The use of social networking is going through the roof. As smartphones and tablets become more pervasive, and 3rd party social media tools proliferate, the use of social media becomes easier to use and manage. Due to these trends it can become tempting to share, share, and share some more since it’s so effortless and quick. But, is there a hidden cost we’re not fully considering by doing so?
A recent blog post from Seth Godin, entitled, All we need is 250 votes…, referred to a contest put on my Chase and Living Social. Small businesses across the country took to the social airwaves and started blasting out pleas for votes in order to become eligible for a whopping grant from the sponsors.
The chances of the participating companies actually getting one of the few grants is very slim, but it’s worth trying right? It’s just a few tweets and status updates. Ah, but there’s the rub. If no one reads and responds to the posts, then nothing happens. You need people to respond. You need them to give, not get. So, you post the plea again, then through another social channel. C’mon people!
With emotional bank accounts we know that we can occasionally draw from it as long as we’ve put in to it steadily. For example, if we’ve made our son’s ball games 10 times in a row, we can miss one and still be in Tommy’s good graces.
I think this is a lot like the experience with social media. As long as we’ve steadily made deposits by sharing posts of great value, we can occasionally draw by asking people to do something. Where we need to be careful is what warrants a withdrawal? When is the right time to ask for action?
Learning from my Facebook Page
In looking at my Facebook Page I see that my two most popular posts of late are a vacation photo and a post about the passing of Stephen Covey. Neither of these asked for any action to be taken and they both evoked positive emotions. This tells me that the community wants these kinds of posts.
Related to this I recently polled my Facebook Fans and asked them how often they like to hear from Pages they’ve Liked. The #1 response was once a day followed closely by once a week. Note that since I’m a B2B business most of my Fans are other business owners. If they were not business owners the number one response would probably have been once a week.
This tells me that we need to be super picky about what we’re posting. Or, we’ll be tuned out just like a Tivo. The real downside to arbitrarily posting whatever is on our daily agenda is that when we actually want people to do something meaningful to us, our posts fall on deaf ears. Or worse, no ears because we’ve been unliked, hidden and blocked. I can't afford that and I'll bet you can't either.
What Dan Kennedy Had To Say
Dan Kennedy is a well-known marketing guru. In his most recent No BS Marketing Letter he shared a stat that 52% of online US consumers have Liked or subscribed to a company’s social media posts. But about one-third of them have subsequently broken the connection. The #1 reason: Too much communication. Obviously the too much communication had too little value, too, right?
Look, the bottom line is that by engaging your community and giving them something of value each and every time you post to your social feeds, you are building up your social capital. Protect this capital just as closely as any other asset of your business. It’s really easy to squander it and lose the value you’ve worked so hard to build up. I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this. What does social capital mean to you? How easy do you think it is to build it up or lose it? What do you use your social capital for?
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