I love Blair Enns’ article detailing “10 social media sins” he’s guilty of.
I especially love sin #3, which makes a great case for avoiding useless conversations, especially those that tend to arise on social media:
“I like that life, work, learning is now one big conversation, but sometimes I don’t want to converse. I value perspectives that make me think and force me to re-examine my own perspective, but I’ve noticed that the bigger a conversation gets, the dumber it becomes. I love that Seth Godin does not allow comments on his blog. I also love how pissed off people get that he’s not following the rules. You go, Seth! Sometimes the conversation is helpful, but sometimes it just pulls you into the muck. This flies in the face of the open source/social media movement, but I’m certain that conversation has it’s place, and it’s place is not everywhere and all the time. Some ideas are spawned by communities banding together to solve problems, and sometimes you get an idea that you’re absolutely certain is right, even when everyone is telling you you’re wrong. I, for one, think you should ignore the masses and run with the idea. So what if you fail? Action yields information; inaction does not. The next version of my site will allow comments by the general public (the current one does not) but I’m planning to disable the comments feature from time to time. Maybe most of the time. Will this reduce readership? I’m willing to pay that price to not be drawn into conversations I don’t want to have.”
This sentiment relates to a previous article I wrote called “A Case for Closing All Comments: Why Life is Too Precious to Read Blog, Video, and Article Comments.”
It can be very tempting to open up a line of communication between your company and the general public — AKA anyone with a pulse and an internet connection.
Typical public relations and/or marketing wisdom says it’s smart for companies to pay attention to and listen to the feedback they get from whoever — past customers, current customers, critics, total strangers, and even their dogs.
Some experts even advise changing your behaviors and/or your offerings in response to this virtual smorgasbord of feedback.
I’m more inclined to err on the side of “Most feedback is useless.”
A conversation in which one party is giving useless feedback to the other party…is not really a conversation. It’s a waste of time. It’s an act of creating a mini “dumping ground” where thoughts that lead to no fruitful actions gather.
That said, there ARE some instances where a conversation is worth having. In those cases, you not only want to listen to the feedback, you want to dive deeper into it like an investigative journalist uncovering a once-in-a-lifetime breakthrough story.
The 3 Most Important Conversations an Organic Business Should Have:
1. Listen to the feedback of satisfied customers sharing how your product(s) positively impacted their lives.
This is one conversation you definitely want to want be involved in — and go deeply into. Ask the customer a series of questions to understand exactly how, why, when, where, and with whom their success story occurred.
This is one of the most useful, high value, value-creating conversations you can possibly have.
Once you have all the details and have acquired the customer’s permission, shape their answers into a Customer Spotlight, publish it to your email list, and use it as an enlightened marketing piece.
(Note: For customers who were NOT satisfied with your product for whatever reason, you literally want hit the ‘delete’ button on those messages. No amount of exchanging dialogue with them will ever lead to success. The simple fact that they voiced their negative opinion to you in the first place indicates they’re the kind of people who don’t take complete responsibility for their lives. And they believe complaining is the answer. You don’t want to get caught in a trap of conversing with those kinds of people. It’s a dead end of blaming, complaining, drama-making, and delusion. Hit delete!)
2. Listen to the feedback of marketing campaigns that produced favorable results.
This is mostly an internal conversation between yourself and your mind — where you’re keeping the focus entirely on successful campaigns that worked well. And you’re asking questions about why they work.
This can also be a conversation you have with a marketing consultant (such as myself). Someone who can assess the effectiveness of your campaigns and amplify those pieces that are working best is someone you’d benefit from conversing with.
This type of conversation pays maximum attention to what’s working well, and goes deep into exploring WHY it works. It’s about zeroing in your thoughts around the elements of success.
[Note: You guessed it. For marketing campaigns that DIDN’T work…literally delete those. Don’t bother investigating why they didn’t work or what was wrong with them, or how to “fix” them. It’s a dead-end conversation.]
3. Have conversations with other business owners who are on the right path, like you.
Who’s on the right path and who isn’t?
Those who are following the laws of the universe tend to be on the right path. (That’s a whole other topic we could discuss another day…but basically “Those who are adding more life, health, wealth, peace, and prosperity to all beings” are on the right track.)
This is where you can get creative and interview other businesses about what they’re doing, why, why it’s working well, and what the outcomes have been.
Having a conversation like this, and then sharing it with your email subscribers, is an act of creating more good in the world.
(Hint: Written interviews make for fantastic, unique marketing content!)
Plus, the act of conversing with other business owners who are on the right track floods your brain with positive feelings and re-confirms to you that good is a force that’s winning in this world.)
How inspiring is that?
P.S. Interested in doing spotlights, interviews, or figuring out which of your marketing campaigns are working best? Get started here.