Thursday, May 20, 2010

Can We Ignore Somebody on Social Media and Get Away With It?

Many months ago I started following a popular blogger. It was back in the early days of Twitter and, like me at the time, he didn’t have many followers. We struck up a sort of collegial online relationship. Some time later, he told me I was one of the first people to ever leave a comment on his blog. Over the months, I’ve retweeted him many times and I’ve watched my “friend’s” following grow … really grow. He has over 10,000 followers now.

This week he blogged on a topic that interested me so I retweeted him and also left a comment on his blog post. But a funny thing happened.

Though my colleague thanked a slew of people for RT-ing him, he left me off the thank-you list. And, although I wrote a thoughtful comment, he reached out to the commenters above and below me, but never mentioned my contribution. That’s two “oversights,” which is one too many.

I still think this guy has interesting stuff to say and his tweets are great. I’ll probably continue to follow him (probably), but now – when I see him across the room – I won’t see a friend. I’ll see somebody on a business mission. Through my social media glasses he looked like a colleague I knew personally, but I was wrong.

All this got me to thinking about social media generally, and corporate social media in particular. Are we raising our customers' expectations too high? Are we promising something that Dunbar's Number will never allow us to deliver?

Marketers have been groomed to expect something different (more personal) from social media than from other business transactions. The experts keep telling us that social media is a “conversation,” that it’s about “feedback” and “commentary” and “interaction.”

If that’s the expectation we’re raising with customers and “fans," we’d better live up to it, because – on social media -- I've learned that it only takes a missed heartbeat for people to see us differently.

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo

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