Social Media Managers: Most People Don’t Understand the Power of Social Media

The past three weeks have been fascinating.  After four years of blogging, I was lucky enough to have a producer from Fox 5 TVreach out to me via this blog and request that I be a guest commentator regarding social media.

I’m telling you this because I think it’s important to note that I’ve met many smart people over these past few weeks.  And most are still trying to figure out social media. They’re not really sure why they should “like” a brand, and they’re struggling to see the value of engaging with anyone on social media.  They’re hearing horror stories, and they’re a little wary.

It’s interesting: I’ve always felt like I’ve been an “early adopter” of technology. I was selling technology back in 1999 at Mediaplex, working with clients that wanted to advertise via online banners and buttons.  Sometimes I make the assumption that everyone I speak with understands online technology and this is a HUGE mistake. I catch myself sometimes, but I think it’s worth discussing.

Lately Marketers have been in a mad panic to engage with their users via social media. Partially because they understand that social media is changing the way we engage with each other as a culture, and partially because their bosses are telling them that they need to “tick” the social media box in their marketing mix.  This is a dangerous sentiment.

While in the midst of the Fox appearance  I was struck that these topics are all fascinating stories about people that engage in social media. To me, they are an early indicator that people, for the most part, have no idea how POWERFUL social media is. Check out some of the titles:

“Pastor to Married Leaders: Delete Facebook”

“EMT Fired Over Facebook Post

Social Media Managers: One more time for emphasis – most people have no  idea how powerful social media can be!

You and I understand how powerful it can be because we live it and breathe it every day.  We take this for granted.  We assume that everyone understands that you shouldn’t vent about your lousy boss on Facebook.

It’s up to you to help to educate people that social media is a powerful medium. It’s up to you to dictate the tone of a brand’s Facebook page, and to make it clear that you won’t tolerate negativity, solicitous wall posts, and spammers.  It’s up to you to articulate the to the person who has “liked” your brand why this means ANYTHING to them.  They’re still not really sure. They don’t see the benefit. They’ve just signed up for Facebook. Some of them are getting fired for venting about their job on Facebook. They don’t realize that their Facebook “Friend” may be their bosses brother in law. They don’t realize that this is the water-cooler: TIMES 10,000.  They don’t know that they should find your brand in this ecosystem. They think they are here because their friends post fun pictures from when they were 18 years old. They love Facebook, but it’s up to you to educate the real world as to whey they should engage with your brand.  They still don’t see the value. You’re not doing the best job you can. You tell them to “like” your brand, and then you spam their newsfeed.  They see you 5 times a day, and then they start to forget what the heck it is that you’re trying to say to them.

Tread lightly, but reach out. Be respectful, but get your message across. Address issues with Facebook, and come clean.  Social media isn’t a panacea for your brand. There are some drawbacks. Address them. Let people know that if they forward an application your brand has built that all of their Facebook friends may see this activity in their newsfeed, and that this may not be a desirable thing.  It will benefit the viral spread of your message, but it may not benefit your Facebook fan.

Please think about this. Take your consumer into account, and don’t burn these people. they’re just figuring it out. They love that they can get in touch with you on Facebook. Respect them, and educate them about the power of social media. They’ll love you for it.

PLEASE help your customers.

PLEASE listen to your customer.

PLEASE educate your customer.

They love social media, but they need some guidance.

Phew. I’m spent. Over and out.