I’m not great at social media. I don’t tweet nearly as often as I should, my Facebook Page hasn’t been updated in ages and I can’t remember the last time I looked at Google Plus. So I certainly couldn’t be described as a social media junkie.
But despite my lack of updates, I do have a look at other people’s messages fairly often – if several times a week can be thought of as ‘fairly often’ that is. One thing I’ve noticed is that quite a lot of local businesses seem to be missing the point entirely. A social media platform, whether it is Facebook, Twitter or any other, is not Exchange & Mart or the local classifieds section of your weekly free newspaper and it can’t be treated as such.
I have seen so many local business Twitter feeds that consist of something like:
Do you need our product or service? Call us today on 555 55515 15
Good morning! Have you seen our product? It’s great! Call us immediately on 555 55515 15
Did you know our product is fantastic? It is! Call us and find out on 555 55515 15
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly not interested in liking a Facebook Page or following a Twitter feed that consists entirely of posts like the above. Even if I am a big fan of the business and I regularly buy the product or use the service, repetitive one-sided messages like that just do not interest me. If I’ve read one of them I’ve read them all. So if a Facebook Page is simply spouting a sales slogan ad infinitum, or a Twitter user is repeatedly tweeting COME AND BUY STUFF or USE OUR SERVICE COS WE’RE GREAT it is not going to be liked or followed. In fact, just like the bag of dog shit hanging in a tree, it is going to really annoy me.
What Are You Looking For?
What I am looking for when deciding to follow a personality or a business on Social Media is information and entertainment. Yes, I expect to see the latest widget being plugged occasionally. But it should be combined with a genuine social media presence. An engaging presence which informs, entertains and ‘socialises’. I want to feel that I have a connection, however tenuous, and I can perhaps even have a conversation with that presence.
Somebody might have gone to a fair bit of trouble to package their message but I don’t care. They should be making more of an effort than simply hanging it in a tree. I am very aware, just like everybody else, that I can easily unsubscribe, unlike, or unfollow and choose not to see these irritating and outdated advertisements and I will.
So I might not be great at promoting myself with Social Media, but it seems obvious to me that local business owners that want to take advantage of the amazing power these platforms can bring need to be a bit more savvy. Facebook doesn’t work like a commercial TV channel in 1985 and Twitter users aren’t there to read classified ads. To build an effective presence on any chosen Social Media platform a local business will need to take a little time to engage with their followers and stop hanging bags of dog shit in trees.