How to do Social Media without being a Douchebag?
April 9, 2013 10:57 AM   Subscribe

So, I've recently inherited the community and social media role for the company I work for. I'm hoping to use our social media presence to drive up engagement and get users to use our product (a niche-focused social network in the finance realm), but I want to do it without being a douchebag.

Any tips, blogs, books, personal experiences, stuff that is obvious to anyone but me, would be appreciated. My social networking experience has been limited to my personal Twitter, Facebook, App.Net, and LinkedIn accounts, and the Twitter and Facebook pages for my podcast.

Our current Social Media type things focus heavily around our e-mail newsletters, which go out to about 40,000 users (and naturally we want to increase that), Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages, and our own network which we want to drive traffic to.

I just want to do this in a way that doesn't piss off our potential, or active, user base, and doesn't involve any skeevy, social media douchebag tactics. No buying followers.
posted by SansPoint to Work & Money (10 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Two mantras for your consideration:

Social media is a process, not an event.

Social media is a channel for two-way communication, not a broadcast medium.

Who says social media has to be skeevy? Remember these two tenets and you should be fine.
posted by mynameisluka at 11:19 AM on April 9, 2013 [8 favorites]

The best thing you can do is pay attention to your social listening. Find out what your customers are already saying about your company and your product. Respond well to those who are making noise, whether positive or negative. Give them good reason to push your message, rather than just constantly flooding them with messages.
posted by xingcat at 11:20 AM on April 9, 2013

"drive up engagement"

How do you get people to be engaged? Well first, give them something to be engaged with. Questions, photos, interesting articles etc... all with a lean towards "hey, what do you guys think?"

Be the signal, not the noise and make good-quality posts. Quantity is the fastest way to lose this game.
posted by raihan_ at 11:21 AM on April 9, 2013

Social media is awesome as long as you remember that you're dealing with real people.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:23 AM on April 9, 2013

I run my company's online and social media presence. I personally enjoy using Twitter the most, but have also found LinkedIn to be useful for driving actual business (read: important people who control pursestrings) to our site. I basically follow a bunch of similar businesses in our industry (as well as some marginally more independent "thought-leaders/bloggers") and comment or RT their stuff when I personally think it's interesting. I tweet and post to LinkedIn when we have a new blog post up. I try to keep my tone lighthearted but professional. Not every tweet or post has to be promotional!

That said, I don't envy your task - trying to get users to sign up for a new niche-based social network sounds like quite the burden. What makes your network better than other, non-niche focused networks? If it's already established, do you have other peripheral stuff up, like a forum or a LinkedIn Group page?

And as the above commenters have said - social media is about engagement, not just another avenue to send spam.
posted by antonymous at 11:23 AM on April 9, 2013

Best answer: There is no magic formula other than "be real."

If it's appropriate, I like a corporate+personal strategy. On the corporate side, put interesting stuff and listen and respond to what people say. If it's not interesting, why would anybody subscribe? On the personal side, you know how to use Twitter -- keep using it. Be a human with a face and become a part of your community.

When you are a "marketer" with a "content strategy" tracking "conversions," people can feel it. When you're SansPoint, that dude who works for that company who can help me out and answer questions, then you're well on your way to being not a douchebag. So you have to be half customer service ombudsman, half subject matter expert, half party host, half content marketing strategist, plus a writer from Queens and a podcaster: all at once a complicated and interesting human being.

The rest of the stuff is common sense and 95% BS and just read a couple of social media books or blogs and you'll be set.

And on preview, what everybody else said. The best way to not be a douche is to be an engaged human instead. Would you want to talk to (Your Company on Social Media) at a party?
posted by troyer at 11:26 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Reply to people who engage with you - but don't feed the trolls. Post things you personally would like to read. Don't just post constantly - pick and choose the best content and figure out what times seem to be best for getting a response from your userbase. Be concise. Explain to people why they should care about the things you want them to care about ("our product is the only one that XYZ"). Post content that your followers can't get anywhere else (or at least that isn't gathered in one place anywhere else). Don't spam - the people who signed up for your newsletter want your newsletter, not a million advertisements for your products.

Twitter best practices.
posted by capricorn at 12:06 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yes. "Be real." There is nothing worse than a corporate social media entity that is immediately evident as such. The best ones are a real person, with a name, who speaks as if they are talking to other real humans. Retweets, "interesting post," "This article in the NYT caught my eye," etc. If you do that, you earn the right to post the more self-promotional, this is our new idea/product stuff in between. If anything, social media is an even better resource for learning about your customers or audience (any social media expert at a company or non-profit that reports back on what they are learning from their followers is already ahead of the game).

The worst, worst, worst are the, "Who do you want to win? Louisville or Michigan?" type posts. We know you don't really care, Amazon. This page does a good job of collecting them.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 12:48 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Nobody engages with you because they're bored. Answer their questions, be casual and friendly, leave people alone.
posted by softlord at 5:38 PM on April 9, 2013

Every time you tweet or post on Facebook or whatever, it's an opening for a conversation. If you view it as such, you'll do just fine in engaging users. If you just use it to disseminate information (and that's also valuable, don't get me wrong), then you won't be engaging your users.

The ideal social media person for a company will be open to new conversations, new ideas and will pass along feedback as well as getting people hyped up and excited over the new product, along with being helpful for those who need help.

It's one-third conversation, one-third information and one-third redirection to customer service/etc.

Good luck. :)
posted by juliebug at 6:20 PM on April 9, 2013

« Older When should I fly into LAX?   |   Help me avoid drunk crying. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.