Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How social is Social Media

Well we all know about social media. " Even my mum is on the Dutch social network Hyves ;)". When we talk about social media, we like to think of Twitter/Youtube/Facebook/Flickr or bebo. Well forget that last one.

For a lot of people in The Netherlands the social networks are pretty important. And are used daily. We poke each other on Facebook we scrap each other on Hyves, a lot of so called BN'ers famous dutch people have discovered Twitter, some free newspapers use Twitter to interact with their readers and well I go on for a long time. We are going social.

So here is my question. Why do companies find it hard to be social?

Come on.. Look at it. A lot and I mean a lot of companies try to be social. But instead of preparing a normal social media strategy they tend to just start a public profile on a social network and forget about it. Look at these "Dutch" Hyves one of sns-bank http://sns-fundcoach.hyves.nl/ or http://landal-greenparks.hyves.nl/ . The last one has potential but if you analyse the scraps you can see that there is absolutely no conversation. Instead you see a moderator(s) broadcast news/photo's and gadgets on a new channel. So why would I ever join one of these groups? To say that I had a fantastic time using their product? Give them compliments? Upload photo's so they finally have an update on their channel? What's in it for me?

Why do you even bother starting something 'social' when you don't make time to react? I see it happening so many times when companies don't even react on the @replies which I have sent on twitter. There is somebody who is receiving that. Isn't it a great fast way of communication between two parties? A way where you can easily solve a problem.

Another problem which I see starting social companies is that they want and expect instant results.

Social Networking takes time! I know about these success stories! But think about all the initiatives which have failed because there was no one who interacted with the campaign and where people just pulled the plug!

If you like to start something social on the web. Don't try to be like the big boys when you're not. Have patience, and be honoust about what you provide. You see a lot of companies which just spam everywhere to get some followers or members on their network. Come on, it's not a marketplace! I have 496 unread hyves mail of invitations for different hyves. I'll tell my vision on why people join a group in a different post". Really, your talking to people. Stop shouting and start thinking. I think you should simply start every channel with a different strategy.

For instance:


You can have a company channel, however what makes you interesting? I wouldn't want to follow updates of a hosting company. What do these guys have to say? Well, in this case I would say that they can use twitter as an Helpdesk. Let all the know that if they have a problem or question that they can easily ask it by tweeting it.

In this example you see that twitter is used as a Helpdesk. But there are millions of ways you can use it. Think of simple website/blog updates which can be just an autobot. Or think of the personal use of twitter.

Some people ask me for what I use Twitter. And since I don't have a company, am still a student, have some knowledge on social media and video and simply like sharing things. I tweet about:

  • Workshops which I attend
  • Remarkable and funny video's
  • Interesting Re-tweets
  • @ replies (reacting on other tweets)
  • Good video tutorials
  • In my opinion good blogposts
  • And sometimes some spanish stuff "Mostly when I feel Spanish on a Friday night ;) "
And why do I do it? I made contacts through twitter. I follow stories on live events which I can't attend. I keep in contact with friends abroad. I use it as SMS with some of my friends. I have gotten a job through twitter.

And Indeed it does seems a bit frightning when you only have 4 followers. But what does a number say ? Exposure.. Maybe these 4 people can help you more than any other person in my followers list. If your interesting, you'll get your followers. It just takes time.

Seems like I needed to write down some of my frustrations..

Do wonder what you guys think about social media strategy.. Should there be one? Should you just start? Who's responsible for the job. IT?

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