I had some great conversations this morning at the Nashville Geek Breakfast. Several of the topics touched upon some things that I have been thinking about – a lot – lately.
The topic nearest and dearest to my heart lately is “meeting your audience where they are.” What do I mean by that?
Well, all of us have this little voice in our head, our “internal dialog.” This internal dialog is what gives us our self image, regurgitates our experiences and provides us with our world view, or at minimum, how we perceive the world. It also provides our moral compass, gives us a sense of reaction to social stimuli, and either promotes the goals we wish to achieve – or keeps us from maximizing our potential. It is quite literally the little angel on the left shoulder and the little devil on the right shoulder (or vice versa, use your own societal norm) guiding your actions.
A consequence of our internal dialog is that we tend to project our wants and desires onto others, because if something is important to me, it must be important to everyone else.
Some people have an amazing sense of what others want, and can plug in and provide those wants with the right service, the right advice, the right products – seemingly without effort or thought. Others simply listen to their own voices and negate or worse – disregard – the wants and needs of those people they nominally wish to serve or sell to, at their own peril.
I guess what I am ham-handedly trying to say is that when we enter into encounters with people – be it in real life networking events or when interacting on a social tool like Twitter or Pownce or Facebook or LinkedIn – we need to be cognizant that our goals and objectives stand a 99.9% chance of being at odds with those with whom we are conversing. We only obtain real value when we make that connection with those people who share our common (or at least, tangential) interests and desire same similar outcomes.
This is always the answer to the $64,000 question of business – finding buyers / adopters / customers for my product / good / service / pitch. Making the connecting. Closing the sale. Chuh-Ching.
What this may mean is that you cannot always choose the time and place where these connections are made. Some marketplaces are more profitable than others, some tools may be more productive than others, some tools and software may be more successful / friendlier to use than others – but if the people to which you hope to connect are not there, then whatever you are doing is ultimately an exercise in futility.
Because you will find yourself to be an audience of few – or worse – of one.
Does your audience understand RSS and Blogging? If not, then having a corporate blog may not be a good growth strategy. Does your customer block Facebook through their corporate firewall? Then Facebook Apps might not be a good way to extend their brand into the Social Networking Scene.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the low hanging fruit is grabbed first because it is the easiest thing to do. There are a million Social Media Strategists out here in the Wild because nobody knows what in the hell THAT means, it sounds good, and fits nicely onto a Moo card.
The real challenge is learning how to find our audience and make contact in a meaningful way (e.g., I can do something that provides value, they will pay me for the privilege, they will sing my praises and recommend me to their friends and family and associates, they will name their hamsters after me and my children).
First, we have to meet them where they are, and not where it is the easiest place for us to be.