Putting the Social Back Into Social Media

by on September 5, 2011

in Social Media Marketing

Get Personal with Social MediaIt’s easy to see how so many companies simply don’t understand social media. Working with some larger ecommerce websites on a regular basis, you’d be surprised and how clueless even the big boys can be. That’s why I was encouraged when I recently came across an article  about how One Click Ventures made the decision to feature photos of their social media staff on the social services that the E-Retailer uses. This is exactly what many companies should do.

Overcoming the Reluctance to Get Personal

Unfortunately most companies are reluctant to interact with their customers on a personal level and to be successful in social media, this aversion must be overcome. Here are just a few reasons off the top of my head why:

Social Media is Social – By definition it focuses on interactions between people. Therefore an individual or company using social media must at least integrate the behavior of real people into their use. Conversation, sharing and discussing a variety of topics is what people do. KLM interacts with passengers regularly on Facebook.

Differentiation – There are thousands if not millions of businesses attempting to use social media to build stronger relationships, but many are doing it wrong. Companies that are comfortable with direct customer interaction can quickly differentiate themselves from the sea of competitors. Southwest Airlines does a good job on Twitter.

Blatant Self Promotion = Noise – Most companies use social media for a business purpose, so social media users generally accept that some level of self-promotion will occur. However a constant does of one-way communication focused on products will alienate users, forcing them to filter those users. Limiting self-promotion and injecting some humanity into a social media program is among the best ways to find the proper balance between promotion and value.

In conclusion, I think that many companies are reluctant to get personal because they feel that there is a high likelihood that they’ll make a mistake that will result in poor publicity. While understandable, I feel that if social media has been selected as a component to your marketing plan it should be done well or not at all. And if a mistake is made, don’t worry it’s part of being human.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

jamila November 6, 2011 at 8:42 am

Thanks for giving examples of what works. Personally, I don’t think I’d follow SW Airlines’ twitter, I don’t see why anyone would. I read their twitter page and it looks like a lot of clutter I could do without. Not very useful. But alas they’ve got tons of followers. Perhaps you could explain why this is so successful? Thanks.


Bill Rowland December 20, 2011 at 9:14 am


Thanks for your comment.

SW Airlines does a good job using Twitter, but that’s subjective; there are many companies that do a crappy job.

Frankly I don’t know if Southwest’s Twitter program is what I would consider successful. If you define success as having thousands of followers then it has definitely achieved its goal. However, the jury may still be out if the goal is to put more butts in seats, generate greater loyalty or strengthen its brand.


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