A couple of months ago, on a bright Sunday morning, while I was having breakfast and pouring my second cup of coffee, my son said ‘If you do something wrong at school you get to be popular, but when you do something good, nobody notices’.
I remember thinking ‘That’s a great piece of wisdom from a primary-school boy’.
Sometimes it feels like that for me too.
We spend a lot of time doing a great job for our clients, efficiently managing our website and enquiries, having systems and processes that work on more than just a wish and a prayer, creating a good brand that we can be proud of, but it still doesn’t seem to be enough.
Being good at something goes unnoticed most of the time, or at least it can seem that way.
This might be the reasoning behind the increasing number of small businesses using Facebook to promote themselves. Figures reveal that more than 50 million now use Facebook pages to connect with their customers, and over 4 million pay for Facebook ads.
This need to get noticed is also part of our offline strategy.
We attend nonstop networking events, we tell our stories when we meet a prospect or customer, and we continue to do so on social media. And we’re certain that it works because we get the likes, the meetings and the referrals. We know good work is not enough.
It turns out that getting noticed has a price.
Do we measure how many times we invest in the perfect selfie for Facebook, in looking for an image to use on social media, in attending every networking event, in pitching to every single individual who’s interested in a generic version of what we do, in having conversations with people who aren’t genuinely interested in our products or services?
Do we measure how much effort we put into being noticed, rather than into doing work that matters for those who love what we do?
If we were to measure the time we invest in being noticed and compare it with the results that we get, we might realise that in fact it may be not all that effective.
We might get customers because we pitch every week to 50 people who don’t care about what we do. We comment and post on social media, reaching at least 1,000 people who are not interested or don’t need our services. And we sit down to have conversations with people who aren’t interested in what we do, hoping that they’ll recommend us to others who are.
Is this strategy effective when measured against the time invested and the quality of clients that it brings us?
What platforms do the customers who love what you do use? How can you delight them? How can you provide something just for them that makes them want to tell someone else the story of what you do?
How can we invert this strategy, pitching to people who really want to hear from us, using social media to spread stories that people want to hear, and having meetings with people who are eager to talk to us?
Being noticed is about wanting attention, but when you think about it, customers who really love what you do don’t buy from you in response to your frantic social media activity. They buy from you because they love what you do.
Good work unnoticed is just good work that didn’t show up in the right place for the right people.
We need the right sort of attention, not just to be noticed!
We get attention when we do something that matters to people, when we make them feel that it’s just for them.
Try something small, just for your customers. Don’t aim to be noticed. Measure the response, give it time, and let the beautiful story of what you do be noticed just by those who care about your product or service as much as you do.
Image by Anthony Nguyen