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What’s in your wallet? Thinking of your business as a wallet – one you would like filled I assume…what do you want it filled with?

Would you rather have 500 ‘Likes’ or 5 new customers? Would you rather have 1,000 online ‘friends’ or $1,000? Would you rather have more ‘fans’ or more ‘profits’?

Yes, it’s a bit of a play off of the Capital One commercials, but the ‘punchline’ works in my discussion here. Social media success and profit is not something you reach by collecting more followers, but by collecting more clients!

Social Media Day San Diego Lynette Young

Photo: Social Media Day San Diego

So many times businesses seem to think the ‘goal’ of participating in digital communications and social media is to collect as many “friends, followers or fans” as they can. If your business could earn income off of popularity then the “Triple F” formula would serve you well. If you are looking to make money or grow a profitable business, then those three items don’t mean anything without the knowledge and expertise to turn the Triple F into money.

Because I am a highly followed person on Google+ with over 1.5 million followers, it is often assumed that followers = fortune & success and that if they could just get more followers they would have social media success and make more money for their business. Nothing can be further from the truth.

I can also tell you there are many other people that have double or triple the followers that I do that have not been able to either use that audience to improve their business bottom line. (There are also people that have a much smaller following on the Internet and social media that make a boatload more cash than I do…) What you really need is for YOU achieve social media success and turn your audience into profits without becoming a sellout or hack.

Just this week I spoke at Geek Girl Camp San Diego and Social Media Day San Diego (in fact I haven’t even flown home yet) and I encounter a few responses to what I talk and teach about that are pretty standard for the conferences I attend around the country.

The first question is (always) that people don’t “get” what Google+ is for – or that they have tried it but it didn’t work. I always answer with questions:

  1. Are you currently attracting and retaining clients via your digital media outreach?
  2. Have you defined what social media success looks like to your business?
  3. Do you know what you want out of your digital communications outreach to your potential/clients?
  4. Do you have an active and evolving social media plan? (No? Check out some tips…)
  5. Are you finding success or frustration using other tactical initiatives such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, content and email marketing?
  6. Is your goal to have more followers or make more money?

Regardless of the answer I can help them find a path – usually within the few minutes I chat with them. In fact, I have not even flown back home and I have received three emails from people I “helped in the hallway” or from the stage telling me that using the ideas and tactics I talked about they have already landed paying clients. Not leads. Not referrals. Clients that have already PAID THEM MONEY that is now sitting in their bank account. Long story short; I get you to results.

The difference is working with someone that knows how to grow a follower count vs. someone that knows how to grow your bank account.

Likes or Customers?Lately I’ve been asked (quite often) if it is a wise choice to dump Facebook and replace it with Google+. I can tell you with 100% certainty that it is NEVER a good idea to abandon an existing social media channel (even if it is faltering) to jump to a platform you don’t understand or have taken the time to make profitable. Above and beyond that, I don’t think it’s a good idea to abandon Facebook at all, but rather learn new ways to use the platform to extend what you have already built. Mari Smith and Amy Porterfield spoke at Social Media Day San Diego on a different panel from mine and I absolutely love their advice and business sense. I’ve seen Amy’s online training FBInfluence and it is full of spot-on solid advice and actionable items. For the record I am in the process of creating a Google+ course that should be ready to ship late summer 2013.

Even above the specifics of using Google+, I get many questions on how to kickstart, reignite or break out of a stalled digital communications initiative in general. So many people have stopped gaining benefits from using social media and digital communications for their company the feeling is that the platforms must be failing. Again, nothing is further from the truth. “Traditional advertising” is still alive and well despite the war cries from digital that it would die a quick and painful death. Same with book publishers. No, these industries are still producing results, but their methods and medium had to evolve. Guess what? Social media is a maturing medium in my opinion and is actively evolving.

Do you offer the same exact products and/or services as you did 5 – 10- 15 years ago? Even if you think the answer is ‘yes’ – it is NOT. How you service your clients has changed. How you market and advertise to them has changed. If not, I can say with some confidence that your profits have NOT increased or improved and your expenses have most likely increased.

So what are you going to do about it? Talk and talk about how social media success is out of your grasp or are you going to roll up your sleeves and make your own success?

Evolve or Die.