Monday, July 6, 2009

social media problems for business

Many social media pundits are proclaiming that the biggest problem for corporations is having specific goals. Take this recent blog post for example:

"If we want to be successful using social media tools, we need to know a few things to make the tools work:

* Who we are.

* What we offer.

* Who we’re offering that to.

* Which tool is a match."

"What We Gotta Know About These Social Media Tools"

This formulation is still the old fashioned company-centric model that isn't working anymore. Besides, shouldn't you have already figured out who you are and what you offer, long before attempting to invade social media?

I suggest a better approach. Customer-centric.

You need to know:

* Who your customer is, what their problems are, what they dislike about products currently on the market.

* How your product solves problems for customers, in their own words, not according to your mission statement.

* Who is seeking these solutions that your product can provide.

* How to behave like a normal, friendly, helpful member of a social network community.

To simply state a commercial goal, find a social network that is appropriate for your sales message, then spam it with hype and self-promotion, mixed with stupid inspirational quotes?


You're still trapped in 1950s, pre-Web Revolution thinking.

One of the most successful "goals" for business in social media is Be Social. Answer customer complaints, offer special social network community discounts, link to helpful web pages that are not connected with your company, engage in conversations with average people, learn about the market and its unmet needs.

Fundamental Truth About Social Media:

We do NOT join social networks to receive sales messages, learn about investment opportunities (mostly con jobs anyway), or listen to corporate propaganda. We socialize. We share free legal mp3s. We link to cool YouTube videos and important updates on news sites.

Your first mistake as a business, when it comes to social media, is to think the community members are sitting ducks, loaded with cash, craving to spend money on your junk. That's not reality. That's marketing department/social media pundit fantasy.

Be a good neighbor in social media.

Tweet links to valuable information, interesting videos, cool podcasts, relevant web pages, and only occasionally -- your own blog posts or ecommerce site. Please don't flood Twitter with inspirational quotes, that ploy is getting rather annoying.

Interact like a warm human being, not a cold spreadsheet.


Liz Strauss said...

Hi Stephen!
I'm with you and very customer centric. My worry is the folks who don't know even what I laid out before they start broadcasting on Twitter.

Always good to know when I've said something that wasn't clear. Thank you for straightening this out here. We need to keep folks always focused on the customer.

steven edward streight said...

Liz, why won't you interact with me on Twitter? I say nice things about you, your new avatar, etc. and I get shunned.

I refrained from putting your name or blog name in this post, because I was reacting to a snippet, not to you or your marketing work.