Monday, June 25, 2012

How Social Media Doesn't Work (and How It Does)

It's morning. We wake up and turn on the, Internet, TV or radio for weather report, music, traffic or companionship. A voice starts talking to us while we pour our coffee.

A commercial comes on, "Log in to our Facebook page at...!" the voice says. We stop and stare at the TV. "Log in to our Facebook page?" we say, dumbfounded at the idea. "You sell sneakers. What benefit can your Facebook Page give me?"

So we check. Nope, no sales, no discounts, just facts about the store and a overenthusiastic comment or two - then a lot of questions on the Wall that have been left unanswered.

How Social Media doesn't work: If your business has a Facebook page, you'd better have something there to make it worth people's time and respond to them when they ask questions.

We're on the way to the office, radio in the car is on. The DJ, who clearly has been given a free meal at a local restaurant in return for a positive comment is raving about the awesome large portions. "Don't forget the pickles" he says, eagerly echoed by his sidekick. "The pickles?" we echo. How stupid do they think we are? It's obvious that they've been fed for free or paid to endorse this restaurant. And, we ask ourselves, is this DJ really someone we admire? Do we *care* what kind of food he likes? Probably not.

How Social Media doesn't work: Paid endorsements are not, and never will be, Social Media.

We start our morning email review and there, on Facebook, is a picture on a friend's feed. It's a book we have never heard of - the cover is appealing. The friend is someone whose taste we trust. So we take a few minutes and look around for information about that book. And we find a video trailer that delights and charms. We share the trailer with our Facebook group, our Twitter and we buy the book.

That's how Social Media works.


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