I have attended a seminar recently about how much social one can be in a virtual world. Although networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others redefined how we as humans interact, one thing remains, we are still humans and do have boundaries when it comes to how social we can be.
What is a social behaviour ?
Social in its core is being interactive and having a conversation with people on different occasions about various topics. As we move from being social through physical gatherings and telephone conversations into the virtual world provided by social networks, we forgot one thing, we can only be social if we really know the people we interact with, we can only be social if we can follow up and engage in real conversations that prove to be mutually beneficial to both parties. How can you be social if you have more than 500 people listed as your friends and more than 1000 people listening on the conversations you are making?
Redefine Social networking
The famous quote by Julias Ceasor or king Philip II, king of Macedon “Divide and Conquer” should be our guide to rationalizing the importance of being unsocial in social networking. If the essence of social marketing and social networking is to actively engage with customers and clients. How can you do that if they are thousands or millions? How can you make sure your message is received and you are truly being up close and social with your key customers through social networking? Social is synonymous to building communities, we used to call web forums communities and still do because of how interactive they are. People like to talk and on the virtual world they like to contribute which is why forums still live and are still active. If we look at Forums we see there are millions of small groups online with members from different parts of the world. They join forums and select discussions that relate to them and believe they can be heard and interacted with.
I am not saying let’s dump social platforms and go back to forums, I am simply saying we need to be smart and learn by example. Forums work because they are grouped under small topics, social networks can act in a similar manner, so instead of building a page for the company why not build multiple pages per product or service and communicate each to the target group of customers or potential clients.
So 5 tips to being effective in social marketing by becoming unsocial are:
- Build a strategy, if your strategy is to gain brand awareness, you need to be more social. However, if you want conversions and customer relations building, be unsocial to some so you can speak with your targeted few.
- Be selective, not all social platforms work well for companies, don’t be on one or the other for the sake of it. So you might skip Facebook if your potential customers are companies and businesses that do no usually engage in conversation through Facebook.
- Be smart about the frequency of your social interaction. As humans we can not consume social interaction as fast as some systems are set to send instant notifications. So if you are not building a round the clock weather service, you need not tweet more than 3 times a day.
- Build a pattern where customers can expect to engage with you in a social conversation about a topic of interest.
- Be interactive and responsive to communications going on your social portal. Many companies do not response in timely manner to messages sent across their social channels.
So here is my take on how being unsocial might be more effective in a social platform… share your thoughts and cases where being unsocial was more effective.