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A BARE-KNUCKLE FIGHT OF WITS

Having talked to lots of speakers about social media, it is clear that taking the straight route does
Standing oration
A BARE-KNUCKLE FIGHT OF WITS
By Kristian from Speakers Loft • Issue #9 • View online
Having talked to lots of speakers about social media, it is clear that taking the straight route doesn’t work. There is no gold at the end of the content rainbow. 

It is easy to go online and flaunt your intellectual or motivational stuff. But the speakers I have talked to all tell the same story: there are two paths when it comes to social media. As in a Robert Frost poem, roads diverge. You can travel either, but your choice will make a difference.
Photo by Caleb Jones.
Photo by Caleb Jones.
Down what I assume to be the prettier road; we have the idea of using social media by sharing content, getting likes, and sending people to your website to get business. We call this strategy ‘the highway.’
Down the other road, this one less traveled, we have the idea of using social media to maintain existing relationships. We can call this strategy 'the winding garden path.’ 
The highway seems like the obvious option. I’d caution against it having listened to the stories speakers tell me about their careers, and what mattered in the end. The highway is packed, traffic moves slowly, and usually, you sit there without getting anywhere. 
Those of you suffering from car ownership in a major metropolitan area will feel the metaphor.
MATH FOR CAUTION
If your social media strategy is to drive down the highway, you should be aware that the math is not on your side. If you don’t already have a large and loyal following, there is not going to be much business here. The math is pretty clear.
Consider as an example that your posts reach a thousand people per day, and 5% interact with it. About half of those go to your website to learn more. 
That means you’re down to 25 potential clients. 
On most websites, a lot of users bounce pretty quickly - that means that they leave the page without doing anything. You probably do it too if you think about it. Sometimes there is just too much information there, or the page is too slow. Maybe a notification on your phone wrestles your attention away from the screen, or your kid is suspiciously quiet in the next room. Options are plentiful.
Let’s assume you lose another 70% here. You’re down to 7,5 people.
The few survivors in the attention game need to reach out to you to hear more. A good site may convert around 3%, so the number of business leads is down to 0,23.
Let’s say you’re good at selling. Converting 10% of the people who reached out into actual gigs would be good. 
Accordingly, you can expect 0,023 sales per day when you started with a thousand people. Don’t quit your day job. 
Of course, we don’t live in a world that lends itself to mathematical descriptions like this. Reality has many more parameters. My point is that while the highway seems like a straight road to success, it is not. And you risk wasting a lot of time, that you could toss at wiser pursuits.
A BARE-KNUCKLE FIGHT OF WITS
Photo by i yunmai.
Photo by i yunmai.
Another thing about the highway-method is that pitching your content to strangers in the hopes that they will like it, is a bare-knuckle fight of wits (and communication skills). 
It may not feel like it because people tend to overestimate how smart they are. I include myself in this, and while I’m not proud of it, I think it helps to be realistic about these things. This bias probably contributes a lot to the incredibly noisy online environment so handily metaphorized in the title.
Some scientists have done research indicating that around 64% of people think they are smarter than average. The problem with that is pretty obvious.
Fun fact: Men and individuals under the age of 44 had particularly high opinions of their intelligence with an average of 71% thinking they were smarter than average. As a person belonging to both groups, I consider myself intelligent enough to not dig deeper into this.
Similarly, most of us think we’re better drivers than everyone else, and oddly, one study even found that inmates generally estimated that they had more pro-social characteristics than non-inmates. They asses this despite waking up behind bars every day.
You get the point. Other people are smart, and they are loud. Competing with everyone is a battle of wits may not get us far. If we want to win the social media brawl, our content has to be more than good. It has to be meaningful. Creating meaning is a wholly different ball-game. I hope we can work more on this in the future.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS FROM LAST WEEK
Final thing: Last week we talked about presentations and using slides or not. I was curious as to how you felt, so I did a poll. You should all say thanks to the people who took the time to answer. They are the rock we build on. Here are the results:
62% use powerpoint or similar to remember their content.
67% agree with the sentence, “I have thought about ditching slides and presenting more freely.”
As for nervousness before going on stage:
32% Still get nervous before going on stage.
27% Do not.
41% Sometimes feel nervous.
There you have it. We are a very diverse bunch of different people just working our way to being the best speakers we can ever be. Our roads getting there are different - but out challenges are much the same.
That’s all for now. I wish you tons of success in your business pursuits and remember that you have tons of speaker colleagues right here.
See you with a new edition in a week. Thank you for reading.
Kristian
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Kristian from Speakers Loft

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