18 Mar 2013

Ear Muffs - the perfect social media accessory?

Ear muffs. The perfect addition to your social media kit?

I've been using social media to promote businesses since 2008 and whilst I still love it, I am frequently driven insane by all the noise. The dictionary had a particularly apt definition of that word;

Noise - a disturbance in a communications system that interferes 
with or prevents reception of signal or of information.

There is an endless amount of information online about social media. Some of it is educational and entertaining, some of it is trumpet blowing, jargon-filled nonsense. The latter is the 'noise' which interferes with the signal, and stops businesses getting the most practical and relevant advice for social media marketing. It impacts on their confidence as conflicting messages cause confusion.

Last week I took the reigns of a clients social media accounts, setting up and managing them for 5 days as part of a product launch. It was insightful as I got the chance to escape the noise and enjoyed being undercover, finding new people to follow, reading and sharing content that was different, and learning something new. This is why I fell in love with social media in the first place and it was thrilling to be re-acquainted with that experience. I was like a kid in a candy shop.

On LinkedIn I noticed that very few of my clients 400 connections posted status updates. A missed opportunity but a striking comparison to my own, where it's an endless feed of news...or should that be noise? On the twitter feed people were chatting, rather than posting links to articles entitled '10 Apps You Can't Live Without' and '5 New Measurement Tools that will Change Your Life'....less drama, more inspiration. How refreshing!

The experience made me stop and think about how my own sector behaves online and how I react to it. If I find it noisy and boring I imagine other people feel the same, including the very people we are aiming to attract and impress. If I too am guilty of adding to the 'noise'...after all, here I am sharing my opinion.... then I'm going to make an effort to turn down the volume and only tell the stories that will hold your attention, not 'change your life'. It's tricky to look at your own business or sector through an outsiders eyes but it's an exercise worth doing.

The result? It's time for me to de-clutter, lose some connections and change the channel. In the same way that a marriage needs a date night, I need to focus my energy on having the kind of online conversations which made me fall in love with social in the first place, and shut out the noise from those shouting too loud. 

Comments welcome.