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Social Media - The Big Party

And nobody likes a boring party

So I think it's safe to say that businesses are finally catching on to the concept of social media in the marketplace.  Unfortunately this doesn't mean that they all have the right strategy and more importantly they don't have the right people handling it.  I may not be an expert on human behaviour, but I believe it may have something to do with Rogers' bell curve
Whenever I have an exceptionally good or an equally bad experience, I tend to spend a lot of time trying to figure out why some people/businesses get it right and others get it so very wrong!  My conclusions usually come down to the same result:  people.  Not all companies seem to understand how critical it is to have the right person in the right seat.  So how does this tie in with the diagram above?
The growth of social media in the last 10 years has been fast, furious, fun and infuriating to many.  Many companies have accepted it through gritted teeth and I assume that a lot of them did so only because they were trying desperately to catch up to their innovator, early adopter and early majority competitors . It's a difficult task now as the social media highway is kind of like peak hour traffic 24/7.  
The party that started out as a nice school reunion has evolved into a full blown, fast paced mega market place that never sleeps.
The reason I believe that so many companies have advanced into Social Media with a "Laggard" approach, is through a lack of understanding of how a once purely socially driven arena has become a fully fledged market place. My experience on various social media platforms is that each one can be easily understood if you take away the media part and visualize them in the social form only:
  • Twitter - The conference. People are there with purpose, whether to teach, learn, connect, engage, grow or simply listen. 
  • Facebook - The pub.  You go their with the intent of engaging with friends, sometimes colleagues and you are bound to bump into someone you don't particularly like but endure because you don't want to hurt their feelings.  
  • LinkedIn - The office.  You think before you talk, connect with colleagues at first and then work on connecting with people of influence.  
  • Instagram - The photo album.  Simple as that.
  • Pinterest - The vision board.  From planning a wedding to personal development, it's the place where you can stay focused on the kind of life you want.  Personally I absolutely love this medium. 
Each one of these mediums have integrated beautifully with each other enabling anybody to market their business, expand their social footprint and essentially increase leads and sales.
Where are companies still going wrong?
When I was a kid, eight o'clock was bedtime.  By ten o'clock the whole house was sleeping.  The TV was off and only came on again in the late afternoon.  Social media does not shut down.  It never stops, it never switches off.  Companies have an open line of communication with their customers every second of every day. The biggest problem I see with companies on social media is that many of them don't understand the impact this has on their customer expectations.  
I am always shocked to find out that companies "switch off" their social media over weekends.  
I had a personal experience recently whereby my only form of contact was Twitter, Facebook and Skype. My phone had been stolen and I needed to block it.  The company only responded after my fourth attempt to contact them via Twitter (about 12 hours after my first attempt), only to give me a standard one liner with instructions on what to do:  "dial this number...".  They completely ignored the obvious problem which was that I didn't have a phone.  
After two more attempts to engage with them I got a DM on Twitter telling me to use a different Twitter handle to alert a different division in the company.  I was absolutely disgusted at the complete and utter lack of emotion, but more so, the ignorance.  This company had the perfect opportunity to assist a client on public platform and showcase excellent social media response handling. They failed. 
Be a great host!
The way I see it, social media really is like a big party. The more people, the better the party. Entertain your guests and they will stay. More importantly, they will share their experience with others and ask them to join.  They will gush over the wonderful things that happened.  And if the party is bad, they will share that too.  If the host is nowhere to be seen, they will complain about it to anyone willing to listen.  Any great event takes planning, attention to detail and excellent hosting skills in order to be a success.  The principle is very much the same in social media.  
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