A Guide for the Social Media Tone Deaf

by Dave on March 12, 2009

You probably won’t hear me.  You’re probably busy using Twitter to chase sales leads, or standing on your virtual corner repeating yourself over and over, like the poor souls who seem to inhabit every major intersection in big cities.

It’s not your fault.  You might have gotten bad advice from someone who is a self-proclaimed “expert” in social media.  Note to those folks – this is for you too.  You might not have noticed that the new media is different than the old advertising.  You probably should have stopped and watched for a little while to learn the ropes, but hey, we’re all busy.   Since we’re all busy, some quick advice:

1. The new media isn’t the old media. Social Media is like a DVR on steroids. Users pick their channel(s) and they “watch” what they want, when they want. They are particularly adamant about not seeing commercials, unless they’ve asked for them. They will either actively or passively ignore you – you will waste your time.

2. Social media doesn’t work like an old school marketing channel where repetition=success. Repetitive messages are worse than spam, you’ll be un-friended, blocked, ridiculed and/or ignored. If you want to stand on the corner and rant, go ahead, but don’t expect anyone to care.

3. Social Media is not your virtual showroom, where you jump on every person who enters and try close a sale. Just because someone mentioned the key words that you are watching doesn’t mean they were asking for your sales pitch. If they asked for help, help. If they didn’t ask – leave them alone. No one likes to be pestered (see #1).

4. He/She with the most friends/followers/subscribers DOES NOT win. Unless of course, you think that 1, 2, or 3 above will work.  Then have at it. If people automatically respond to your friend/follow request, do you a) think they really know who you are b) really care about your message? The best contacts in social media are the ones that find you because of  what you contribute.  Contribute something of value and the followers will naturally arrive at your door.

Social Media can be the worst sort of black hole – misplaced effort will get sucked in and disappear. Your efforts will have no impact will and because its passive, you’ll be none the wiser.

Everyone else: If you run across the Social Media Tone Deaf in your travels, feel free to share.  The sanity you save may be your own.

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