Keeping Social Media Social

Social media is a great marketing tool for businesses because it has little initial cost. However, what many do not take into account is the man-hours needed to establish and maintain good communication with the community, be it followers, fans, or friends.

Recently I came across an article about Fortune 100 CEOs’ lacking presence on social media. The obvious explanation is that the CEO of P&G or Bank of America has a little free time in the to day to Twitter, much less than Ashton Kutcher who updates quite frequently.

Something else I read on Mashable, informed me Twitter for Busy People is saying that’s not an excuse anymore. Twitter for Busy People allows you to glance over the most recent tweets of the people you’re following.

This interface by Blue Java has many useful applications, such as:

  • It helps prevent less active twitterers from being pushed off the page by that one person who updates what they ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and every thought in between.
  • For larger follower bases, it allows you to see a smaller picture of a larger volume. This is useful to make sure you are interacting with a broad range of followers, not just a few very active users.
  • It allows the user to see a glimpse of a feed or update, which helps discover and determine relevant conversations.

Reading about this new interface reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend last week. She has been a Twitter user for awhile, but uses it solely for personal use. We were sitting on the couch, and I was in a clicking frenzy, toggling between Twitter accounts on Seesmic Desktop.

When I finally stopped, in my exasperation, I asked if there was an application to subscribe or prioritize certain people’s updates, and, in doing so filter, out others. She looked at me and asked, “Why would you follow them if you don’t want to read all their updates?” Good point. Clearly, Twitter accounts for businesses are approached differently than personal accounts, but her question haunted me.

Remembering the article on Fortune 100 CEOs not having an active presence on Twitter or Facebook, many of the CEOs were criticized for not having a presence on social media. It was thought their lack of presence could be taken as disinterest or being distant.

So why are we being so critical? Is it better to not be on at all if you’re not going to do it right? We are always disinterested when we find out that a celebrity is not really tweeting his or her own updates. Is the same for business Twitter accounts?

One of the key strategies to a successful social media campaign is interacting personally and individually with your follower base. If new interfaces allow us to only see a small piece of our follower picture, it seems to undermine the whole foundation of social media. My friend’s question made me realize that in my wishing for an app to prioritize and filter updates, we could be taking the social out of social media.

We are always hearing tips and tricks for social media, but regardless of how much or little you know, it’s pretty understood that having an existence on social media is not enough. If you are not executing effectively, it can translate to wasted resources, or even a negative impression of a company. Are we eventually going to have filters to prioritize certain chosen followers, and the others are merely numbers? How then do we determine who should be chosen to follow?

If information on social media platforms is becoming one-way, without the open flow of communication back and forth, it is no different than traditional marketing. It is important to keep the social aspects of social media as a priority, or else we risk losing the outreach and communication, what made social media effective to begin with.

What do you think about the direction of social media? How do you think these new tools, interfaces and applications might change social media?

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  • Could social media marketing help my blog?
  • Definitely! If used right, it could be a great tool to get new readers to your blog and help give it exposure.
  • I totally agree that a key component missing from "the plan" that both people and businesses have for New Media interaction is COMMITMENT. Just like anything else, nothing grows instantly, nothing grows without nurture and nourishment, so goes every single New Media offering you provide. Thanks for a great article and please do include me in your future interactions. I look forward to it!
  • Thanks Mike! When it comes down to it, we're talking about relationships, and commitment is a major part of making any relationship a good one. Great call.
  • Hey Mike,

    Thanks for posting a comment. It's always great to hear someone else's opinion. You made a great point, that it's really easy to get started with new media, but just like you said, it needs to be nurtured. The work is the execution.
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