I’m an Arkansas girl; my love for Hillary Clinton runs deep. In true Arkansas fashion, my dear friend is a cousin-by-marriage of hers, so we only have 2 degrees of separation. As much love as I have for Hill, I have to play point counter point with her latest interview on PCWorld.com with Zach Miners.
In the interview, Clinton explains that social media is no substitute for a good, old fashioned face-to-face meeting, which she says are much more valuable. I have to say, I feel you. I would love to get off of social media sometimes and spend quality time with people in the flesh. This may be a luxury that the potential Presidential candidate can afford, but it’s not always the most efficient or effective method.
I am certain people were saying the same thing about the telephone when it was introduced: Why are we making a phone call when we can convey so much more in person? The reality is that people are constantly on the go. Social media has made it easier to keep up with and access the people we want to and with much less effort.
Let’s not get it twisted; Clinton most definitely backs technological developments and has been an advocate for increased government spending on IT. She is also all over the place on social media; she has an active presence on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For someone who is so plugged in, Clinton sounds a bit out of touch.
Understandably, part of this has to do with her age; Baby Boomers and older Generation Xers put a high value on face-to-face meetings with clients and customers. Or it could just be the utterance of someone who has seen one-too-many posts in a single day about the Ebola outbreak. Hell, those make me snap, too!
From a social media marketing perspective, there is an immense amount of value in being able to quickly connect with millions of people all over the globe. By posting a single piece of content, you can reach people who you may never have otherwise met in person. That alone is incredibly powerful. Here are some statements from Clinton on why social media pales in comparison to the value of face-to-face meetings and why I respectfully disagree.
Clinton says: “How do we maintain relationships when literally with a nanosecond of attention, you can be communicating with anybody around the world? But that’s not necessarily relationship building.”
Totally feel you, Hill, but this is actually the beauty of social media and online communications – you CAN develop and foster relationships with anyone who is receptive. From an inbound marketing standpoint, it’s important to cater your message to the buyer and make it as personal as you possibly can. Answer questions. Give information. Be helpful. In the case where it needed to be done yesterday, these tasks are accomplished easier and faster through social media or email. While a face-to-face meeting can give some a sense of trust and understanding an email may not convey, that’s nothing some additional clarity can’t provide.
Clinton asks: “How do you create the trust that is at the core, the glue that holds societies together?”
Trust is build by action. When a business takes the time to communicate and be helpful in a timely manner, they are building trust with their clients or potential customers. The same goes for politicians; when they move on a cause that is dear to their constituents and act as a genuine voice of the people, they build trust. This does not have to happen face-to-face. In social media marketing, a business can build trust by being genuine, answering customer questions and being helpful.
There is definitely a value to speaking with people in person about your business or brand, but that’s not always the quickest or even the easiest way to reach your customers. Social media marketing is great for staying connected to your customers in a timely manner and places you in the position to reach people you might not have ever connected with in person. If your organization does both, then you are a power player.
What is your take on social media versus face-to-face interaction?