If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.”
Back in August I decided to try a little experiment; y’all know how I like to try experiments from time to time. Going into this one, I was betting I knew how it would turn out, but still had some hopes that maybe I was wrong. In the end, there were some interesting lessons to learn.
What I did was fairly simple. I decided that for the week I wasn’t going to initiate any conversations or share any information on either Facebook or Twitter, other than my normal marketing endeavors on Twitter whenever I create new content. The only caveat I had was that if someone wrote me first I would reply. But if nobody tried to contact me, I wasn’t going to post any other links, or do a retweet, or reach out to comment on something anyone said, including just saying hello. In essence, I wanted to see if anyone would miss me.
This might seem like a narcissistic endeavor, but I had an interesting premise and intention. I’ve written in the past about the aspects of social media marketing and how it gets to be difficult because once you start examining the process you realize that you might have to inundate the market with messages, depending on which social media platform you’re using, trying to get the word out and to try to reach as many people as possible. Since I figured I have a significant number of people following me that actually knew who I was, including some friends, I wanted to see if someone might wonder where I’ve been.
What happened is exactly what I was expecting, unfortunately. For the entire week I got three messages, all on Twitter and all of which I responded to. One was through private message, which means in public that for an entire week people would have only seen me respond to two people; that is, if anyone was paying attention. I did have some people retweet some of my posts, so that was something, I guess, but overall nothing.
What lessons did I learn, and what lessons can all of us basically learn from this little experiment? Let’s take a look:
1. Very few of us are important enough online to be missed by anyone. Other than active celebrities, I think there would be few people who would be missed if they stopped doing anything on social media, unless they’d recently done something controversial, for more than three days without telling people they were taking time off. So it’s not that I’m supposed to be anyone special, it’s just that there’s so much going on that it’s easy to miss when someone suddenly isn’t around.
2. Staying in the minds of people you’re trying to reach through social media means you have to be ready to dedicate either a lot of time or a lot of effort or a lot of technology to get the job done right. Strangely enough, although I’m not going to do it, I’m starting to get a better sense of why some people either use plug-ins that promote their stuff all day long, sometimes seeming like once a minute every single day, or have periods throughout the day where they’re going crazy posting all sorts of stuff on all the social media platforms. Some of us might get irritated by it, but my bet is that the overwhelming public doesn’t notice it the same way that someone like me does.
3. Even though social media marketing is one of the easiest things to do when compared to traditional marketing, and definitely more cost effective, it’s harder to establish a loyal and recurring market unless you can figure out what captures someone’s attention enough for them to miss you, share what you have to say, comment on what you have to say, and then pay for whatever you’re hoping to get people to pay for, even if it’s only to pay attention to you.
4. If you want loyalty, get a dog. 🙂 Okay, let me expand on that one. Dogs are the only creatures alive that will miss you from the day they come into your world until the day they leave this world. No other pet does that, and no person does that, no matter how much in love they tell you they’re in with you.
This doesn’t mean people don’t like you, it doesn’t mean they won’t miss you, and it doesn’t mean that some of them might not love you. What it means is that it takes work and consistency to get the world to listen to your message, to create your message, and to share your message with regularity. However, if you can figure out why there’s such a strong connection between people and dogs, and apply it to your life and your business, social media or not, you will never want for anything.
Let me add this. During the experiment, I got a lot more things completed than I normally might because I wasn’t checking Twitter or Facebook all that often. I did view and like pictures on Instagram, because it was hard to go cold turkey and I enjoy looking at images. At least now I have a better idea of what needs to be done towards my quest to become more influential, while also giving me something to think about as far as whether I’m ready to put in that much effort for the goal.
There you go; use the information as you wish.