Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Fine Line Between Social Media Brilliance and Faux Pas

The lines between business and social media are becoming more and more blurred every day. People are realizing more and more that while this was once simply a way for the younger generation to wile away too much time, it is in fact becoming a vital and exciting part of our society.

As many have no doubt mentioned elsewhere, social media is breaking down the last barriers to information for people all over the world. An example of this is an aircraft making an emergency landing in the Hudson and the masses knowing about it before mainstream media could blink. How? All thanks to twitter.

One aspect of this is the fact that people using social media want to interact. Through avatars or not, they pour out their opinions, creations, likes, dislikes and so on.

So, let's get this straight. In social media we have a pool of 100's of millions of people who are sorted by demographic and who tell the world what they want ? This is a marketers dream come true!!!


Time for a dose of reality. Like any community, social media sites have etiquette. When you see the opportunity social media presents you are of course right, but if you go bulling into the china shop without knowing what you're doing you will end up the pariah you deserve to be.

Spam has been the awful, barbed thorn in the side of everyone's email program and internet browser since...well, since this whole internet thing began. Pop-up adds and emails from $upersexxxiii666 about enhancing this and losing that are in the very least irritating. So are friend requests containing a pitch for your product. Get it?

I'm not saying that people haven't tried this in social media. Build profiles as fast as possible, get a few friends and pitch before they get wiped out, rinse and repeat. But, unless you want you and your business to be thought about in the same breath as our friend $upersexxxiii666, don't be that stupid.

There is no trick, no silver bullet. Just use social media as it is intended, on a personal level.

You can take advantage of this amazing opportunity. In fact, if you do it right your presence online will position you as a force in your field and get thousands of people in the know about who you are and what you do. That leads to business, it just does.

First thing is first, choose the sites you wish to be on. Then, what is your area of expertise? What can you offer? Be thinking about this as you start to send out genuine friend requests, letting people know who you are and that you can help if they have questions regarding ____. You really don't even have to go that far, though. Just think, how would you introduce yourself in usual conversation when meeting someone new?

If you work at this, you will build up a network of people who will now talk to you in a little more depth. Build these connections, post things that aren't just about your product, but that you find interesting. Foster the relationships you have in the networks you build and you will achieve social media greatness in no time!

Remember, social media is all about people. No one wants to receive a sales pitch they didn't sign up for from you. Become someone who is a known expert on your subject in the communities you join online, help people, comment, message and all the time be yourself and you will achieve organically more than you ever could if you were just using your pages strictly to market.

Don't be a spammer, take social media by the horns and make it your own!

Spencer Barnes
Director of Delivery
Richter10.2 Media Group

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