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When “being there” isn’t enough

I’m as guilty as the next guy. When explaining Twitter (among other social media tools) to my parents and more (ahem) traditional associates, I often take the easy way out. After failing to articulate the real value of the medium, I’ll point to the latest data and say, “There’s exponential growth and at the very least, it’s important to have a presence.” While this can be an effective strategy to get some early dollars or resources from your company, it’s critical that we don’t lose sight of the “social” in social media. Presence is nothing. This is not radio, television, nor the early Internet. In the social media world, broadcasting is obsolete. Interaction is everything.

Below are just a few examples of mistakes we have all seen in social media marketing, along with some simple adjustments that will help you connect with customers and market more effectively.

Are you addicted to TwitterFeed?

Have a blog, a newsletter or a press release RSS feed? Are you claiming that you’re “active on Twitter” because you’re just dropping that feed into a service like TwitterFeed? Well, the Twitter community may be relatively young, but they are savvy. They will ignore you and your brand like a Nigerian business proposal. Add value, share information, talk to current and potential customers. The more human you become, the more others will listen—and embrace your occasional promotions.

Is your newsletter a carbon copy of your blog?

It’s easy to re-purpose your blog into a newsletter and vice-versa. But have you adjusted anything to take advantage of the medium? Are you taking advantage of the opportunity to have your audience comment and share on your blog by asking for their take? In the e-mail, have you given the proper attention to how your audience can share individual items with one another? Email isn’t the newest kid on the block—but it’s still valid in the social media space and king when it comes to the pass-along.

Wondering why no one will be your friend?

If you’ve got a “fan page” or are advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social networks, have you thought about what value you are adding? Many marketers get so excited by the prospects of hyper-targeting prospects (see: “you’re 32 and still single?”), they forget to see the real opportunity social networks provide. Present value before you present your marketing message. Is there an application that is useful to consumers that they’d likely share with their friends? Can that application relate to your product? In real estate? How about an app that allows users to “sell their neighborhood”—with home listings (by your or your real estate company of course) underneath. Are you a restaurant operator? Provide coupons that people can “gift” to one another. It’s another great way to empower the best marketers on the planet– your customers.

Does your social media presence add value to your product or customer relationship? If you can’t answer that—then maybe it’s time to start over.

Have you adjusted your social media strategy from broadcasting to engaging? This is a blog after all, so sound off with your lessons learned.

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