Why have social networks succeeded? Is it the platforms and the capabilities they offer? Is it the marketing opportunities created? Or, is it just luck?
Simply put, social media is about friends and conversations. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary – yes, we now have a definition – social media is defined as:
Forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)
The key behind this explanation of social media is communication because it signals that you are speaking to someone or exchanging information. Where has this element of social media gone?
There still is socializing on social media, but it’s definitely not where it should be. Sadly, the biggest culprit of this behavior is often marketers. Yes, you read that correctly. Marketers – people like you and me – are many times the worst at not being human online.
The challenge is time. We know more than most that social networks are time-consuming, especially when trying to implement effective social media strategies. This is why we welcomed automated services with open arms. But, as beneficial as these are, they are not meant to remove the human element completely.
We, as marketers, set the example for so many brands on how to act on social networks, and being human ranks near the top. For example, which of the following social media posts would you react to?
On Monday, Brand X: New blog post: [link]
On Tuesday, Brand X: New blog post: [link]
On Wednesday, Brand X: Buy our new product: [link]
On Thursday, Brand X: New blog post: [link]
On Saturday, Brand X: Buy our latest product: [link]
On Monday, Brand XY: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” #MondayMotivation
On Tuesday, Brand XY: For businesses looking to further leverage Pinterest, the company is testing a DIY platform for Promoted Pins targeted at small-to-medium-sized businesses: http://techcrunch.com/2014/06/05/pinterest-cpc-promoted-pins/
On Wednesday, Brand XY: Your grandparents are among the fastest growing demographic on Twitter, according to #Socialnomics 2014 from Erik Qualman. Learn what else is popular in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxpa4dNVd3c
On Thursday, Brand XY: #BeingHuman is the key to true success on social media. #FakeNeverWins
On Friday, Brand XY: Did you know Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 15? If you need last-minute gift ideas, try Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/epicmom/170-father-s-day-gift-ideas/
I think it’s safe to say that we’d agree the latter is more effective. The difference is that second set of posts are conversational, informative, and ultimately, make a personal connection with consumers. This – the same type of communication that takes place offline – is all people want on social networks.
A company name or logo by itself is impersonal. It’s the job of the marketer to build a brand and face for a business, and social media creates the perfect environment for doing so. Social media is the closest means to true interaction that some businesses have. For this reason, while it should be taken seriously, the “social” side of social media should be used to its full capacity. Social media provides an opportunity for businesses to have personality, so take advantage of it and have fun doing it. 🙂