We now spend more time scrolling through our screens than we do sleeping. Leave the average person in a room without a phone, and within 90 seconds they’ll be itching to get a handset back within their grip — fingers twitching in confusion.
From getting any cuisine in the world delivered to your doorstep to getting home in the early hours of the morning or meeting a potential life partner — technology has made a habit of making our lives easier.
And, as more of us rely on our devices to conduct everything from our most personal relationships to our most significant business deals, entrepreneurs are increasingly looking to use the technological revolution to their serious advantage.
We spoke with the 27-year-old founder and CEO of The Social Chain Group, the UK’s fastest growing social media marketing agency, Steven Bartlett, to get his top tips on how to turn your scrolling habit into a success story.
Make people feel something…
We know, easier said than done. But, according to Bartlett this is the first rule of making a success of your business through social media. “The most fundamental principle of any social content is to make people feel something,” he says.
“The amount of stuff you see that makes people feel totally indifferent is huge, I’d say even 85-90% of what’s out there. Indifference is the enemy, especially in social marketing. Messages online only travel if there is engagement, and that is spread by emotion.”
He even suggests we might take inspiration from an unlikely source when it comes to tapping into an audience’s emotions, explaining “emotionally leverage cultural moments. Take Donald Trump — he is someone that popped onto the world political stage at a time when xenophobia was at an all time high, and he came in with a message that emotionally leveraged culture.
“He said inflammatory things at a time when culture really cared about those things, and that’s like putting a match into a drum of gasoline.”
Make use of LinkedIn…
Everyone knows that keeping ahead of the zeitgeist is imperative if you’re looking to make a success of your business through social media. For Bartlett, LinkedIn is one of the great, underused channels for people to get their business message out there. He gives us the rundown on the apps and sites you should be taking advantage of.
“I’m not bothered about Snapchat. I don’t think they have a strong enough USP to protect their audience. Facebook is here to stay but not very interesting at the moment. Podcasting is super interesting, and we’re investing heavily. LinkedIn is also underused – if you’re trying to build your personal brand, LinkedIn is something you should use.
“LinkedIn is where Facebook was in 2012, where reach is ridiculous, but that will change, so enjoy the arbitrage while you can. Also, Twitch [a live video game streaming site] is having a real moment.”
Respond to all of your messages…
Another key piece of advice which sounds deceptively simple. This is basically the equivalent to your parents telling you to eat your greens. You know it’s technically the right thing to do, but it seems like a real effort to make for something you don’t even enjoy doing.
But, according to Bartlett, it is the greatest ‘investment’ he’s ever made. “I respond to every message I ever get on Instagram and LinkedIn,” he says. “Although these people can’t do anything for me, it has a crazy way of paying dividends long term.
“Even if someone in my office is having a bad day, I always like to take them out for coffee or buy them flowers, even though there’s no return on me doing that. Caring about people pays off in the long term.”
Commit to your idea, but know when to stop…
There are enough gambling and alcohol caution adverts reminding us “when the fun stops: stop” to render this message a familiar one. And, according to Bartlett, this is of paramount importance when it comes to knowing when to step away from a project. Equally important, however, is having enough passion and belief to find solutions for your obstacles.
Bartlett explains, “There are so many components to a good or great idea. But what is most important is the philosophy you have to have as an entrepreneur. You have to have an idea, and then do whatever you can in a way that is as lean as possible and as fast as possible, to try to figure out if the world gives a fuck about this idea.
“Conduct the most accurate possible market test, and spend the least amount of money. Then, know when to stop. When the data tells you people don’t care, you have to adapt. Most companies fail because people don’t listen.
“They’re so romantic about their own idea that they stick to it, even if they could have figured out earlier that they needed to change the idea.”
Sell, sell, sell...
Technology might have made many of life’s business practicalities a lot easier, but it’s unlikely to ever replace the alchemy of a true salesperson. For Bartlett, this is the real key behind any success using social media comes down to an ability to sell.
For inspiration, his top recommendation is to read How To Win Friends And Influence People. “I genuinely believe the single most important thing in the world is the ability to sell,” he says. “The only thing stopping me or you from being the Prime Minister, or the richest salesperson in the land, or the best philanthropist the world has ever seen, is a bunch of people we have to convince of our opinions.”
Interested in hearing more of Steven Bartlett’s story? Take a listen to his interview on the Gentleman’s Journal podcast…