Using social media to tell more people about a bad product won’t help your bottom line. You have to fix your product first. Below are two examples and some takeaways.
The Restaurant and Yelp
This seems obvious when you think about it like this, but this example will help reinforce the point. If a restaurant has bad or even mediocre food, customers may not come back very often if at all. The owner then thinks he needs to tell more people about his restaurant and that if he were to tell twice as many people, twice as many will come. He then asks himself, “how can I reach the most amount of people for the least amount of money?” So he turns to social media.
The problem is that when people leave reviews on Yelp about his bad tasting, over-priced, and under-portioned food, then his potential new customers will actually avoid going to his restaurant for the first time. This owner has the mindset from the old days and thinks social media works like an advertisement.
One of the many differences is that you don’t control the messaging with social media. Good marketing can’t make up for a bad product anymore. Nowadays, this owner must adjust his value offering, which in his case means improving the food quality, to change his social media messaging from his customers.
Once your product is right, you can effectively use social media and social networks to tell more people about your offering in a way that will grow your business.
The Plague of Mediocre Products
I worked at a digital agency that had a regional newspaper as one of our clients and I was in charge of many of their social media efforts. They had the plague of a mediocre product. Their product was to tell people the news.
Their articles were marginally interesting to lots of people, but not interesting or relevant enough for anyone to want to pay for them or share with their friends. In this case mediocrity can be worse than a blatantly bad product. The reason is because if it was blatantly bad, it would be easy to see that it needed to change. Mediocrity will give positive signs, but those signs may not translate into achieving your bottom line objectives. Business owners might say, “look, when we follow people on Twitter, they follow us back and we have a large number of followers now.” Now what? Do those followers pay your bills?
Who Follows You?
Often times I ask my clients, “do you know who your followers are? Do you know what they care about? Do they engage with you in an authentic way online?”
If you have 30,000 followers on Twitter and you send out a tweet, how many of them read it? How many take some meaningful action that benefits your company?
If you have been delivering a relevant, valuable product and built an active community where you have real relationships with your customers, then you have accomplished something that is case study worthy. However, if half your followers aren’t potential customers or members of your niche and a quarter of them are automated bots, your 30,000 followers aren’t as nearly as valuable.
If you deliver a good product to a group of people, then they will spread awareness of your product to their networks of friends also in that niche. Then those people will begin to follow you and then you’ll begin to access their networks. The key component to all of that is a good, relevant product that actually solves customers’ problems. Businesses that build their social communities in this way will benefit tremendously.
Listen to me speak on 7 Social Media Trends on November 27th in San Diego.