Want to tell you about an experiment I ran on LinkedIn these last two weeks. I think you’ll find it fascinating — even if you play on other social media sites.
I have devoted the better part of two hours, five days a week, to posting and engaging on LinkedIn for the last eleven months. Let’s say that works out to about 15 hours a week. Some might think this is excessive; I view those hours as a critical link in my three-pronged marketing strategy.
Remember, the regular in-person events, conferences, and engagements were cancelled. And building trust and credibility (in the real world) is just as much – ‘oh, you’re here again’ — as it is — ‘what can you do to help me?’ I decided to get serious and jump in.
After nearly a year of writing about business and bothers and moods and money, I can predict what almost everyone will say, how they will react and what impression they will leave.
I was curious to see how the same business people reacted to an entirely different topic. One that was not business, personal, religious, political, and not controversial.
I chose Music
I invited everyone to treat my posts like a water cooler. To pop in and out for a brief respite. And leave their comments and links as appropriate so that their tastes can be explored for weeks after. One entire week. All I wrote about and talked about was Music.
Surprisingly, the same business types responded exactly the same way to Music. Even though I drew in more people with music, the reactions and statistical data were identical! You can find all the nitty-gritty details on LinkedIn.
Here are the main takeaways:
- The silent majority is a vast pool of observers and lurkers. 1% of the population does the talking, and too often, it is loud, inaccurate, and banal. This means we must all be cautious about thinking we belong to or speak for the majority. We don’t, and we speak for ourselves. Accordingly, it is very unwise to put any stock in the collective musings of a few.
- We all know our collective listening skills have dramatically deteriorated. Unfortunately, so too have our reading and writing skills. Not only do we not listen, but we also do not read. Probably the worst result of this is it gives the watching majority the apparent impression we are unable to read, form coherent thoughts and answer straightforward questions. Armed with that impression, how can anyone trust us to help them with a severe business problem?
- Too many people are afraid of leading with their point of view. It is safer to quote other people, experts and other articles. One’s street cred is dramatically damaged when one cannot give a point of view supported by experience and data. This means ruination to reputation.
- There is heavy reliance on bolstering a very thinly concocted argument with links to other sources (news pieces, videos, podcasts, and even the nefarious sites) because people don’t want to take the extra time to stand in their power. This wastes the screen time of the viewer and repels, not attracts raving fans.
I am sharing this with you for two reasons.
1. Building trust online is EXACTLY the same as building trust in the real world. It takes time, consistency, and good manners. And unfortunately, it is far too easy to make a slip-up and never know it is lost forever.
2. There are good ways to use social media to develop your reputation. And just like the real world, you want to make and give a solid commitment before you blow it off for good.
Here’s the thing
We both know that sometimes an opportunity looks so good that it seems irresistible, especially when others are doing so well and have hit the mother lode! However, there is a mercurial quality to all social media. We are wise to pay no attention to those who chase after fool’s gold.
Rest assured that you will experience your own shining moment when you stick to what you know.