My biggest peeve in perusing the daily, hourly, constant stream of Social Media (Twitter in particular) is the barrage of self-promotion that most organizations think is “doing Social Media”. If I weren’t committed to trying to lend my voice and my skills to helping the church understand and utilize Social Media* , I would have unfollowed a lot of “church” orgs because they seem to know little else than talking about themselves constantly. Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents and Social Media 101, and widely considered to be the number one “Social Media Guru”, also sounds this theme. Before him, 10 years ago, The Cluetrain Manifesto authors told us this, back in the day when blogs were “the tool” that most defined Social Media.
In all cases, we all believe that beating people over the head with your needs and desires to sell products or services isn’t a successful strategy any longer. We look to build relationship-based selling models, such that we turn audience into community, and we guard our relationship with our community as an asset, every bit as much as we guard our trade secrets.
My personal definition? Be helpful. The way I built my own personal brand was delivering information that others could use to improve their own lot in life. And I promote others at least 12 times as much as I promote my own stuff on various social networks.
What’s that? “.. promote others at least 12 times as much as I promote my own stuff on various social networks” ?
Have your own voice (that was “Cluetrain” terminology). Marketing speak turns people off. How do we convince people that our community has something for them? I think perhaps it has to do with listening to what THEY are talking about. NOT trying to steer the conversation. Not trying to SET the content of the conversation. It has to do with HELPING them find resources that are of apparent interest to THEM.
So take heed, church organizations. When 99% of your tweets and Facebook messages are promoting YOUR content, YOUR events, and YOUR products, you come off as blind and deaf to the audience.
(* and whatever name it may take on down the road….”Social Media” has been around for 20 years….it’s just the capabilities of the medium that have evolved. Computer Mediated Communication, Virtual Community, Online Community, it all seeks to describe the experience of connecting to people via the network. The Internet finally connected most of these networks together, and the value of the network experienced explosive growth.)