Don't forget to be human

The web is not hierarchical.  It's not top down. It's flat.  We tend to trust the people we know over the people
 we don't...and over machines and robots for that matter.  Search results are quickly becomming less credible than the collective preferences and ratings of our friends and colleagues.

Today, businesses make significant mistakes when they try to leverage social media to build their brands. One of the biggest: they forget to be human.

You wouldn't walk into a job interview or a party and immediately start yelling at people telling them how great you are.  They'd think you were mad.  A better strategy would be to wait for the conversation to naturally go that way, right?  So why would you get a Twitter account and immediately start telling people about how great your product and services are?  You wouldn't...or rather you shouldn't.  Not if you want anyone to continue to listen.

A few things to consider for your tweets and status updates if engaging future customers is your goal:

  • Think Walter Cronkite not Randy Macho Man Savage (though he is bad-ass);
  • Listen first, sell second;
  • SN tools give you a shot a connecting with people and customers, not the right to talk at them;
  • Build small relationships first, then over time, earn the right to build your community;
  • It's better to dive in and fail, than to do nothing.

 Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.