Can I share a little secret? I find great comfort in facts and figures, especially in business. And I have a sneaking suspicion that you prefer to know that the information you’re receiving in based in good, solid evidence. And I have to be honest, I feel that in the social media space especially – I’m kind of alone.
I see a number of people saying, “don’t share facts and figures on your business social media as your clients don’t like it”. You know, if my clients like to see facts and figures and it is reassuring to them – how is that a bad thing?
I totally understand that in this time of Fake News and disinformation that facts can be fudged – but then they are no longer facts. Surely in a time where people are questioning the truth of what they see that facts offer certainty.
The right facts
I agree that there can be too much of a good thing – facts included. I have often dropped off while reading a book laden with facts and figures. We just can’t do that to each other in regular business – unless we’re in the business of writing textbooks.
There is value in a carefully constructed story with some poignant facts to bolster a point or position. For those of us with mortgages, consider if the news reported all the facts and figures that the Reserve Bank trawled through when reviewing the cash rate – we’d switch off in the first 10 seconds. In reality, all we want to know is up, down, same and how much. All facts and figures but all the right ones for the audience.
That’s my point, know your audience and what they want to hear from you and use that.
Facts and figure vs pontificating
I love a good opinion piece, I really do, especially when it challenges my way of thinking. The thing is that there needs to be (for me) a good smattering of facts and figures to help convince me to change my thinking.
The beauty of facts and figures, it can boost your credibility. You’re not just sprouting your opinion – you’ve actually cared enough to do some research and show us that there’s truth behind what you say. I think that’s key in this day & age, truth. We are told to be transparent but where is the truth? How do we know if we can’t check ourselves?
It actually makes good content
I’m a bit of a Pinterest fiend, ok a lot of one and I do love a good infographic. Facts and figures are the staples of a business infographic. They’re great usable content as the infographic distils all the points from an article and puts it in a nice wee image for us to digest. Not everyone likes to read their facts and figures, some people just want the key points (as I mentioned with the bank) pulled out for them and put into a simple diagram.
Facts and figures position us
If your audience likes facts, then the use of them can improve your “position in their eyes”. People look to experts and in an uncertain world, their certainty can give us comfort. (I wish I had a reference to this, yes I get the irony)
In the end, using facts and figures comes down to if your business audience likes them, if they find comfort in them, if they look to you for that comfort, and if you’re happy positioning yourself there.
I admitted earlier that I like facts & figures, they’re comforting and familiar, I also enjoy finding them as they challenge me and it means I learn more about my industry. Now that’s something I’m always keen to do and think we should all be prepared to do – learn more & challenge ourselves.