How a Business Can Go Wrong with Social Media

August 25, 2008

The first thing you need to know before you examine what you might be doing wrong, is a definition of what social media actually is. A very basic simple definition of social media is “a group of tools and sites that let you easily create and share content online.” The key word in this definition is share. Too often, businesses will focus on publishing or distributing something new, and miss the whole point of social media, causing everything to go wrong.

People use social media sites to share useful content. If you, as a business, go into social media hoping to roll out something new, something that isn’t useful and interesting to people using the site, you are not tapping into what social media was created to do.

Publishing and distributing involve one-way channels. You, as a business, are seeking to get things out to potential consumers. Social media was not designed to push things out to its users, but to make it easier for them to communicate and share things. Whenever you use social media for something it was not intended to do, you not only miss the boat, you also take the chance of “angering the natives.” People do not like when they feel pushed into something, and that is exactly what you are doing when you start trying to push something using social media.

The best way to use social media is to give more than you receive. While this may seem a little counterintuitive, you are, in fact looking to make money and expand, it is the best way to make money and use social media effectively. If you provide something that is both useful and informative to a social media site, those who use it will praise it. This is how you make friends in social media. When they find something they like, they share it with others. The more they share the useful thing that you have provided, the more people that you bring to your site. While you may not be getting money or conversions from the content you post on a social media site, you are drawing more people into you site and all of these people are your potential customers. Don’t forget all of the potential links you can also draw from something like this. There is no sure fire way to ensure that you get a substantial reward from your activities, but this is an effective way to make sure that you are putting yourself out there with a good possibility of a good return.

Written By: James Blackburn, Website Office Staff Writer

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