Picture it: SUPER jam packed beach. It’s the height the the season, and EVERYONE is out on the beach – kids, moms, dads, frat boys, unicyclists… everyone. And they are all doing their thing, hanging with their friends, chatting with their people – but also doing some people watching, as is natural at the beach. Now, here comes Marc Jicobs, purveyour of fine hockey pucks. Marc’s hockey pucks are the most super duper and he is ready to sell sell sell these fantabulous pucks of pure hockey mojo – the Jicobs Hockey Puck of Dreams.
Marc Jicobs has a little beach cart that he has outfitted with some branding imagery and a banner with his logo on it. He pushes it up and down the beach all day. Usually he makes it up and down the beach 40 times between 8 am and 8 pm when most people are on the beach. He comes to the beach because there are so many people! Some people see him and say “hey those look interesting” but only sometimes. Many simply glaze over him because they don’t have any use for a hockey puck at the beach or in general. Most of the time though, he is fairly invisible to the people on the beach because they can’t tell his pucks are awesome from his random appearance at the beach. The attention he does get is mostly negative or completely uninterested because he is so out of place, irrelevant and random to the beach goers.
Poor Marc is sweaty and exhausted by the end of the day from pushing his hockey puck cart up and down the beach and not getting any real quality interactions – he did sell one hockey puck though in the month of September to a man who coaches hockey to little kids on the weekend.
Need some help here?
- Marc = you
- The Jicobs Hockey Puck of Dreams = your product
- The beach = social media
- the hockey coach = the occasional buyer, the outlier
Now this isn’t true across the board for everyone, and it isn’t exclusive to any single social media platform. The point I am making is that just because you posted your product on a platform that many people use, doesn’t mean you did yourself any favors. Lots of people doesn’t equal lots of buyers and it definitely doesn’t equal lots of your ideal customer.
Marc Jicobs sold ONE hockey puck after months of promoting his product to the people on the beach. Just because there are a ton of people on the beach doesn’t mean they are people who need or want hockey pucks.
This is no different than accounts that constantly Tweet out new listings and nothing else just because they know a lot of people use twitter. It’s not focused, it’s uninteresting and it’s useless. Just like Marc Jicobs on the beach with the hockey pucks.
Marc is not clear on how to make the best possible use of the beach. He is just showing up and expecting people to engage with him. Lots of people are there, yes, but they aren’t paying attention to him because they aren’t his people, they don’t know who he is, and he isn’t doing a great job of informing people about what he does. If Marc had gone to the beach and started up a game of frisbee with another party, maybe they would’ve gotten to chatting about careers and jobs and getting to know each other and that could’ve resulted in an authentic connection with a group of people, and that’s great. But just showing up,hanging around lamely… that wasn’t going to garner the attention of beach goers.
Are you selling hockey pucks on the beach?
People went to the beach to see their friends, and catch up on things they like. They didn’t go to the beach to shop. And not everyone on the beach is interested in hockey pucks. Very occasionally a person might say, “hey, you know what… I do need a hockey puck” but is it worth the sale of one hockey puck to be exerting as much useless effort on the beach?
Marc had to keep going to the beach to promote his pucks, and it was getting to be a ton of hard work that was not often very rewarding. Marc should have spent more time establishing himself in a place where people go specifically to shop, and less time promoting to an audience so large and diverse with very few prospects.
What if Marc Jicobs took his hockey pucks to the ice rink 3 nights a week? Or better yet, got a deal going with the Pro Shop at the rink to sell his pucks on commission – which is preferable, because people who need hockey pucks might go straight to the pro shop without ever seeing the Jicobs table of fine pucks – or they might feel more secure purchasing from the Pro Shop. Firstly, the people at the ice rink are clearly going to have more interest in and need for the Jicobs Hockey Puck of Dreams than the vast array of people at the beach. Secondly, if he nurtures a relationship with the Pro Shop owner, he could be making sales without even being present – thus freeing up some time to improve the puck or put his line of hockey sticks together, finally.
Here’s how this might apply to you:
I’m thrilled to bits that you are interested in social media and want to understand how it can work for your business. But here’s the thing, when people are looking to buy something, what do they do? Where do they go? Here’s a hint – they go to a store or marketplace. Don’t you want to be visible and well positioned in a place that people GO specifically to shop? You are selling something, so of course you do! (PS, if you sell on Etsy, my course will teach you how to do it.)
That’s why your efforts are better put towards establishing the best possible storefront, optimized for views and sales. So that when people are looking to buy, they find you. This is entirely different than the occasional buyer you get from social media who sees something you’ve posted and absolutely MUST have it. You see that right?
Are you spending too much time and effort trying to turn Instagram, Twitter other social media channel into a sales funnel when you could be using it as a place to connect with your audience rather than constantly sell to them?
If you establish a strong presence on the platforms people go to shop, you won’t have to hustle as hard to shuffle traffic from one place to another and you’ll free up time to connect with humans as a human, not always as a seller trying to make sales to a buyer.