Every culture and every sub-culture has their own language. Whether we are talking to seniors or to teenagers makes a big difference in the words that we use and even the body language that we communicate with.
IT has it’s own language and that crosses over into the world of social media on an ongoing basis. Although “techno-geek” may be fun when we are excited about the new applications of Hootsuite or the latest software to hit the market, but if we are selling these ideas to non-techies we need to clean up our talk.
The average business person gets cross-eyed as we discuss simple social media strategies. SEO, CRM MSP Marketing, Yahoo, Google analytics, Facebook landing pages, Alignable, Tweets, LinkedIn groups, profiles and circles, are terms that either did not exist only a few years ago or they meant something different. So should we be surprised when our client gets a glaze over their eyes and they start to slide down their chair? We sound like a scene from a science fiction movie so sometimes if we want to reach somebody we need to leave our spaceships and come back to planet earth.
It is true that most people are using the internet, but not everyone is using it the same way. Many people continue to just stick to their own interests and use social media more as a form to enhance what they already know to just connect with friends better. Few are exploring every new gadget or tool. In fact, many are even terrified to try or overwhelmed by the time factor.
The average person is concerned about privacy issues. They are confused by the multiplicity of what is available. The acronyms are daunting and the fast paced discussions that go on amongst techies leave them reeling and looking for a Tylenol. Some are even turning the computer right off and retreating to simple television with the kids to just relax and escape the intellectual bombardment.
If social media really is that important to the current marketplace and this is something that we need to communicate to business owners, then how can we reach them more effectively?
1. When talking to a customer watch for signs that they don’t understand. Look at their face to see if they are getting it. Are they fidgeting or looking at their watch?
2. Ask them if they understand? Don’t just assume they re following you because they are too polite to either a.) Say anything or b.) Walk away.
3. Talk slowly. When we get excited we often speed up. This just adds to their sense of being overwhelmed. Slow down and take your time.
4. Bring your language down to their level. Don’t use acronyms. Tell them in simple terms what you mean or at least tell them the result that they can expect.
5. Use examples. Show them things online. Show them real pictures in a book if necessary. When you are dealing with clients who are not computer savvy there is nothing wrong with a flipchart. This is about reaching them, not about proving how smart we are.
6. Treat people with respect and be friendly. Smile when you talk, and don’t be arrogant. Condemning and condescending people are nauseating so don’t be one of them. Remember that 5 years ago you did not know these terms either and that 5 years from now most of these will be irrelevant and there will be 10 times the new ones to learn. Remain humble in the process and people will relate to you better.
7. Never leave a potential or existing client with a stunned look on their face. If they are still confused – you are not finished. Ask them questions and think of ways to understand them better. Relate to them with stories if necessary and if all else fails take them to a third party to explain it again in simpler terms.
If you own a social media company that employs hard core techno-geeks, keep those people away from the clients. If they can’t be taught simple communication skills, either be the go-between or find one who can make your customers feel comfortable in the learning process.
At Loyal2U communication is key. We make our clients customers feel warm and fuzzy about tech and new marketing strategies. We also make our client’s prospects feel good about them using the same tools.
We have an important message to get across. Emails sent to customers can produce more sales if it is done right. Putting the “Share” buttons on those emails causes our customers to send them out again past their intended target to Facebook, Twitter and beyond. Posting and re-posting valuable content can draw real paying customers right to where you are at. These are the simple terms that matter to the bottom line. Let us know if we have been communicating effectively.
Kerry George is the owner of Loyal2U as well as one of the owners of The Canadian Imperial Business Network. She is an author, speaker, mentor, and successful entrepreneur bringing together thousands of business owners and professionals every year through over 400 events in the Calgary region alone.