Do you use social media as a way to be social, or simply as a form of media? The problem with many businesses is that they focus on the word ‘media’ rather than on the word ‘social’, and yet this is to completely miss the boat as far as what Web 2.0 can really achieve.

 

The main benefit of social media is that it can be used to create dialogues between people in dynamic ways. So by building up a loyal base you can encourage a community which exchanges, shares and disseminates information. Nobody likes being talked at, yet a great many businesses online seem to use social media to do exactly that.

 

For example, Twitter is a great tool, but very often misused or misunderstood. Many businesses seem to think that simply by including plenty of links to their website or resources they’ll be generating lots of traffic. They won’t. A quick look through their recent tweets will reveal a distinct lack of replies to people, re-tweets of things other people have said, responses to other people or in fact anything which remotely suggests that any kind of interaction is going on. Their routine seems to be limited to logging on, posting, logging off. Clearly this routine isn’t going to work.

 

Instead, treat social media as a chance to engage with people, many of whom may not be potential customers, but they may find that your tweets are relevant and interesting, and help spread the word through re-tweets. Twitter includes several functions for recommending people to follow, and often this is done by looking at the people being followed by those people you’re following.

 

A quick look at your profile and recent tweets may result in them crossing you off their potential list, or adding you, and that quick decision could make the difference between a potential customer, and lost business.

 

Remember, social media isn’t just media, it has to be social too, otherwise it won’t work. Engage, react, discuss, respond – or you could find you’re spending many hours of your day having conversations with only yourself.

Webpresence offer a range of managed Twitter services, just in case you don’t have the time to do it yourself!