Maybe it’s the weather. It can be positively gloomy in November in the Northwest. Overcast, cold, shorter days mixed with long periods of wet. Unlike So.Cal where this time of year the Santa Ana winds seem to blow warm and people remain in t-shirts and riding on dry pavement.
Even the light is different, as the air takes on that winter snap.
The contradiction got me to thinking about motorcycle bloggers and social media. Yeah, I’ve been fairly skinny on the number of posts lately as the work gig is never ending, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about how to improve.
I’m talking about ReTweets. Likes. +1s. If the terms are unfamiliar then stop reading.
Bloggers talk about these things as the currency of meaningful social engagement. Seriously? Many insist that the holy grail of social marketing is to create meaningful relationships with readers. So, why is it we reduce these relationships to the most meaningless metrics?
I have an opinion that when someone clicks a “Like” button it’s similar to a “Hand-Wave” as two motorcyclists pass on the road. These are folks who give a nod and say, “Sure, communicate with me.” But, from that interaction we never conclude they are advocates or do we assume they have blog affinity. Essentially they were a drive-by, somewhat interested party. Using a dating metaphor, a Like or a ReTweet is simply someone saying, “What’s your sign?” It’s not a relationship. Bloggers seem to forget that the real relationship and engagement happens after the “Like.” It’s the dance of finding out stuff about each other. It’s the “conversations” which is akin to an unforgettable riding journey together. It’s knowing the other party cares about who you are and what you feel. There’s a feeling of trust. The “Like” is just a glimpse into the experience and who knows if they will linger.
If your blog strategy is like a teenager who measures popularity by the number of Facebook friends or to “get Likes,” without thinking about your audience or what to do with those Likes after you get them, I would suggest you are what researchers – using that dating metaphor – call “desperate.” You’re essentially building up a dairy of folks who you can ping later with some form of advertising which most often is hawking someone else’s wares. And just like with dating, you’re going to get rejected more often than not. Most people have more self-respect than that. They’re looking for true “blog love.” While most motorcycle brands (corporations) just want to……well, you get the picture.
Business 101 states that you double down in a recession, that’s when you invest. That’s the opportunity to pull ahead of your competition. How many motorcycle bloggers doubled down over the last 4 years? For that matter how many trade publications and/or motorcycle magazines remain in business or innovated their way out of the downturn? A few did, but mostly what we’ve heard about are cut backs or the occasional web page that got a fresh coat of paint at most.
The number one challenge remains and that is getting people to listen to you. And the way you stick is by being different. It takes longer to get traction, but you last longer. We know that the public is restless. People are open to change and they want some new ideas. If you’re giving them the same ‘ol, same then you’re no different from the government. Something we tolerate, but can’t really believe in.
The bottom line is if you’re working a social media program you need to think about the entire process, not just the “Likes.” Likes are meaningless without the hard work of relationship building, and until bloggers truly understand this and embrace it, we’ll be viewed like that dating metaphor — an indiscriminate speed dater who is not very clever.
Photo courtesy of Onlyfunnyjokes.com