Social media is a two-way street. If it’s treated merely as a platform for pushing the organization’s agenda, you’re missing the point and the real value of social media. If you’re not listening, you”re not truly connecting with your customers.
Let’s look at Twitter. A few impressions (not scientific, mind you, but observations nonetheless) from my own experience…
First, if I see an account’s Twitter feed that’s only filled with their announcements, press releases, or company news, I wonder about their commitment to the social media platform. It also leaves me wondering about their commitment to their customers. If I don’t see retweets, replies, or mentions, I question their engagement. If they’re not interested in assisting others in a virtual environment, how much are they really willing to assist in person, over the phone, or via email?
Furthermore, unless you’re famous (and I mean really famous), most people are not going want to follow your Twitter account unless you’re following them back. When I find an account that has too low of a follower to following ratio, I wonder if it’s legitimate (particularly when there may be no avatar/profile photo, customized background, and/or fewer than 20 tweets). However, when I see an account that has far too high of a follower to following ratio, it leaves me with the equally dangerous impression that perhaps they’re thinking too much about themselves and not enough about their customers (or potential customers). I’m less likely to follow; and thus, less likely to list. For those of you who may be new to this, listing on Twitter is a way to categorize; it’s also a way to give a nod to those who are your favorites or you get valuable information from.
Social media should make you more accessible and transparent. Social media should make you more responsive, but it still takes people. You see… social media doesn’t just automatically transform organizations; social media is a reflection or extension of what is already there. And, if you don’t like what you’re seeing from the mirror of social media, perhaps it’s time to change what’s being reflected and not time to buy a new mirror.
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