One of the most powerful social marketing strategies is to be an actual person on your social networks. I teach this at all my social marketing seminars: You are participating on social networks not on follow me so I can sell you something networks. The people most likely ever to help you with your mission are, in fact, people. If you aren’t also a person, chances are your social network will rarely, if ever, help you.
Web Social Marketing Garbage
With a little experience, you’ll be able to identify higher- and lower-quality social network presences. Consider, for example, various types of Twitter streams:
Twitter News Feed
Social network service or sin? A news feed can’t hide its nature. It’s typically a steady stream of tweets each of which includes a hypertext link. If you’re interested in the niche the news feed serves, then you might find value in the feed. A news feed’s owner may simply wish to share a passion and believes posting links to articles is a nice service. It’s also possible a feed’s owner provides some useful article links and other purely commercial links. Clicking some of the links generates income for the feed’s owner… and that’s the only reason the feed exists. It isn’t social.
Have you seen one of these Tweet streams? Each tweet is a retweet of someone else’s tweet. It’s nice to have your tweets propagate farther because other users retweet them. However, a retweeter demonstrates no independent thought or involvement; in fact, a programmer wouldn’t have to be clever to write software that automatically retweets tweets containing specific words or phrases. If a twitter stream contains only retweets, how do you know you’re not just following a robot? A robot isn’t social.
Twitter Aphorism Engine
Were you really so taken by that quotation that you had to tweet it? Really? It was that amazing? If someone’s Twitter stream contains one aphorism in 100 tweets, get over it. But if you find two, three, or more aphorisms in 20 tweets, assume the tweeter is short on original thought and probably won’t engage you much in conversation.
Twitter Niche Authority
You can recognize a Twitter niche authority by its stream of declaratives about a particular subject. “Buy rubber tires; they’re more effective than plastic.” “Use a turpentine-based cleaner to remove oil stains from burlap.” “Never store turpentine-soaked burlap in a closed container.” None of the tweets in such a stream engages readers. Niche authorities aren’t social.
As you build a social network on Twitter or Facebook, seek people who share your interests and sensibilities. Find people who converse as you converse with your friends. Avoid these other Twitter types or, if you follow them, don’t expect them ever to be social with you.
Can you describe other Twitter streams that clearly aren’t going to engage followers in social interactions? Please leave your ideas in a comment.