This site functions as an archive of Conner's Blog, which was a blog from 2006-2014 located at Images and links are likely to be broken.

Dear Businesses (or a quick gripe about social media)

Dear Businesses:

This is a quick note to thank you for existing. Without you I would be forced to do everything myself. Make my own soap, spin my own thread, and bury my own Internet cable. So thanks.

However, I have a gripe; many of you seem to be entering a world I've existed in for quite some time. It's sometimes referred to as social media, but in reality it's just another place where conversations can happen. It's a virtual water cooler that is full of whatever beverage happens to be sitting near at hand.

Some of you get it, and by get it I mean you don't make me want to throw whale blood on your storefront. The rest of you need to step back and think about what you are doing (or what your consulting company is doing). So here are three questions you should ask yourself one week after launching your social media strategy.

  1. Have you engaged with anyone in a multi-reply conversation?
  2. Are you targeting the right people?
  3. Why are you doing this?

Question 1 addresses whether you are engaging with your audience in a meaningful manner. Anyone can send out messages, good social media should make your customers your conversation partners.

Question 2 might use the word targeting, but it's a good one to think about. In the last few months I've been followed by coffee shops from St. Cloud, businesses from Chicago, and in one case every store that a certain company has regardless of where they were located. Geography is just a part of this of course; just remember that just because it's free to follow someone doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Question 3 is one you should have asked before you launched. Even if you did, on day seven you should ask it again. Is it to broadcast your message? Then make it obvious you aren't there to engage. There is nothing wrong with broadcasting your daily specials (though it's less effective), but make it clear you aren't there to answer your costumer's complaints. If you are engaging, are you engaging as the business or as an individual? This is an important things to consider and something to decide on right now. It's annoying when businesses suddenly change their manner on a social media platform for no apparent reason.

There is a lot more to this of course. Even the best planned strategy can fall on it's face. Still, if you catch things quickly, whether you are doing it in house or paying a so-called expert. You can avoid irritating an influential customer base.

Sincerely, Conner