The “Social” in Social Media

Remember that conversation you had just the other day with your good friend? Chances are you both talked about your lives, asked a few questions, and maybe even tried to figure out how to solve world hunger. But the key to this conversation was that you were interested in one another – what was happening in one another’s lives.
This basic philosophy of friendship – open and two-way communication is exactly what puts the “social” in social media. Yes, even on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and Google+ you have to be friendly and social with your followers. You may have never “met” many of your followers but if managed correctly, your presence on these social media tools will help you develop a strong professional persona that people can relate to and like.
We’ve seen it all too often here at Vinyl 21 – a company gets a Twitter or Facebook account and all of the posts and Tweets are sales and product focused. There is no back-and-forth communication or even an interest in what the company’s followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook are interested in. Soon enough, this company loses traction and people stop following the Twitter account and visiting the Facebook page. It’s certainly not intentional on the company’s part, and it’s tough when you are in the business of selling product as all too often you get caught up on promoting the latest deal or the newest model that just arrived in the store. It’s hard to take the time to remember the social aspect of social media when you are communicating with your followers.

Kind of like what happens when you call up your aunt Margaret and all she wants to do is talk about herself. Pretty soon you have no interest in making that weekly phone call (even though your mom is laying the guilt on big time). There is nothing worse than seeing a company get a Twitter account and only posting about themselves.

To be effective on social media, companies must remember that the key to this very powerful marketing and advertising tool is the word “social”. Be outgoing. Engage your followers in conversations. Ask for feedback on your products and organization. Post useful Tweets about things that don’t have anything to do with your business but will be of interest to your followers. Get to know your followers – see who they follow and what they Tweet about. You really want to develop “friendships” with your followers – this way your company and product are remembered – but not because all you do is bombard them with sales-related Tweets. Same thing for Facebook – hold contests to get your fans involved, ask for photos of what people did on the weekend, respond to the comments people make on your Facebook page and show that you are interested in them.
Just like that first day of 9th grade when you were at a new school and didn’t know anyone – you likely pulled out your favourite jokes, showed off your skills on the basketball court and smiled at all the pretty girls (or boys) – all this to make friends and create relationships. Same deal with social media. Be friendly. Be sassy. Be engaging. Be funny. Most of all – be yourself.
In any relationship, people want to be appreciated. The same holds true for social media. As a business, you want to inform customers about your product, but you also want to engage your customers/ followers and appreciate their perspective. Remember the “social” element of your social media campaign and you’ll be surprised how many new friends and followers your company might meet along the way!
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