“50,000 views of my LinkedIn video! What an accomplishment,” the woman thought as she stared at all the “likes” and “comments” that flowed underneath her video.
All her work from the past two months had paid off. Posting three videos a week. Spending time each day posting her video links in her LinkedIn “engagement pod” and “liking” and commenting on the content of her fellow “pod mates.” She also flew to attend a networking event hosted by a “LinkedIn influencer” in Chicago. That’s in addition to the average of three networking events per week she attends to help get her name out there.
She was feeling pretty darn good about herself. But then Chris had to burst her bubble.
“Wow, I’ve never been able to crack 5,000 views on my LinkedIn videos, Mary. That’s awesome,” he said, adding, “How many of those 50,000 are in your targeted audience?”
There it was. That simple question left her feeling deflated and resentful.
“Chris is just jealous,” she thought. “He can’t get nearly as many views as me, so he’s just trying to belittle me.”
“Well,” she replied. “With that many people viewing my video, it’s definitely getting out there. I’m building up my attention and my base. So I’m really happy with it.”
Chris nodded and said, “great job!” and walked back across the hall to his office. Chris owned a boutique branding agency and he and Mary both rented offices in the co-working facility in downtown Charleston, SC. Six months earlier, Mary had left her senior human resources position at a local tech company to start her own firm specializing in facilitating in-house employee engagement training programs for corporations.
She had been feeling great, but something about the way Chris asked if her viewers were in her targeted audience just didn’t sit right with her.
“I’ll show him,” she thought, sitting down at her computer to analyze where her “likers” and commenters were from. Then she went about her workday, finishing up in time to race across town for a local chamber of commerce social at an outdoor beer garden.
The next morning, she stopped by Chris’ offices with a big grin on her face.
“Good morning, Chris,” she said, gleefully.
“Hey, Mary. Good morning! How are you?” he replied.
“Well, I’m great. You asked about how many of my viewers are in my targeted audience, so I checked,” she said. “The great majority of people who liked and commented on my post are located here in the U.S.”
Boom. Mic drop. She showed him.
“Oh,” said Chris. “That’s good. Let me ask it another way, then…How many of your viewers are in your targeted customer persona?”
Chris sensed uneasiness and defensiveness.
“I’m totally not trying to put you on the defensive, Mary,” he said. “But this is what I do for my job — helping people tell their stories to the right audiences. These questions I’m asking kind of just come with the territory.”
Mary softened a bit
“It’s okay,” she said. “It’s just that, I’ve been putting so much time and effort into my business and my audience on social media has been rising and I’m making so many contacts at my networking events…but I still don’t have a single client.”
Chris looked down at his empty coffee cup, looked back up at Mary and said, “Hey, I’m empty, and the office coffee sucks. How about we go across the street to Kudzu and get a real cup o’ joe. My treat.”
Mary sighed, nodded, and surrendered.
“Thank you, Chris, I’d really appreciate that.”
Continue to Part II of this parable.