Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Social Media is more than updates

Many believe posting updates to Facebook and Twitter is Social Media. If this is true then traditional broadcasting would still be just as effective. We no longer want one to many communications. We crave engagement.

This crave for engagement might be because we are becoming more connected online causing our real life connections to become less.

When we become connected online we begin to create a community. define community as

a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists
Community is what makes Social Media successful. While some follow Kanye West on Twitter for his amusing tweets and others "Like" brands on Facebook for their coupons, the successful brands are ones who listen and contribute.

For example, Oreo runs weekly campaigns on Facebook for their Fan of the week. Once the fan is chosen their picture appears in the Fan Page Profile icon.

Then there are those who don't respond to consumers or are defensive and negative. These tend to harm the community.

For example, in March 2010 Nestle came under attack on their Facebook page for using Palm Oil from a company which harvests in rain forests of endangered animals. The administrators for the page caused arguments and frustrated users trying to voice their opinions.

So how should you approach Social Media? The same way you approach the communities you are a part of offline.
  1. Listen - You have twice as many ears as mouths for a reason. Listen first, then speak.
  2. Think - Sometimes I wish the distance from our brains to our mouths were further. Maybe then we'd remember to think before we spoke.
  3. Contribute - Add to the conversation and be helpful. Don't be defensive. Accept that you might be wrong and be open to other opinions.