Put down the megaphone!

As of late more and more businesses, public entities, and local services in my area have jumped on the social media bandwagon. Sadly, they aren’t taking full advantage of what these services offer. The majority of them are using it as a megaphone to blast out information without offering it as a means of communication and collaboration with their intended audience. I understand the concept of letting people know what events you have planned and what services you offer, however, if that’s all you are doing you are limited in how effective your service could be.

“Social media uses Internet and web-based technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers.” – Wikipedia

Too many people are applying this to their existing service but are still using it as industrial media. Granted these services require time and effort to work accurately and effectively and most people don’t have/aren’t interested in the time it takes to maintain and cultivate relationships within their community. Creating something because its new and “sexy” to just have it is more of a hindrance than a help for many reasons.

Treating social media as sales process engineering. Spending too much time trying to sell people with your content instead of participating and finding out what people want.

Not using social media as a customer service platform. Focusing on marketing and promotion, but failing to engage customers when it comes to concerns they bring up.

Underusing social media sites by not knowing how to use all the features and don’t use a site to its full capability.

Joining social media sites without a strategy, process, or training.

Misunderstanding social media behavior by treating it as technology, without recognizing norms that influence interaction.

Making it about vanity instead of learning about the people they follow.

Focus largely on Return of Investment without recognizing that social media is about relationship building, and it will take time for this.

The impetus of this post it that if you are going to utilize social media services, make sure that you fully understand the work involved and try to learn more about the community in which you operate. Realize that you have to put down the megaphone and really engage the people around you.

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