Social Media isn’t a one way tweet!

Our new venture BothBiz has been getting quite a few new twitter followers recently, and when someone follows us, I check them out, and if they seem interesting I follow them back.

I also try to send them a direct message thanking them for the follow, because it’s nice when someone takes the trouble to show an interest.

I had a quick exchange with my fellow Carnoustian and Social Media expert Gerry Grant from Tonic Business Solutions last night and we both have a problem with these automated direct messages that people set up to ‘thank you for the follow’ and please be sure to check out my…(facebook page, website, special offer, etc.)

Firstly, I will already have checked them out before I followed them, and secondly, no-one is going to build a relationship with me by not taking the time to tweet me themselves. How long does it take? About 3 seconds.

Social Media HAS to be about the relationship, not the volume.

Take Facebook likes – why do people place so much importance on how many people ‘like’ their page. To me, the only useful likers are people who have a genuine interest in building a relationship, sharing tips, exchanging views and generally rubbing along in a ‘let’s support each other’ kind of way.

If my business has 2000 likers and only 3 are genuinely interested in keeping contact with me via Facebook, the chances are that my updates are either ignored by 1997 people, or are ‘hidden’ in the lists of updates they choose not to see. Either way, really, what’s the point?

Some Facebookers see it as a badge of honour to have a huge number of likes, and they beg for more – ‘Just 3 more and I reach…’ is an all too familiar status update on business sites.

I know myself, I scroll down my business news page ignoring most status updates, lingering only on the ones from people that I usually find interesting or thought provoking or funny. Perhaps it’s time I did a bit of an ‘unlike’ spring clean!

To be honest, I’m not a great fan of Facebook as a business tool.  I know some people swear by it and are happy that it generates business for them. For me, I think it can be useful to put a personal face to your business, or to drive traffic to your site, or to recommend a friend, but it’s a small marketing egg in a large basket compared to many other tools, social and otherwise.

I’ve been pumping out a lot of information about our new BothyBiz service on our Facebook page for a couple of months now and I think I’ve proved to myself that Facebook will have limited use in driving my business forward, but nevertheless it is a route to my business for people who prefer to interact in this way. So from now on, I’m going to add statuses that might prick interest, or that someone might relate to rather than advertising my wares so overtly.

What do you think? Has Facebook helped your business? Which Social Media outlet do you prefer? I’d really like to hear your views, and learn from your experiences.