While reading an article in the SocialMedia Examiner I came across this article by Rich Brooks discussing 7 claims regarding social media that can be ignored. Amazing! All too often opinions regarding new technologies become rock-solid facts when they are nothing more than someone’s popular opinion. So let’s revisit Rich’s discussion and continue to spread truth into the sea of opinions.
1) Social Media has changed EVERYTHING
To quote Rich, “Balderdash.” Social media has presented a new way to approach and connect with the public, nothing more and nothing less. The idea that social media has made traditional methods of conducting business obsolete is a misunderstanding of the greatest measure. Social media has not changed the methods, it has changed how we use them. (I love analogies, so here we go!) The creation of a typewriter did not make the written word obsolete, it merely changed the way we put the words on paper. The same goes for social media, the content is unchanged, we simply have new and powerful ways to share that content.
2) You Can’t Sell in Social Media
Firstly, I am not trying to contradict my recent discussion of not taking advantage of the online community, but rather would like to build upon it. The simple fact is that if you put your content in front of the wrong people they will throw it away, delete it, or even “block” you from contacting them again. On the other hand, if you use social media with tact and build genuine relationships your content can be spread, forwarded, and find its way in front of the right person who would like to be your customer.
3) You Have to Stay On Message
To again quote our friend Rich, “…you know who stays on message? Politicians and boring corporations.” This speaks for itself. Humanizing yourself, adding personality, and discussing your passion for restoring a 1965 Oldsmobile into the ridiculous lowrider you dreamed about when you were 16 doesn’t make you less professional, it makes you a real person who happens to drive an old car that bounces. With that said, keep in mind how you meet and interact with new people, treat social media the same. Be personal, be authentic, and above all be yourself.
4) You Need to Have a Lot of Followers
The premise is simple. The more followers you have the more people that will be exposed to your content. Ok, this is true, but the counter argument is simple as well. Providing your content to huge numbers of people means nothing if they are not interested in what you have to say. Having 100 followers who read what you have to say is better than 10,000 who delete it without opening it. It’s the basic premise of quality over quantity.
5) You Need to Have a Lot of Comments on Your Blog
I blog at let’s dabble for many reasons. Comments are not one of them. Are they nice? Sure. Are they the goal? Sadly, no. Although interaction with the community is a beneficial side effect of blogging, tweeting, and new content creation. They exist without interaction for a very important reason, SEO. Search Engine Optimization is what ranks websites when a search is made in google. If you would like your lemonade stand to be the first one listed when “lemonade stand” is searched in google, your site needs to be considered the best. How does google decide who is the best? Content, web traffic, and links to your site from reputable sites, just to name a few. So get out there and keep getting out there. The more good, relevant content you provide the higher google will rank your “lemonade stand” in google search results.
6) You Can’t Measure Social Media ROI
Have you ever asked? If you want to know how people hear about you, ask them. You can send out a survey to recent clients/donors with a list of ways you are promoting your organization and ask them to “check a box”. You can also set up google analytics which can monitor your website or blog and will provide you with a myriad of information regarding the traffic you are getting.
7) You Have to Be on Facebook (or Twitter, or Have a Blog…)
The only thing you “have” to do is what works best for you. If you find that your demographic does not tweet, stop tweeting. If they are not on Facebook, why have a page? But if they love photos, can you justify not providing them with a few pictures to show them the new office building? If they are searching YouTube for your videos, can you justify not have a YouTube Channel with relevant videos?
Listen first, then provide your content where it is appropriate. But above all, provide that content. The hardest way to be found is to tell no one where you are. So dabble with Flickr, dabble with Youtube, and once you start, keep dabbling!