Putting the Social in Social Media

A friend recently lost a business Twitter account, which he had built and nurtured for several months through daily activities. Every day, he would share interesting information, retweet others, link new posts, promote products, leave comments, and… converse. The company decided to “go another way.” The other way seems to be mostly scheduled tweets with all tweets auto posting to Facebook, a few other accounts RT-ing every tweet, and very little conversation. Will this work for this B2C company? Honestly, I don’t know — it might, but I hope not. This isn’t sour grapes for my friend; I just don’t want to see social media become another advertising, spammy, pitch-the-product wasteland — do you?

What is “Being Social?”

According to dictionary.com, one of the many definitions of social is, “Living or disposed to live in companionship with others or in a community, rather than in isolation: People are social beings.” I believe this describes social media at its best — communities.

What is a Community?

Communities share, care, and help; they’re formed around people with similar interests and needs, and forged by helping one another, which evolves into promoting the community. The lifeblood of any community is conversation. Without conversation, there is no community — there is only promotion. Communities communicate.

How do you put the social in social media?

  • Talk WITH people, not AT them
  • Listen and promote others
  • Ask how you can help
  • Share valuable content
  • Don’t be mean, nasty, or vindictive
  • Don’t primarily promote yourself, but do so occasionally
  • Be courteous, and be a real person

Is it the responsibilty of a business using social meda to be social? Is the best business social media promotion — NOT promoting? How do you put the social in social media? Let us know.