Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sincerity: Once You Learn to Fake That, You're Set

That's not the message of a post I read a few minutes ago:

"Five ways to maintain authenticity with social media"
Patricio Robles, via Econsultancy (May 27, 2010)

"Over the past several years, businesses have flocked to social media. Many have done so because they want to, and many more have done so because they think they have to.

"The increasing use of social media amongst businesses reflects the fact that social media is important, even if its value can be somewhat difficult to define and quantify. But social media is just a platform, and realizing value from its use requires the right type of use.

"Businesses have been flogged over the head with the advice about being 'authentic' when using social media. But what does that really mean? Here are five tips for being authentic and maintaining authenticity with business social media use...."
To avoid just copying the whole post (a dubiously-ethical act), but not take up too much of my own time, I'm repeating Patricio Robles's headings - with a heavy paraphrase of the text.

Make it personal.

Faceless corporate groupthink won't cut it online. Personality does. Have a real person who can make his or her own decisions run your social media.

Keep it real.

No, really. Learn what social media sorry is - and don't do it. But admit it when you goofed.

Sooner or later someone won't like what you do. That's their problem. Being principled and decisive isn't a bad idea.

Don't be afraid of opinion.

As P.R. says: "...It's my belief ... that one of the big reasons consumers don't trust companies is that companies often strive so hard to be 'PC' that they lose a sense of culture and personality...."

Think before posting something - but when you do post, say something.

Focus on interactions, not followers and fans.

Just because you can count them, that doesn't mean they're important. You want to interact with people who are going to do something.

Keep the distribution of traditional marketing messages to a minimum.

"NOW, WITH MORE INGREDIENT X!" doesn't work. Don't do it.

Old-style press releases aren't recommended, either.

News Flash! Some People You Meet Online are - People

I do some of those 'traditional marketing messages' on Twitter - giving the name of a post and its URL. At 140 characters, that's all I've got room for, when I want the folks following me to know about a new post.

But that's not all I put on Twitter. I also respond, from time to time, when someone makes a remark about what they're doing, or what their current situation is. It's the sort of communication, very condensed, that I'd engage in, if I were in the same room with them.

Which I think is a good way to think about online communities. They're communities, made up of people. I'll grant that you'll run into the occasional AI, spouting quips at intervals. But if you make a point of engaging people in conversation - I think you'll find that there's a breathing human being at the other end of the connection.

And, unless you're in the habit of shouting 'Sale! Three Days Only!' at folks you know - don't do it online.

A tip of the hat to , on Twitter, for the heads-up on this post.

No comments:

("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

Small Business Watchers