Facebook and Email are NOT distractions, but necessities!

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My original title of this post was going to be “Disagreeing with Julia Morgenstern.” Then I figured, why give her the SEO juice? No, seriously, I figured the above title would be more beneficial to what I wanted to say today.

Yesterday morning, after hitting the gym at 6am and getting my ass kicked in a lifting session with my devil trainer from Hell, I was home and in the shower by 7:15am, listening to 1010 WINS radio. They were promoting their series of Small Business Breakfasts, where they claim to help small businesses do the things they believe small businesses need help with.

This time, they were talking about social media. (Of course they were. Because it’s a day that ends in “y.”)

They were interviewing Julie Morgenstern, who lists herself on her website as “The Queen of Putting People’s Lives Together.”

She said “Limit your Facebook time to ten minutes a day, every day. You have to run your business, and don’t have time for those kind of distractions.”

*Blink* Excuse me?

I don’t know how Julie puts people’s lives together, the claims on her website say she’s very good, but if she’s giving out that kind of information, I’ve gotta ask what she’s thinking.

Essentially, Ms. Morgenstern just told you to not care about whatever anyone in your competitive circle is doing, at all.

She continues “Also, don’t look at your email for the first hour in your office, focus on running your business.”

Are you kidding me? Let’s translate that: “Don’t look at new potential clients. Don’t look at new orders that you want to fill first thing in the morning. Don’t look at what types of sales and special offers your competitors are putting out via email. Don’t look at what your clients are asking for.”

So don’t do any of this in the first hour, and you’ll be running your business… How, exactly? By sweeping up your office?

Come on, people. A distraction? Really? Perhaps if you think of Facebook and Email as a distraction, you’re simply not schooled in how to use it. Ms. Morgenstern, rather than telling all of us to blanket “use it only ten minutes a day,” and “don’t use it for the first hour,” how about using your platform to teach us how to use both those incredibly powerful tools correctly?

Never mind. I’ll do it.

1) Get the stupid people the hell out of your stream, use your time on those that matter. If you’re spending most of your time on Facebook reading updates on cousin Selma’s Farmville, you’re using Facebook wrong. Drop her from your stream yet still have a lovely Thanksgiving by hiding her. (Click the “X” to the right of the post, click “Hide all by Selma.”) Boom, she’s gone, you’ll never waste time on her again. Want to find out how she’s doing? That’s what Passover is for. It’s coming up in less than a week. Have all your questions ready.

2) Important people on Facebook work like muscles: The more you interact with them, the better results you’ll get. When you’re posting, liking, or commenting on someone’s activity on Facebook, Facebook remembers this, and you see more of that person and less of someone you don’t interact with. Why does this matter? It matters because almost everything you do on Facebook now interacts with everything else you do. So the more you listen, comment, and talk to people within your stream, the more updates from them you’ll see, and the more you have the opportunity to use those updates to your advantage. (“Mark, noticed you just landed that new gig at BigCo! Congratulations! Let’s grab coffee and see how we my agency can help you!”

3) It should never take more than five seconds to decide what to do with an email. Delete, reply, or archive. That’s it. Archive means it’s out of your box. Delete means it doesn’t require anything. Answer means bullet points, then archive or delete. Need to respond to something later? Check out Follow Up Then – Free, automatic resending of emails that are important, to remind you to act on them. By IGNORING your emails, you’re missing out on opportunities. Let me tell you this – And this specifically addresses Ms. Morgenstern’s comment: If I email you at 5am on the way to the gym asking for a price quote or similar, I expect a response by 10am. If you get in at 9, then spend the first hour “running your business,” and finally get around to answering my email an hour later, I’ve already moved onto your competitor EVERY SINGLE TIME. Email IS business. And hey – this is coming from a guy who built and sold a multi-million dollar company that was entirely based on… Wait for it… Wait for it… EMAIL!

4) Be where your audience is, PERIOD. If your audience is on Facebook, and you’re not using Facebook because it’s a “distraction,” I’m sorry, but you’re an idiot. You have all the potential to make all the sales you could ever want, but you’re not even trying, because you’re afraid of being “distracted?” Trust me – When you’re on welfare, you’ll have tons of free time to be distracted. BE WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE IS. Chances are, that’s on Facebook.

5) I’ve said this a million times – Networking is not something you sit down and plan out time to do. If you’re only networking when you go to a “networking event,” good luck with that. You’ll have a nice ranch house in Mediocre Valley. Networking is something you do ALL THE TIME. From blogging to commenting on someone’s stream while on line at the bank, to posting a video while you’re waiting for your oil to change, to waiting for a meeting and offering a coffee to the first person who finds you. THAT’S networking, and you should be doing it twenty four hours a day!

End of the day? I’m not trying to be a cheerleader for Facebook, email, or even social media. (You know my thoughts on Social as a whole – for many, a way to screw up to a much larger audience in a much shorter amount of time.) But the fact is, you want to sell to your customers? You want to make money? You need to be where they are. You need to get the competitive intelligence they’re offering. You need to listen to them. How do you do that? By making sure you know where they are, and being where they are.

Chances are, they’re on Facebook and email. Not using it because you’re too busy “running your business?” Good luck with that. You won’t be running your business for long.

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