Social media is for conversation, not broadcasting.

I read with interest the OregonOnline article, Small Business Owners Struggle to Turn Social Media “Likes” Into Sales. While there were some very good points made, I never felt like the writer pulled the piece together and and concluded with a valid point.

Good take-aways from the article:

  • Understand where your clients are spending their time. Spend time in that space with them.
  • Social media levels the playing field.
  • Social media isn’t free: time is money.
  • Social media can keep you top of mind with potential clients.
  • Consistency is important.

Points where I disagreed:

  • I’d advise newbies to sign up and do some listening before they do anything else.
  • Not everyone should keep their personal and business accounts separate.

Missed opportunities:

  • The article states, It’s difficult to create content that the customer wants. How about some content creation tips?
  • How do you start tracking?
  • The article states, It’s hard to measure returns… What do you measure? Social media goals should mirror business goals.

But it was one of the article’s parting sentences that raised the hair on my neck and prompted this blog post: Social media sites give small-business owners a chance to broadcast their company and expertise on a person-to-person level. No, no, no, no, no!

Social media sites are not broadcasting platforms. They are conversation platforms. That, you see, is what makes social media so very different from TV and radio advertising, print ads or billboards. Social media provides both the business owner and the client a unique opportunity to get to know each other better before getting down to business.

Consumers are tired of being talked at or talked to with no opportunity for feedback. They/we want to be heard. We have concerns and suggestions. We are the experts. We use the products. We have great ideas. If only someone would take the time to strike up a conversation and listen to what we have to say. Social media allows a space for business owners and consumers to dialogue on a level playing field. And that’s one of the many values of social media.

Get it? Got it. Good.

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About Mary Rarick

Caffeine-addicted hyphen enthusiast, grammar geek and former editor; lover of shoes, vacuum cleaner tracks and compelling content; enthusiastic, perennial cause adopter; hash tag abuser, connector and social media strategist.
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2 Responses to Social media is for conversation, not broadcasting.

  1. This headline is a great way to present the point. Whereas traditional advertising was a one-way conversation (brand to consumer), social media now makes the conversation two-way, allowing the consumer to talk back to the brand. On your points where you disagreed, I agree with your first point completely — it’s important to listen and understand what you’re getting into before jumping in blindly. However, I would say, in certain instances, it is best to keep your business and personal accounts separate. This recent post on 5 rules for managing your business’ twitter account outlines some of the situations that can arise in that regard.

  2. Mary Rarick says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Debbie. And I agree completely that sometimes it’s best to keep your business and personal accounts separate.

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