It's Not Social Media, It's You

Thursday, June 17, 2010

When I lived in the Philippines, I'd often go out for ice cream with a family I worked with there. On one occasion, the adults were having a conversation and the five year old daughter of the family was trying to get everyone's attention. Her methods weren't working very well and finally she blatantly yelled "HEY! Look at me!" It was cute and everyone laughed. It worked because she was five years old.

Too many times, I see companies jump into social media with the same self-centered attitude towards getting attention. Rather than engage with people in conversation, they push one-way messages to anyone who will listen (and to people who aren't listening at all). When those don't work, the tactics get more aggressive and essentially wind up as "HEY! Look at me!". When that still doesn't work, they declare that social media is a time waster and has little business value.

The problem isn't social media, the problem is you. No one cares how great your product or service is, that you won every possible award between 2002 and 2006 or that you are simply the best at what you do. They don't care because you haven't tried to care about them. The most overlooked word in the phrase social media is "social". Listen and interact in a two-way dialogue, even if it's not at all about your business or what you offer. Unless you're a five year old girl creating puddle art with your halo-halo ice cream, demanding attention without giving any will only leave you hoarse from shouting.

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