The Shortfall of Shortcuts

Recently, the rapid growth of social media has blossomed into an online institution, bringing with it promises of transforming your business into a global sensation through instant social media fame. By now we’ve all seen the empty promises advertising shortcuts to gaining millions of Facebook friends and buying thousands of Twitter followers. While these services seem to boast big rewards, many of them seem too good to be true. These advertisements also beg the question: Do they really work? And if so, why haven’t most companies discovered these shortcuts and become social media stars?

For smaller companies with limited resources to invest in social media marketing, these services promising to build a substantial online presence may appear to be very attractive. In today’s tumultuous economic climate, many businesses are tempted to cut corners in all areas of operation including social media.

However, the ignorance of attempting to take advantage of customers is likely to backfire . Very few businesses are able to turn a profit from taking shortcuts and making unethical business decisions.

The reasons for this include:

Negative Publicity – With the power of social media, dishonesty can spread like wildfire, destroying positive public perceptions, damaging a brand’s image, and exposing a business to a great deal of risk.

Maintain Consumer Relationships – Customers own a great deal of purchasing power and maintaining close consumer relationships is an invaluable asset that should never be ruined by questionable business practices.

Shortcuts Signal Other Problems – Often companies that seek shortcuts also offer low quality products or services and boast poor management and research.

In an article from Forbes Magazine entitled “The World’s Most Reputable Companies,” the author found that a consumer’s willingness to buy, recommend, work for, and invest in a company is driven 60% by their perceptions of the company and only 40% by their perceptions of their products. The world’s most reputable companies including BMW, Sony and The Walt Disney Company, built a strong reputation over time by living up to their promises and remaining relevant in both a local and global context.

On the other hand, the same can be said for individuals taking short cuts on their career path. Applicants who resort to passive job searches and use the same, nonspecific resume for every position are indeed the epitome of short cuts.

Despite the quality of a resume and cover letter, a passive search instantly puts someone in competition with hundreds of candidates. Even if the application package is sufficient enough to secure an interview, a passive individual will have failed to adequately research the company and have the insight needed to know what to say in an interview.

In today’s highly competitive job market, candidates who try to bluff their way through the interview process won’t be very successful. The desire to shorten the process by doing less makes it less likely that someone will find his or her dream job. The best advice is to research prior to applying, network and reach out to current employees at the company you’re interested in.

In other words, when it comes to running a business or finding the job of your dreams, you must be willing to invest time, money and hard work to reap the rewards of success. In business, as in life, no shortcuts truly exist.

By James Lo

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