Social Media: Consume? Contribute? Collide?

It’s Just not for Me

There are multiple schools of thought when it comes to social networking.

  • It’s daunting. “I signed up. Now what?”
  • It’s time consuming. “3 hours on Facebook? I was just looking at Sarah’s pics!”
  • It’s a waste of time. “You could be doing something so much better with your time.”
  • I just don’t get it. “Why would someone want to get online and tell everyone their business…pictures included.”
  • It’s not for me. “Yeah. I have a Twitter account, but it’s too much.”

It’s okay. Go ahead. Raise your hand you non-believers. Even I, a now converted Twitter freak, once DESPISED Twitter. I mean..who cared that I was waiting in line at Valvoline to get my oil changed? Waste of my freaking time, right?

No. Not for some mom & pop, or big chain for that matter, who may have been following me. Think of  the targeted message they could send me in 3 months.

Customers…Our Boss?

In the past, we marketers, told consumers what they liked, how great our quality was, and how our products would change their lives. Now, customers have the upper hand. They’re researching, reviewing, and believe me, whether they love it or hate it, their telling their 15 million “friends” or followers what they think about YOUR product or brand. It’s like “word of mouth” on crack!

The Better Question:

What’s the best way for you to use  social media platforms?

#1) Consume.

Or what I like to call the fly on the wall approach. You may as well pull out some popcorn for this approach because it ‘s spectating at an all time high. This is where you pull up a seat and just virtually listen.

When you consume, you don’t have to say much. Instead, you simply review what people (customers and competitors) are saying on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, and any other social media platform.

Being a consumer does take time. However, it may take much less time than that of a contributor (depending on how deep you get into consuming the information), and the information you gather can become invaluable to your marketing  strategy…and frankly it may help some other departments as well (i.e. customer service and security. You’d be surprised what people put out there. ~I snicker.)

One thing to caution…it’s not enough to simply consume. The value is achieved when you do something with the information gathered.

#2) Contribute.

Bye, bye fly on the wall. Pass you the ball.

As a contributor, you’re an active participant. You no longer just look at what people are saying. Instead, you’re out there, fully immersed.

Contributors use social platforms as either a social networking tool, a social media tool, or both. (Find out more about the difference between the two from Digital Likeness >)

Regardless of how you’re using the platform, the bottom line is you’re engaged.

Being a contributor in the social world can have great value. It builds brand awareness, can lend to brand loyalty, has the ability to drive traffic, and more. The best part is that it gives you an opportunity to not only “hear” what consumers are saying, it also gives you an opportunity to become part of the conversation. If it’s done correctly, you’ll be the virtual talk of the town.

However, compared to consumption, this takes more thought and time. There’s the need to have a good social media strategy and frankly, it’s imperative you’re providing content your customer feels has some type of value. (Start here to learn how online content is like sex. To dive further into the importance of strategy, click here.)

#3) Collide.

No. This isn’t the trainwreck that happened when my mom created a YouTube video about Einstein’s theory of relativity to present to 5th graders. (Just kidding.)

Collision happens when consuming and contributing join forces and result in fierce online content.

As stated before, great online content is achieved when contributors generate content that customer perceives as valuable. This doesn’t necessarily mean advertising a discount. Instead, it simply means providing something worth reading – worth staying engaged.

In addition,an essential part of generating content your customer will devour means speaking a language they’ll appreciate. If your customers are sarcastic, wit may be right up their alley. On the other hand, if their formal, then set the table because formalities are in order.

When you act as a consumer of social media, these things (what you customer values and the language they appreciate) will become apparent,  providing you with the opportunity to generate some kick butt content. (The result: Visits up. Retweets up. Views up… Check.)

(And by the way, don’t forget consuming also allows you to see what the competition is doing, providing you a chance to respond quickly, and maybe even keep them on their toes.)

Is it for you?

Yes. Being involved in the social media world is time consuming, and it takes a while to get used to. However, the benefits are pricesless. So is it important your’re a part of the social networking crowd. Absolutely! The question is simply to what extent. That is for you to decide.

To learn more contact:

Regina R. Patterson, M.B.A.

Strategic Marketing & Online Content Consultant

info@reginapatterson.com

616-443-6401

1 comment

  1. […] Looking to enter the social media world? Learn what practice is best for your organization […]

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