It’s OK if you’re doing Twitter wrong, so is mostly everyone else

It was gratifying to read this piece “Media companies and Twitter — still mostly doing it wrong” because it reinforces what I’ve been thinking about

social media execution for a long time: we’re all probably doing it wrong.

It’s normal, though, if you think about it. Whenever a new media comes along, we typically apply the old media paradigm against it. For example, when TV first came out, the first shows were basically live broadcasts of a radio announcer behind the microphone. We didn’t quite understand TV’s true capabilities were so all we did was apply the old radio paradigm (audio only) to the new media (audio + visual). It took years before we figured out the type of content best suited to TV. Some would argue we’re still trying to find it.

Enter social media today. The old media paradigm is the traditional web site where we published interactive, multimedia content for mass consumption. And we’re repeating the Radio/TV paradigm by essentially publishing web content to social media. Wrong!

I’ve got a great disclaimer: I do it too. In fact I’ve automated it. Posts from this website automatically go to both our Twitter and Facebook pages. I know it’s not the proper use of social media but I’m doing it anyway. Why? Because I’m still trying to figure out what type of content this blog (business/technology/innovation) is best suited to social media. And like my TV counterparts in the 50’s , I’m going to apply the old paradigm to new media until I figure it out.

But that doesn’t mean that you need to wait until I figure it out. You can start, right now. Social media is really about sharing. And by sharing we mean your customers sharing their experiences with your brand, not you sharing your brand with your customers (that’s what you’re supposed to do with your web content, remember?). So here’s the magic, billion-dollar question:

What content does your company produce that customers will naturally want to share as it relates to their lives to their friends? Not an easy answer. What is it about your company that customers love? What is it about their purchase that they want to tell their friends about? Make that content available and sharable. If you’re lucky, customers will react positively and share it with their friends.

And if that happens, you’ve struck pure gold. What’s more valuable: (a) having 10,000 followers who skim past your Facebook posts on their wall or (b) 1,000 followers who share your posts with their average of 130 friends? Do the math. Method A gives you, at most, 1,000 views of stuff no one cares about. Method B leverages your customers to act as your agent and get the word out to 130,000 people who see their friends giving you a sublime endorsement.

Get it? That’s the magic. That’s the right way do to social media. Now go figure out your paradigm. Either that or give us a buzz and we’ll figure it out together.