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Posts Tagged ‘Presence’

The 5 Stages of Social Media Presence

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Everyday I meet people who ask me about social media. Each of these people have unique thoughts and experiences with online networking. Some of them are whole-heartedly involved, some don’t even want to consider it as viable marketing. But I’ve noticed a sort of pattern emerging. Much like grief, there seem to be five major stages of social media, they pass quickly or last years, but everyone seems to experience them.

  1. Avoidance – People at this stage pretend social media doesn’t exist. If you ask them about it they’ll respond, “Oh, yeah, my daughter uses that site.” This stage usually involves lots of sticking fingers in your ears and yelling “lalalalala” at the top of your lungs.
  2. Fear -Or “the excuses” phase. During this phase, you know social media is out there and that you should probably get involved, but you’re just too scared to try it. Some of the excuses I hear most often: “I’ll jump in when I know what I’m doing” or “It just confuses me” or “I don’t see how this service can help my business”. Hint: Just like crocodile wrestling, you can watch it on tv, study it, even take classes, but its never going to be the same as jumping on the back of a real crocodile and just doing it!
  3. Paranoia – Okay, so you finally decided to take the plunge. You create an account. Now what? As with all new things, a little bit of fear continues to nag in the back of your mind. “Am I doing this right?” “What if I piss off all my personal friends by talking business (or vice versa)?” “I don’t know any of the terminology!” This fear of screwing up can be paralyzing. This is why some people never get past the -checking this out for the first time!- post.
  4. Obsession – If you can get past the Paranoia stage social media suddenly becomes fun. Once people start connecting with you and commenting on your posts, the rush can be come addictive. This stage can be positive, the surge of activity can really put you on the map. You also may need to find a help hotline for your Social Morphine habit.
  5. Comfort -Once the adrenaline rush fades, a regular pattern emerges of when and how you use social media. Perfect balance is next to impossible, but comfort comes very close. This doesn’t mean that you won’t slip back into one of the previous stages. In other words, once the social media cycle claims you, THERE IS NO ESCAPE.

I will add, however, that there is a stage outside of the five that some social media users fall into. The unfortunate post-stage:

6. Apathy – Apathy can creep into any relationship. You loose the spark and have to work to regain the love. It happens for lots of reasons: not enough time, not fun anymore, negative experiences… Unfortunately this reminds us that not every social media experience is positive, and it does take work. However, like any marketing strategy it should bee taken seriously. Besides, the reward tastes better after you wrestled a crocodile to get it.

What stage are you at?

Image by Petesimon.

Top 5 Ineffective Social Media Accounts

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

After reading a blog about how different political parties use social media (Bang the Drum), I realized that many companies have the same problems.

People are finally starting to jump on the social media bandwagon, they are setting up a presence on Twitter, Facebook and Plurk. So now they are in the right place, but the question is: will the presence they created be effective? I will admit, that my answer to what makes an effective presence in a social media website is just my opinion, first let me share with you:

Top 5 Ineffective Social Media Accounts:

1. The Sitter: This is a an account for the sake of an account. The user-name is claimed, that’s all. No updates, no interaction. This is the kind of account that exists solely to create a back-link or two.

2. The Narcissist: This profile was created as one giant commercial. Often, the user will link to an RSS Feed from their blog or constantly post links back to their home page. The other version of the narcissist constantly updates about the awesome places they go or the famous people they meet. In other words every single post and topic consists of: me, me, me, me, me.

3. The Collector: This person spends time friending everyone. They will spend all their time adding replying to friends that they never post anything of value.

4. The Life-less: Often you find these on microblogging sites. They post every twenty seconds. Often their posts include what they are doing, watching, eating or any other bodily function. The hardly ever post anything with substance.

5. The Spaz: These are accounts that will be super active for a day and then disappear, often to reappear again in another few days. Their user is super busy, or just forgetful. They can be great when available but often trying to strike up a long-term dialog with them is impossible.

The Effective Presence: I think the effective social media account revolves around balance. The user takes time to interact with their friends and followers. They post about themselves, their and topics relevant to their interests and to the interests of others. Remember social media is a platform, not a stage. Businesses have a great opportunity to reach out to their customers through social media, but the key lies in opening up and responding to needs not regurgitating “I’m awesome” links.

What do you think makes an effective social media presence? Do you agree or disagree with balance being the most important part of a profile?