Social Media - Is Anybody Listening?

Thursday 30th April 2015 - Posted in Business
By Phil Cockayne, President at JCI

Dear Social Media Customer Service,

I’m currently utilising several social media platforms to try and engage with my customers, reach new customers and build an active following.

Sadly, I’m not having the results that I expected.

What can you do to solve this problem?


95% of Businesses


Obviously ‘Social Media’ doesn’t have a customer service team. If all of them did I’m sure this issue would come up in conversation.

Social Media is a tough nut to crack. That’s why Social Media Managers/Consultants exist. With the rise of Social Media platforms (thinking mainly around Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc.), businesses are rushing to these platforms with the hope of seeing the above results. After making posts, building a modest following and rarely achieving any leads – business owners, particularly in SME’s decide that they’re not seeing enough ‘value’ out of Social Media therefore either stop doing it or pay someone else to do it.

Here’s the thing – stopping participating is your way of getting left behind (remember businesses who refused to get websites in the 90’s) and hiring or outsourcing can be costly (and doesn’t always guarantee a good job).

I guess you’re wondering why the provocative title. It’s how I expect most business owners and Marketing Managers feel about Social Media. Am I reaching my customers? Why am I not seeing any engagement? How come we haven’t had any leads?

The truth is, for 95% of businesses – the answer is probably ‘no’. Nobody’s listening. Not to mention, if they are listening, they’re probably just ‘consuming’.

As a user who is active on various Social Media platforms – this is frustrating. To be honest, I would like to be engaged with by companies. I would like companies to retweet me, like my links, start conversations with me. Every post I make is a snapshot into things that I think are important. It’s okay to reach out and engage with me on these things. One of my biggest pet-peeves is firms where, when I engage with them (post a picture of their product, give a positive review, mention them), they don’t engage back! In order to engage with you on Social Media, I have to really believe in your product, service or brand in order to interact.

The bottom line is that this stuff is easy. Like with anything, it takes work. But people are making it work. That’s the point to remember here. So before you either stop using Social Media or bring someone in/outsource; try these things:

Engage – Social Media platforms are not just Marketing channels. They’re lead generation, customer relationships, information sharing outlets designed to allow you to engage directly. So do – try following people in your industry/potential customers and retweet them/like their links, engage in their debates.

Personify – believe it or not, behind 90% of Twitter profiles, Facebook pages and LinkedIn pages there is a person posting. You’re a person! Not a corporate intercom! Act like a person. Try not to be so robotronic. Nothing puts people off more than a brand that looks unengaging.

Expand – interestingly enough, most of your employees will be in Social Media. Who needs a Social Media Manager when you have employees? They’re all on these platforms anyway and if asked nicely, may be happy to share some of your content and even post their own (as it relates to the company). Don’t worry about potential backlashes – get a good Social Media Policy, formulate a working group (employees who want to help the company on Social Media) and invite them to act on the companies behalf.

Learn – sites like Twitter and LinkedIn have great analytics tools built in. As your presence starts to build, you can learn about what tweets or posts are getting the most interest. From this you can gauge your market and refine your activities.

Automate – I’m not a massive plan of Social Media automation software but it is good for one thing. You know all those bookmarks you’ve got on your browser, all those interesting links you find? Feed them into these automation schedules. Share this content via these platforms for a gentle stream of informational content

Persist but know when to move on – with time and effort, this will work. In some circumstances, for whatever reasons, it might not. If people aren’t engaging, if people aren’t following you etc. then take a break. Reflect, learn and apply in a couple of months. Alternatively, outsource. It might be the most cost effective option in the short term but these people are specialists with proven track records. Let them do what they do best.

I have a dream where companies are engaging on Social Media (maybe not Facebook but that’s my bias). Where I post a link, picture, engage with a company and they will ENGAGE back. Instead of looking at my Twitter feed just to see a loads of marketing information (Press Releases, announcing wins, updates on products etc.), I’ll see notifications from businesses I engage with or want to engage with me.

I’d be interested in hearing what’s worked for you or any success stories. Also, any problems, share them. No doubt there will be someone reading who can help.

Yorkshire Mafia Blog

The Yorkshire Mafia Blog is a collection of posts from some of Yorkshire’s leading sons and daughters.



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