I am an impassioned believer in the culture of social media. I believe that social strategy works because of the culture and those that sidestep, shortcut or throw money at it to make it work will be sorely disappointed.
What is the culture of social media?
The culture is founded on shared information, transparency (before it became a buzzword), authenticity, real, personal experiences, (yes, Virginia, even in business experiences). The culture eschews the idea of TARGETING prospects and audiences. The beauty of blogging and subscribing to content via RSS feeds changed the way the world consumes information. We were given the power to choose what we take in; what we absorb. The onus was put, at last, on us, to opt in to the information we want and conversely, block that which we don’t.
The Currency of the Digital Age
Instead of TARGETING people (and that is an unfriendly, militaristic concept, isn’t it? Are they targets because we are shooting at them?) we, instead, create content that is genuine and interesting and in doing so attract those who are interested in the topic, the service, the product, etc. We pull in people who want to read, watch or listen to what we have to say. If it’s five or 500,000, it doesn’t matter, as long as the people who arrive feel rewarded, and honor us by paying for what we offer with their attention, the currency of the digital age.
Herding Cattle, Leading Lemmings
Look: I’m a small business person. I am an entrepreneur. I want eyes on my website and know that when those numbers increase, the warm leads I have grow and turn into new business opportunities. But there’s no cattle prod here. There’s no workaround that is consistent with the practice of developing authentic, solid business relationships. Any quick fix that promises to “drive traffic to your site!” is not consistent with the values of those doing business today. It’s not a long term, big picture view of building a business that values people, their opinions and their dollars.
Decide what kind of business you want to be in, and engage accordingly.