A client of mine was “grumbling” the other day about social media. She said, “I know I SHOULD be using Facebook and LinkedIn – but I just can’t BRING myself to do it.”
For her – the prospect of social media is “no fun” – even though in real life, she’s a very social person. It seems she hasn’t made the connection yet – that behind the screen icons there are real people.
She’s buying into the notion that social networking is about racking up numbers beside your name. She thinks that in order to use social media “successfully” she needs 30K Twitter followers and 5000 friends on Facebook.
To her, participating in social media is about as appealing as putting on a sequined tube top and a shiny mini skirt – donning hooker heels and heading to the streets to shake her money maker and “sell” her stuff. She hasn’t discovered yet the true secret ingredient of social media:
Social Media’s Magical Ingredient is PEOPLE!
Vered said it BEST in Value of Social Networking:
if you have formed real connections with a handful of people through social networking, you are using this tool correctly. But if you have thousands of followers, who are at best a collection of meaningless faces and broken sentences, and often place an overwhelming demand on your time, you are simply allowing fake networking to seduce you. There’s absolutely no value in that, business or personal.
There are PEOPLE behind each screen name. People with families. People with jobs 0r who need jobs. People with wants. People with needs. People who -by nature – want to be connected and feel connected.
It’s this NEED to be connected that is driving the whole social media frenzy.
However, that fact seems to be getting lost in the hoopla.
It’s positively MIND BLOWING how many different social networking sites there are online today. I was surprised when I saw Brian Chappell’s exceptional work on compiling the 2009 Social Network Analysis Report. There were several “big” social networking sites on the list that I didn’t recognize. One of those sites is Badoo. Acording to Wikipedia,
“Badoo is a multi-lingual, London based, social networking website. It allows users to share photos and videos, create “reportages” of their lives, and promote themselves and their work.”
With 41 MILLION registered users – if Badoo were a country – they’d be the 29th most populated country in the world, following South Africa and coming in ahead of Columbia. It’s kind of a big site to overlook… but I’m not the only US citizen overlooking Badoo. However, residents of Morocco, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are getting connected socially online thanks to Badoo.
Brian’s post illustrates how the growth of social networking sites are “clustered” geographically…. just like the growth maps for other social networking sites. If you stop to think about it – it makes PERFECT sense. Real life connections are mirrored in these online connections – and real life connections are often based on either DNA or geography. It makes sense that digital connections would follow similar paths.
In, The Myth of Brand Loyalty, Chris Brogan writes of his disappointment with Apple – because they sent him an email marketing piece hyping the latest Macbook – which Chris has recently purchased. OUCH!!! So much for the “illusion” that when you buy a Mac – you’re a part of a “family”. No, you’re a spec on a spreadsheet – not even a decimal point – and don’t you forget it!
When you’re a Mac fan – you connect with other Mac and Apple fans. However, Chris learned that while he may share a bond with other Mac users – he doesn’t have a relationship with Apple. Perhaps he may have a relationship with the employees at a local Apple store… but as for the company named for a piece of fruit – not so much.
Part of participating in social media is connecting with PEOPLE. Connection is what your customers crave!
Despite what you may have been told by the latest guru selling his latest “social media makes your cash register ring” ebook – it’s the whole ability to CONNECT and LISTEN.
I can’t even write the word “listen” without thinking of Liz Strauss over at the Successful Blog… how’s THAT for an example of “branding” and making a “connection?
THAT’S THE KIND OF CONNECTION YOU WANT TO BE MAKING!!!
When people think of “X” – they think of you. You can’t achieve that in a single blog post – and you most certainly can’t achieve that via junk mail.
If there’s nothing else to be learned from Micheal Jackson’s tragic life and death – it’s that fans are no substitute for real relationships and real connections.