Using Social Media the Wrong Way

As the choices in Social Media became more widely known, many businesses have hopped on the bandwagon, attempting to grow their business in new venues. Some have been fairly successful at this, while others have failed to make much headway. In some cases, similar companies have seen differing results, while the businesses themselves are almost identical.

What this comes down to, from what I’ve seen, is the difference between trying to use social media to accomplish a specific goal, and understanding how social media can help accomplish those same goals.

As an example, there are many fan pages for companies on Facebook. But while some of them are live with activity and discussion between the fans and the representatives of the business, others are silent, or full of one-way conversation. In those cases, the creators of the page may not have understood why they should create the fan page – while a lot of effort might have gone into making it nice, not enough effort has gone into stimulating conversation. Another issue might also be that Facebook is not where the clients of that business spend their time, and so the fan page is almost useless.

At the opposite extreme are those businesses which are continually reaching out, but perhaps not to the right people. Most people are now familiar with the incessant mailing lists where a new message arrives on a daily basis, but the content never changes, the interactions are never promoted. Such an attitude toward promotion of a business online is reminiscent of print, radio, and TV advertising, where volume was king. In online media, however, content and communication is king.

When working in social media to promote your business, make sure you understand where your clients and potential clients spend their time, and make sure you can be found. Communicate information to them, but don’t overdo it. Make sure you’re reachable, and try to make those interactions public. Present yourself online as if every interaction with a customer is going to be seen by your entire target market. Above all, remember that social media is about the social interactions first, and the mechanisms second.