their blogs, on Twitter, Facebook, or niche sites.
The simple fact is, social media just can’t do those things. And if you fall into the trap of thinking it can, you can make ill-informed decisions that can cost you money and sink your business.
Here’s why: Research shows clearly that the people you’re connecting with in networking sites or hearing from on your blog represent a tiny fraction of your customer base.
Virtually every study of online communities that’s ever been done — from early studies of Usenet newsgroups and CompuServe bulletin boards to more recent studies of Internet blogs and user participation sites — has found the same thing, over and over:
90% or more of the users are “lurkers” who don’t contribute. That means that less than 10% contribute.
And it gets worse: of that 10%, it may be as little as 1% that’s accounting for a big chunk of the content.
What does this mean for you? It means you could think you know exactly what product your customers want, based on what you pick up on your blog or on Facebook, spend months and months and potentially thousands of dollars creating that product, only to find out it was really only 2% of your customer base that wanted the product.
You could end up, then, with a product that fails miserably. How can you avoid that trap? And actually make money from it?
Link social media with surveys.
Use ideas and impressions you pick up on your blog and in social media as input for things you TEST with surveys.
A survey does what social media can’t: It shows, systematically and scientifically, what people want to know, what they need, and what they will buy.
It is also a powerful way to gather social proof for those people who've already worked with you.
Surveys help us increase the profits of social media and social media also increases the power of surveys. It's a two-way street.
The take-home message is to combine the power of social media with the power of surveys, using your impressions from social media to design surveys that will give you systematic information about who your customers are and what they want.
Want to know more? I've invited Jeanne Hurlbert to a Webinar:
Wednesday, March 17, 3 p.m. ET:
How to Use Surveys to Attract, Sell & Profit with Jeanne Hurlbert, Ph.D.
Free report just for signing up:
“How to Avoid the 10 Mistakes That Cost Marketers Millions, to Double, Triple, or even Quadruple Your Profits in 90 Days or Less”