When Social Media No Longer Works Pt 2.

I wrote a blog earlier tonight called When Social Media No Longer Works addressing a pet peeve of mine and using the JLC as an example.

That blog, if you don’t wish to go read it, was about how organizations/venues/groups sometimes become an annoyance when they send out event invites for absolutely everything to the people who like or follow them.

I’d had that problem with the JLC (among others) in the past. Every time they announced an event I’d get an event invite. Which yes it’s an event invite, it’s really not hard to get rid of the notification and click Not Attending, Attending or Maybe, but still after the first dozen you get tired of them.

Now let me just say once again, I love the JLC and have total respect for their marketing and communication team. They do a great job with their marketing, especially their social media. Very few organizations put that much effort into their social media, answering questions, finding information, sharing information, asking questions, offering contests, engaging the audience in every way. How their marketing department works is probably why my resume has appeared in the department a couple of times over the years.

That post got me thinking about some of the mistakes that organizations make with their social media, or even their websites.

  • Stale Content / Lack of New Content
    It has always bothered me when I visit a website and return months later to find the exact same content. Websites should be informative and should spark communication. When there is stale information, it can be hard to put your confidence in it and it can make you wonder where else a company or organization is dated/lacking attention.
    Facebook & Twitter are more about the Lack of New Content. Information may not necessarily become stale, but there is a need for a constant stream of new communication in social media. Social Media is meant to be social. It is about engaging your audience and it is hard to engage your audience if you aren’t present creating a dialogue or the opportunity for a dialogue.
  • TMI – Too Much Information – if you tweet or share anything and everything you are going to lose your following. Tweeting or Sharing this way might be alright for personal accounts but, business accounts function a bit better when they focus on what they do best or things that are relate. Some information, while it may be entertaining, may not be valuable or relevant to those who follow what you are saying. Also if you post/tweet too much, you’re going to drown out everything else for your followers. You will make it hard for them to find other content that is important to them. Ultimately people will unfollow the few (you) for the greater good of the many if you are tweeting/sharing too much that isn’t relevant.
  • Broadcasting vs. Engaging – as I said, Social Media is social. Some companies start a Twitter Account and don’t follow anyone and post nothing more than links to their website or company focused updates or they create a Facebook Page and turn off the wall. Twitter and Facebook are about talking to people, or contributing content that can create a dialogue. These virtual environments are also about recognizing people, sharing information, growing ideas – in other words about establishing relationships and engaging communities. It is amazing the things that people can do if they engage in social media. There are a ton of initiatives that have gained momentum through social media, just in this area.
  • Forgetting – Creating Social Media and forgetting about it. If you are going to create a Twitter Account or a Facebook Page, use it. If you don’t use it it’s probably better to delete it, because a Facebook Page or Twitter Account that is not maintained is doing way more harm than good.
  • Lack of Response – If someone posts a question on your Facebook Page or @mentions you on twitter with a question respond to it as soon as possible. I had a recent situation with a local company, I tweeted them about a month ago with a question and got a response two days ago, this to me is not acceptable. Social Media has an expectation of immediacy attached to it. In Twitter I (personally) expect a response within 2 days at most. In Facebook, I give it a week at most to have a question addressed. After those periods of time I’m lost. I have either forgotten what I said, because it happened ‘so long ago’ or I’ve moved on to someone else who can answer my question. It’s basically customer service; how happy are you when you’re kept on hold for 2 hours? Or if you call a company and they don’t return the call? If it is a post on a Facebook Page that really doesn’t require a response, hit the “Like” button, that can show that you’re reading and paying attention to what is being said on your page.
  • Individual vs Community – Twitter is not really about the individual, well it maybe is, but only in the sense of the individual’s contribution to the community. If a company or individual on social media is all about hearing themselves talk (reading themselves write) there is no room for the community to participate. It is important to interact with the people around you in social media. Engage with what other people are saying, answer questions, ask questions, start a conversation or retweet a message. If someone you are following announces a success or something, congratulate them, share the success (if you think others who follow you would find it valuable), this builds a relationship; if you are there to support someone, they will be more inclined to be there to support you.
  • Listen! Twitter and Facebook are, in my opinion, a wealth of knowledge, Twitter especially. Some of the most interesting and intelligent people I know are people who I follow on Twitter (and if you follow me on twitter and are reading this, I probably mean you). The people I follow on twitter (and those who I don’t) come from a variety of backgrounds. It is amazing the knowledge and experience people have and who knows some of that knowledge and experience could help make your next project even better.
  • Over Following  (This is for twitter) – some people make the mistake of following everyone they come across. This is often in an attempt to inflate their following/followers numbers. If you are following too many people it is hard to filter the conversations and find the hidden gems that could be relevant or beneficial to you. If you do follow a lot of people, I highly suggest you use Lists and categorize the people you are following. This way you can focus on certain streams at certain times and follow along or participate in conversations.

These are just a few of the things I have noticed over time, but I will continue to add tips, tricks and mistakes for social media on this blog, heck I may even (or will likely) make some mistakes myself. I am by no means perfect, but I’ll keep trying to get close.

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