Everyone has their own opinion of what Facebook is for depending on what they’re using it for at the time you ask them. Mostly it’s to keep in touch with friends and see what they’re up to, either generally or later on in the week. But of course it has to be paid for and monetizing a site is going to attract advertisers and business, hence Facebook becoming a passive marketing platform. Passive in that you have to wait for your customers to come to you and then friend them up, approaching people en masse is a sure no-no because, when you strip everything else away Facebook is a social media platform, invented for friends to connect, not to be hijacked by big business as just another tool to get their message in front of as many eyes as they can. If they are able to through outreach and brand loyalty that’s fine but there are also many mistakes being made when it comes to the business-social interface.
Often those who claim to know what social media is about make declarations like “connect with your consumers” and “get involved with the conversation” where they basically mean introduce yourself and then start plugging your product. What they mean to say is offer solutions to your friends’ problems, isn’t that what friends do? These experts know what they mean but they get so caught up in trying to be brief and encapsulate theories in Vox pops that they lose their message.
People think that the high numbers are the important ones, having thousands of friends is what really counts right? Getting thousands of likes and mentions is what it’s all about surely. But what’s the real story? You might have numbers but are you really engaging? Are your friends and customers just clicking on you out of habit or are they really receiving your message? How can you tell? Well, look at the conversations on your wall, find out if other people are setting up fanpages, how busy are they? Don’t just look at a rock and think “that’s a big rock” take a look under the rock to see what sort of life there is down there.
It doesn’t much matter what your product is or who your demographic are if you’re not ‘down with YOUR kids’ they’re not going to bite. Whether those ‘kids’ are the mothers of teenage boys or the teenage boys themselves simply mirroring them isn’t going to wash. If you try too hard to be ‘down’ with them you won’t look cool or part of the group, you’ll look like you’re trying too hard and people will start ignoring you.
That trying too hard can be carried over into exceeding your reach when it comes to the number of networks you try to get engaged in. Spreading yourself too thin means that you won’t be able to react if and when things start moving. When you build a following go for quality not quantity, quality always shows.
Another thing that people do wrong when they’re looking at social media is to treat it in the same way as they used to look at traditional broadcast media, that is, that it is mono-directional. You broadcast your message and people buy your product. Again, stop thinking that way! This is SOCIAL! If your ‘friends’ have something to say listen and reply/learn from their input. They might be loyal to you but they can always migrate, show them that you care what they think.
Dan Cash is a social media specialist who also loves to take spa holidays. The best are Europe spa breaks for a short holiday and, Caribbean if you’re traveling a little further affield.