Greg Nathan Franchise Relations Tip #37: My Journey So Far With Social Media
This week Greg discusses his thoughts on the good and bad of social media.
My Journey So Far With Social Media
As someone who prides himself as a change agent, I have to confess to struggling a little with some aspects of social media. I say this because it is clearly one of the biggest changes to shape our society in recent times.
Don”t take this to mean I”m negative about social media; I”m not. I am probably more a little skeptical at some of the ways I”ve seen it used. So treat this tip as a reflection on my evolving journey, not as a position, and certainly not as an attempt at expert commentary.
Let”s start with the positives, and for me there have been many. For instance, I enjoy engaging in the conversations on some franchising forums I”m a member of. In one case, I posed a question on a Franchise Executive”s forum around how franchisors were demonstrating they genuinely cared about the success of their franchisees. It stimulated an avalanche of constructive and inspiring responses from all over the world.
Another positive experience was the online Field Manager Forum our team launched prior to last year”s Field Manager Summit. This facilitated some excellent ideas and interaction between participants in the lead-up to to the event. I”ve also been encouraged by the hundreds of franchising contacts around the globe who have sought to connect with me on LinkedIn. If you haven”t joined LinkedIn, I recommend you get started as it is a simple and useful entry point into the world of social media.
A few reservations
Now a few cautionary comments. Firstly, be careful when selecting a social media consultant. Just like in the gold rushes, where the people who made the real money were the sellers of shovels and other utilities, there are a growing number of social consultants keen to
sell us their templated strategies to success. While good advisers are always useful, check references and be clear on what exactly they will deliver. Warning signs would be the overuse of jargon that confuses rather than enlightens, pressure sales tactics that leave you feeling anxious about missing out on the “boom,” and promises on how their strategy will immediately drive your sales. My understanding of using social media for business development is that there is a slow burn, not a bonfire.
Also, be careful how you and your team spend time on social media. My inbox is constantly filling with notices from online groups, blogs and newsletters. Although I mainly just scan these for relevance, a few will draw me to discussion threads that I play around on until my PA sneaks up behind me and asks how I am going with my to-do list! (To be fair, this probably is more about my lack of self-discipline, however, because if you like to explore it can chew up a lot of time.)
Next there is the distraction factor. My younger team members tell me I need to get over this, but I find something rude about sitting with someone who is responding to messages from someone else, especially when they seem to be enjoying this more than your company. In a similar vein, many franchisees have shared their frustrations with me about their staff texting or updating their Facebook page when they should be attending to customers.
I also find the use of smart devices in meetings disconcerting as it suggests a lack of attention to the conversation in the room. Incidentally, if you take notes on a smart device and are in a meeting with someone who doesn”t share your familiarity with these technologies, it is probably not a bad idea to let them know what you are doing. Otherwise, they may assume you are texting or emailing rather than listening to them.
We”ll be discussing social media pros and cons are our upcoming Profitable Partnerships Boot Camps.
If you haven”t yet registered and are interested in attending, please do so and join us this year! An increase in demand by franchisors around the globe for our programs means this is going to be the last chance your team will have to work with me in this way for some time.
Hope to see you in a few weeks!
Franchise Relationships Institute
Note from Katrina: Profitable Partnerships Boot Campers discounted hotel room rates for Denver and Dallas expire on September 1, 2011.