Social media means social – it does NOT mean advertising nor does it mean repeating the same tweet over and over about the prologue to your book with a link to a sample chapter.
What it mostly does NOT mean is having a Twitter account with no bio or link. And either no tweets (oh, yes, I see this often) or a few tweets that have no distinct personality.
Where is the social in any of these examples?
Real social media participation means understanding that the first order of business (yes, business, if you are using social media to connect with potential customers or clients) is to reveal who is behind the company and what the interests of the company are. What the company is offering (in other words, sharing not selling). And then to engage with others based on who you are.
[True story: A potential client showed Yael and me a Twitter bio that she liked. Yael said, “But what does it mean?” The potential client responded that she didn’t know but “it sounded good.” Now how does sounding good even though meaningless help create potential relationships on social media?]
I am even more amazed when I read a Twitter bio that is relatively clear about the business but there is no link. How does the person go about this business?
Even if there is no company website, a link to a Facebook Page or a LinkedIn profile could provide more credibility for the company.
And then there are situations in which, even if you have a company website, it would be better NOT to link to the website but instead link to a Facebook Page or other social media profile site. Why? Because if you are effectively making connections on social media – sharing information and not only pushing out sales messages – you do not want to risk visitors to your website experiencing a serious disconnect.
A disconnect between your social media activities and your website can concern people who are starting to develop a relationship with you. For example, your photo is on your company’s Twitter account, but when someone clicks through the link on your Twitter profile to your website you are nowhere in sight. Even the ABOUT page is written in the royal we. That’s a social media disconnect.
How authentic does this make your social media activities look if your website is an old-fashioned “corporate veil” site?
And one of the biggest traps you or your company can fall into is to be guided by existing sites in your industry that you think “look good.” These sites may “look good” to you, but do they “look good” to people coming to the sites from social media profiles?
Many, many people don’t yet “get” Twitter – and I feel badly about this because Twitter can be extremely powerful.
Here is an idea:
Twitter could have employees randomly checking profiles and then, when appropriate, sending private messages recommending how the profiles and the activities could be improved in order for the people to get more out of the Twitter experience.
Now that would be a truly social media customer service experience.
© 2011 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) is the co-founder of the social media marketing company Miller Mosaic LLC.
Get the free information “8 Social Media Marketing Mistakes” and “Social Media Marketing Does Not Magically Work; You Have to Work It” at www.facebook.com/millermosaicsocialmedia