In a recent post on Content-for-biz, Mary Klest opened with this insightful question and statement:
“If people saw your website in a museum 100 years from now what would they infer from it? If your website is only about products and where to call, you may be missing an opportunity to influence your customers and industry.”
Although the post was titled “Keep Your B2B Web Content Current & Long Lasting,” we can extend the concepts to B2C and sites beyond your company website, such as social media sites.
As a social media administrator for an insurance company, one of my responsibilities is to monitor the activities of our agents on social networks. It’s frustrating when I see agents posting “I SELL LIFE INSURANCE. CALL ME! 608-555-1212” on Facebook and Twitter. Occasionally, I’ll Tweet a response like “@agent Please let me know how many phone calls you got from your 15 Twitter followers after posting your phone number.”
It’s frustrating because these are business people. Do they really believe anyone wants to read tweets or posts reminding everyone they have something to sell and they are waiting by the phone for a call?
In my experience, business owners and brands who are just getting started with social media and social networking tend to think of it as another way to advertise their products and services. They don’t know how to engage their fans and followers, so they resort to talking about themselves and their products. Take it from a guy who follows a lot of brands and local businesses on both Facebook and Twitter—the ones that are advertising rather than engaging are the first ones I remove from my feed. I will not allow them clutter my feed with their self-serving advertisements.
This point is illustrated perfectly by Dave Awl in his guest post on socialmedia.biz:
“Don’t advertise—engage! People come to Facebook to socialize, to be entertained, and to get useful information, but almost nobody comes for the deliberate purpose of being advertised to. To reach people on Facebook, you need to grab their attention by giving them something they need.”
I’m constantly preaching about engagement to business owners, trying to shift their thinking from being all about themselves to being all about their fans and followers. Engagement and constant connection are what keep people coming back for more, not constant self-promotion.
I think the problem lies in the concept of “social media marketing.” To be successful with your social media efforts, I would urge you to eliminate the marketing, and focus on the social.
What examples have you observed of businesses selfishly broadcasting their message at the expense of engagement with their fans and followers?