Social Media - like vs true engagement

The uptake of social media in Australia continues to rise and shows no sign of slowing. In a study completed in late 2013, Nielsen’s research team discovered a staggering 7 in 10 people actively use Social Media. Increasing access to social media accounts via mobile devices, has also seen a significant increase in the time social media is used by each user each day.

As companies though, are we losing the authenticity of our relationships?

As a business that is passionate about successful communication, we understand the return of good relationships on our (and our client’s) business.  We have seen companies use social media as an extension to their communications strategy and net amazing results. They have consistency and integrity across all their media channels and understand that social media success comes from nurturing of each relationship. We are also aware of reputable companies that provide social media strategy very well. They understand the platforms, they understand the application and, most of all, they understand its place in a fully integrated marketing plan.

With this social media revolution, however, comes a wave of so called “experts” promising get rich quick process and a “work from anywhere” lifestyle. Due to the minimal investment required, they catch many small business owners (often prior to any significant investment of time in the branding or planning of their business) and convince them that social media is some sort of alternative to marketing.  I have sat through dozens of “expert” talks and read many blog posts from these experts and one consistently missing link is this – Celebrating wins around the popularity of posts or number of likes is only a milestone in the strategy. The likes, shares, even clicked links are NOT how you measure the success of social media.

The success of any social media activity (long term) relies on its measurement being part of the overall business plan and, as with any type of marketing, must have a connection to the revenue. Engaging in marketing using any social media platform without this connection clearly mapped out will not only effect the return on those relationships but can also return negative feedback on those platforms.   

Automation has its place but the robot needs a real head.

The other popular misconception about social media is that you can “put it on autopilot”.  The use of Virtual Assistants to manage your invites, templating all your responses and even spamming inboxes are often suggested as ways of getting traction in the social arena.

Although I am a big fan of ways to improve the results whilst minimising the time taken, it is still important to note that your social media followers are expecting the authenticity of a real person at the other end that engages with them in a personal way. Ignoring this personable interaction is removing ease of accessibility (one of the keys to the success of social media) and also creates a massive gap with what should be a relationship that continues to sale.

Whether they are a small image in a profile window or sitting across the desk from you in a board room, prospective clients are still people. People with emotions, brains and a need to feel connected.  Social media creates an arena where you can connect with them at a relationship level that no other media has really seen before. It is important that this relationship is respected and treated with the same integrity, passion and honour that you show in every other part of your business.

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