Posted on November 3, 2009
Filed Under (Advice, Networking, Social Media) by jennifer

The difference between social media sites, sites such as Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, and non-social media or Internet sites is that Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn allow — and encourage — users to start and actively engage in meaningful conversations. Yet too many people — even many so-called “social media experts” — are using these social media sites in anti-social ways.

Instead of participating in conversations — that is, commenting on people’s Facebook or blog posts or replying to comments left on their posts; replying to or retweeting people’s tweets on Twitter; or sharing their connections and recommendations on LinkedIn — these people see Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn mainly (or purely) as ways to promote themselves and/or their business. In other words, instead of treating social media as the two-way street or superhighway it was intended to be, to facilitate or drive conversations (and relationships, both personal and professional), these anti-social networkers see sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, even Facebook, as a one-way path to their door.

But the purpose and beauty of social media, at least from a business perspective, is that it is a simple, inexpensive, yet incredibly powerful way to connect with existing and prospective customers (even partners, vendors, and suppliers), to engage them in conversation, find out their preferences and what they like and don’t like about your business, and build a relationship with them.

As survey after customer survey has shown, consumers like to buy from people — businesses — they feel they know and can trust. But if you are not holding up your side of the conversation, if you are unwilling or unable to engage with or respond to your customers on sites like Twitter and Facebook, even LinkedIn, even though you have a presence there, you are doing both your customers and your business a disservice.

Hey, social media is not for everyone, or for every business. And there is nothing wrong with deciding not to jump on the social media bandwagon, especially if you are uncomfortable sharing information or taking part in online conversations. But if you/your business has made a commitment to social media, that is, has a presence on Facebook and/or Twitter and/or LinkedIn, and you hope to benefit from it, don’t be a wallflower — or anti-social. Join the conversation. Respond to comments (both good and bad). And be sure to comment on other people’s posts or comments — and share the ones you think your network or customers might enjoy or benefit from.

(2) Comments   


Kjerstin Klein on 4 November, 2009 at 10:11 am #

I couldn’t agree more! Good points well said 🙂 We have spent nearly a generation retreating into digital anonymity and now it is time for the cyberverse to start reconnecting – the internet is a tool for us to use so that time, language and distance are no longer obstacles to overcome in order to connect with others of similar mind/interest.

Mitchell Harper on 4 November, 2009 at 5:51 pm #

Great post Jen. We seem to get the most traction and “face time” from our YouTube channel, which is just me in a meeting room with a whiteboard. We’ve had 250,000 views in around 8 weeks, and we take away the “one sidedness” of the YouTube videos through Twitter.

(For reference here are the links – Jen feel free to remove if you think they don’t add to the post)


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