Last week, I was speaking to a group of people in Ottawa about “Building your brand in the digital age”. It wasn’t a keynote on social media (Mitch Joel and Gary Vaynerchuk already do that splendidly) but I certainly covered the implications that social media can have on one’s personal brand.
One of the participants asked about the speed of social media and Dave Hale, President and Founder of Soshal Group, told a quick tale about looking for office space. He tweeted a real estate agent, gave him 15 minutes to respond and seeing none, Dave tweeted another agent, got an immediate reply and signed a lease later that day.
Some of the group were borderline appalled and thought it was unprofessional to only give someone 15 minutes to respond. “What if he was with another client?” they asked. “It would have been unprofessional for the agent to focus his attention on Twitter opposed to the person who sat in front of him.”
Well, they certainly weren’t wrong. But it does bring up an interesting point.
Clearly, some of us are “all in” on social media. Speakers (myself included) can make it seem like those who aren’t dialed into Twitter 24/7 face imminent career death. Worse, we look down on them like they were carriers of an analog epidemic that combines mad cow disease with the bodily sounds of a Speak-n-Spell transmitted by the Pony Express.
Here’s the thing:
People want to do business with brands that share their values.
And there are a hell of a lot of people who simply don’t value the type of interactions that the rest of us do. They actually want to do business the old-fashioned way and will spend their dollars with those who act accordingly. There’s an actual market of technophobes and I’d be willing to bet that in some categories, it’s pretty damn big.
It’s just that it’s getting smaller. Quickly.
Striking fear and panic into the hearts of people is wrong and it’s probably what creates the mad rush of people jumping into something that they don’t really understand. Next thing you know, we’re clicking “Like” buttons for no apparent reason and desperately asking people to follow us even though we have no idea what it means when they do.
Speakers: Stop screaming “the end is nigh!” and we’ll have more time to do it right.
Listeners: Look at the numbers, believe the trends, and pursue a course of action that’s good for your business, good for your career, and consistent with your values.
Your customers today and tomorrow will appreciate it.