Over the past week I’ve seen an amazing number of what can only be called “missteps” in social and it got me wondering whether being social is just too hard for most businesses. In particular what has amazed me is the number of those who have been less than careful with their social presence who are supposed to be in a position of advising others on the use of social media – marketers and PR companies in particular.
Social Is Too Hard
Economically times are tough. Every one is pressed for time. The “do more with less” philosophy is running rampant and driving business is what is expected of everyone at a company. It seems that in reducing the amount of time any one channel receives being social has become too hard for a lot of businesses, particularly businesses who are supposedly associated with being social. This is a worrying trend. What seems to be missing from these organizations is the understanding that while social media are channels through which you can communicate, the receivers at the end of that channel have to be nurtured, relationships have to be built, trust has to be gained. All of that takes time, time that apparently cannot be spared by these companies.
Over the past week I have seen small businesses berate and argue with customers on Twitter, large PR company employees use their personal Twitter accounts to comment disparagingly about people, conference organizers make demands of speakers in return for nothing and small PR companies use Twitter like a Press release outlet. Are we all so rushed that we have given up even the pretense of being social? Are we all just so desperate to get our message out that we don’t care about the image we portray?
Has Social Become Too Hard For Us?
There is no doubt that being social is hard work. It is time consuming and can sometimes lead to disappointment. Anyone who has been in business longer than five years knows that this has nothing to do with social media. Before Twitter we went to events and networked. We would “work” the room, dipping in and out of conversations, hoping that someone might be interested in what we did for a living and maybe just maybe we would make a useful contact that we could nurture into a lead and eventually a sale.
Many people still work this way, without the help of any social media channels and do it well. They take the time to develop relationships. I know Car sales people who are selling cars to the third and fourth generation of family members and have been in the business 20+ years. They don’t use Twitter or any other social media channel, the build relationships. For them being social is as natural as breathing. Perhaps social isn’t too hard, perhaps the technology is making us lazy?
Social Isn’t too Hard
The reality is that social isn’t too hard, but it is time consuming and of course there are plenty of automated tools out there that will make tweeting, posting to Facebook or Google Plus or your blog less time consuming but those are just the media. The real success stories in social come from those who actually nurture relationships. Finding that even people who align themselves with “social” as part or all of their business failing to recognize this fact is a trend that I find concerning.
PR companies that berate their audiences, small businesses that argue in public with their customers, Tweets that start with “For Immediate Release” and conference organizers that threaten to pull sessions if speakers don’t use their social networks to promote the conference should be things of the past. I’ve always been an advocate of content being king, but the ace that trumps it is relationships.
Is Social Too Hard for you?