Like Drinking, Be Reponsible when Using Social Media

Chris Brogan on company presence management:

Let’s say you build a pretty decent stream of conversations on Facebook. Maybe it’s your junior comms person and they’re just drumming up excitement for a new product that the people want. Everything’s going great, and there’s an active group, and people feel like they’re being treated like humans. Know who comes next?

Marketing. In some companies, they come crashing down from the hills like angry Mongol raiders, set on converting people from interested community members into hot leads to purchase. They start asking to push materials down the community channel. They ask for lists. They push for opt-ins for email marketing.

Is it the right move? Not as listed above. Not if that’s not how you set the presence up to begin with. It will feel like horrid bait and switch. People will flock away pretty darned fast if you switch them over into convert mode. They’ll also hate you if you just pull up stakes and run after the product is launched. If they’ve committed to talking with you at those points of presence, they want you there for the long term.

Be wary of this. Think further out than a single campaign. If you set up the direct line, you have to be willing to answer it for more than the short term.

I don’t always agree with Brogan (or even the rest of the article), but on this I think he’s spot-on.

The most important thing for you to do with social media and interactions is to talk with your customers and to listen to them. Give them the “direct line,” as Brogan says elsewhere in the article, and then embrace that method of communications. It shouldn’t be a single point of contact for all your customers, but instead a network of people who are invested in their work who are passionate about serving people and connecting with the people on the other side of their work.

Say something.