A friend of mine posted a piece of content last week about their frustration with Social Media algorithms.
They wrote about how the changing and fluctuation of these algorithms can’t be measured, and compared this to other areas of their life that can be measured.
Its a common question we are asked when working with management teams.
So here is the answer...
In every facet of our commercial lives there are and have been forces of change and alteration that we cannot influence or measure, Social Media algorithms are the modern representation of those forces…nothing has changed, but lets look deeper into the subject.
Lets take a trip back in business development history.
In the analogue days we used techniques and methods to win work.
If we wanted to take our products and services into a new geographic territory, for instance, we would start assessing trade journal articles and early internet sources for project information
- We would purchase the local directories of businesses in the region and start manually assessing and listing.
- We might have a contact in the region we could call and ask for advice.
- We would make presentations showing regional scope and scale.
- We would assess Total Addressable Markets from the data we had.
- We would hunt for contact details of relevant people in organisations that we decided were interesting.
- We would start calling or emailing introductions.
- We would introduce ourselves and attempt to get enough dialogue going with enough people in enough organisations to eventually arrange a trip into the region.
- We made the trip, meeting people, gaining information on projects, local and external regional competition.
- We would return and determine the level of effort and funding required to put into a our possible growth venture.
- We assessed the viability, cost and projected return.
- We made the decision to stop or go.
- We got on bid lists and continued to build distanced relationships until work was won or lost.
There may have been more or less steps, but this simple outline gives an idea of how we used to work.
All the while there were variable forces at work in the deep background of which we had no or little control, information, or influence.
- International policy change
- Regional government policy change
- Internal policy change in target organisations
- Regional political fluctuation
- International and/or regional conflict or division
- Internal company fiscal position within target organisations
- Internal project delays – funding, timelines
- Acquisitions – affecting project timelines, expenditure, and project sanction
- Local provider relationship and allegiances
- Bribery and corruption
- People movement around organisations – contacts/sponsors leaving…
This is the ‘analogue algorithm’, continually fluctuating and changing.
We had/have no way of fully understanding or influencing this.
We may have received the odd piece of intelligence that impacted our plans, but we tended to focus on the elements we could influence.
We kept to our plan and ‘played the table’ and made sure we had enough chips in the game that if we lost some, we had plenty of others in play.
Because we understood that things change and change is constant.
We continued to visit, build relationships, and get on the right tender lists – we focussed on what we could control.
In the modern digital world of commerce the issue is exactly the same.
Our prospecting and networking has transformed to digital, we build influence and initial relationships through Social Media.
Social Media platforms are subject to regular algorithmic change as above.
Variable forces at work in the deep background over which we have no control, information, or influence.
But just as we worked in the analogue days, we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, we keep going and develop a strategy and a set of action that increase our odds of success.
- We continue to grow our digital networks
- We continue to build influence
- We continue to build new relationships
- We continue to have new conversations
This is the foundation of any good Strategic Social Media plan.
To underpin this, we publish a consistent mix of content in a structured manner that resonates with the types of people and organisations we wish to attract:
The 3 content pillars:
Proof you know what you claim to know:
Your unique thought leadership and reference on relevant industry topics and trending subject matter
What you are giving to your network:
Coaching, mentoring, help, information
Deep insight into you as a professional with a personality:
Your history, experience, specialism, knowledge, likes/dislikes. Lessons you’ve learned and how you put them to work.
All presented in a regular mix of content delivery methods, hitting all of the types available to us:
- Short form content: Text, text with pictures, polls
- Long form content: Articles, newsletters, document shares, native video
- Live content: Livestreams, audio events, podcasts
Just as before, we keep to our plan and play the table. We have enough chips in the game that if we lose some opportunities, we have plenty of others in play.
We create a rich and diverse content delivery plan that continually repeats all the pillars above.
If video (for example) is affected by algorithmic change, it doesn’t matter to us as we have all the other types of content in play. We continue with video as it all adds to our plan and our digital spread.
We build in an immunity to algorithmic change.
Because this is the modern, efficient way of doing what we did before.
Consistently working in this manner on Social Media means you are less likely to fall foul or any specific algorithmic variable – always having enough ‘chips on the table’.
Every single element of this is measurable and scalable
We are all looking for access to markets, to be seen as credible in those markets, to build relationships from that credibility and to convert those relationships into commercial interaction.
All of our commercial lives are subject to variables, some we can control, some we simply cannot. If we gave up because of the list of variables in the ‘analogue algorithm’ we would never have won any work.
Its not about frustration and giving up, its about strategy, training and focus.
The art and science of Social Selling & influence for businesses is about focussing on what we can control and taking the benefits.
In the analogue days, when we lost business, it was mainly because we had the wrong strategy, the wrong plan or the wrong execution.
Its exactly the same in the digital world, dabbling and playing will provide nothing.
If Social Media is not giving you what you need, its most likely to do with your strategy, your plan or your execution.
We are in the midst of the biggest commercial evolution since computers were introduced and, it is essential that your people know how to build influence in your sector, prospect, network and close business with your Social Media strategy.
If you'd like to find out more about this, we would be happy to show you how it works, fits together and the results you should expect.