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May 4, 2010

4

One Thing You Need to Know About Social Media

by Anthony Verre

Rule One: Use It

Be a crash test dummy of social media If nothing else, there is really only one thing a business needs to know about social media. Use it.

There are thousands of quotes about “no time like the present” and “carpe diem”, but there’s simply no time to have you glaze over on me now. The truth of the matter is you have jump with both feet, arms spread wide, and get to the bottom of the social media deep end.

That’s the biggest barrier I’ve seen the last seven months. Everyone has heard about it, everyone is talking about it, and no one is using it. Apparently, there is a “no escape” clause built-in to social platforms. Or least you would think so. And, if your business is already using social (I use this term loosely), step back, take a deep breath, and start using it all over again.

Wanting a Ten-Speed Before You Have Training Wheels

You might find yourself reading something like this. All in preparation for that time when you might, eventually, create a profile for your company. Why bother learning the finer points of social communication w/ niche communities if you’re afraid putting your fingers down on the keypad? Or worse yet, not even using social media.
Do It Yourself Social Media

Tip and Guideline Posts are for People Using Social Media

All the “tips” and “guidelines” posts are for people who’ve discovered there might be a better way to get in touch with their communities. Tips and guidelines are primarily for social media marketers that have some level of familiarity, and some unsuccessful social marketing attempts, and are trying to figure out how the “social rock stars” do it.

What Tips and Guide Posts are Really Teaching

These posts really teach you how to play it safe. Both personally and as business on these platforms. Tips like, “*be firm, but not too firm. *Be yourself, unless yourself sucks. *Speak your mind, but don’t be too honest.” How do you expect to differentiate yourself if you’re all acting the same way? Would any real communication be achieved?

Clearly it’s a business tool, and clearly there are “rules” to engagement, but it’s not something you’ll pick up from a post.  Take the SEOs and SEMs using social. It’s a unique niche where pretty much anything goes (unless you trash SEO. Then you’re just in a world of trouble). There is no post, tip sheet, or guide that would prepare you to swim fluidly in those streams. It’s a jungle; it’s bizarro world.

And, that thin-slice can be transfered to any vertical, marketplace, or community you want to be a part of: each one has its own way of doing things. Its own unique way everyone communicates. All these tips and guides are really for social media marketers; the people who use it for a living and are looking to gain an advantage over their “community”, not interact with it.
Learning to Listen

The Human Element

Now that we’ve cleared some of that up, it’s time to talk about how you are / how would be using social. Again, the majority of the people I run across, use social like they would use television: push marketing.  You don’t talk, you don’t get involved, you just drop links to product pages, event pages, without so much as peaking any interest in your “community”.  Social isn’t push marketing no matter how much you think it is or could be.

Social media is about getting people to care about what you have to say. In any way, shape, or form.  Whether you pander to their greed, their charitable side, emotional side, or even the little kid in all of us. Give someone a reason to invest in you, and they will.

If you don’t listen, how do you expect to communicate? How can you provide something meaningful to the conversation if you never heard what was asked for?  If you’re continually pushing a message, a link, an anything, without listening, don’t expect people to listen to you.

Use these platforms to better understand what your customer needs. It’s the ultimate CRM tool. If you’re listening, you find out what it is your customer likes about a certain product, doesn’t like about a certain product, whether they got bad customer service, or great customer service. You can react quickly and resolve or champion a situation.

The Bottom Line

You need to use social media in order to understand it and use it for business. Social is not a “magic portal” where people simply follow your direction, convert, and bring you profit.  No amount reading “tips” posts or “the ultimate guide to using Twitter” posts will make you understand it any better.

There’s a theoretical side and applied-practice side to everything in life. Once you have enough practice you can start applying theory and making the platform your own.

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4 Comments
  1. May 5 2010

    you are right – most people is lame and they dont get shit – instead they over-think it – you can’t do everything at once (not well, anyway) – instead, letting things develop “organically” and evolve over time is the best approach – sometimes no analysis is needed – what is needed is a pair of balls… but I am thinking most people don’t have a good pair of brass balls. most people are weak-kneed check-takers… men and women alike. Afraid in most cases to just say fuck it and attack. Could we have them all retire or go work for the government and stay out of interactive altogether? probably not. but at least we could agree to marginalize them. Or relegate them all to “digital” ad agencies.

  2. Jun 2 2010

    You are right. A lot of people don’t realize that Social Media takes some time investment. You have to get out there and immerse yourself in channels for social media, tools, apps, etc. to see how it works and what works for you. Even then, like you said, this is not the magical answer.

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