Beware of calls to flood the internet

Stop. Think. Act. Follow this simple course when jumping into the social media realm and spreading your word via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

Rather than falling prey to the demands of many “experts,” think of these social sites as another tool, much like a telephone or typewriter.  Yes, a typewriter.  Read more before you judge. 

Many media consultants insist that, to achieve success in the modern era, an ambitious company needs to bombard the internet with messages. There seems to be little concern whether the content of the missive is valuable. They see the goal as accomplished when contact is made.

Following that logic, they also might remember how important the telephone is to a business. It puts you within reach of nearly all potential customers.  It allows you to connect to other businesses on which you may depend. And a vast majority of the public is spending more and more time on that device as technology advances. Nearly everyone has one sprouting from the waistline.

Does this mean a business should deploy additional resources to the telephone, making calls to everyone with an obtainable number?  Putting it into this context, it is easier to see how the “machine-gun” approach to communicating can backfire. People have little patience for telemarketers.  Why would anyone be more receptive to internet junk.

Sure, it takes little energy to scroll past the unwanted. But the viewer has to see enough of it to make that distinction.  After a few “passes,”  that potential customer will associate your name with clutter and stop looking to see if you’ve said something useful.

If a business shows respect for people’s time, those potential customers are more likely to think of the business as “professional” and respond when it provides information they can use.

Another piece of advice from the “experts” is to make those contacts less formal.  The theory is the kids are driving social media popularity and they have altered the American language to suit their friendlier attitude.

A consultant recently advised a business to respond to a Facebook post from Tom Smith beginning with a salutation to “Tom” rather than to “Mr. Smith.”  The consultant claimed that such familiarity was the new way of doing business.

Maybe not.

If a person is looking for friendly exchanges on the net, there are numerous outlets. If a business professes to provide quality products or services, it should present a professional appearance (through sight, sound or text) at every occasion.

Using our telephone example again, imagine if a business mimicked the kids when a call came in to the office.  ”Yo, we’re, like, open for business,” the exchange might begin. “It would be, like, so cool if you’d, like, buy something from us.”

Okay, that is an exaggeration. But by how much? If young folks speak and type that way, should we follow their lead and compose messaging in a likewise manner?

Prediction: The number of customers gained by continuing a professional presence will far surpass the number of customers lost because a business didn’t try to be hip.  And I’m betting the kids aren’t using that word to relay its colorful meaning.

Almost forgot–the typewriter.  That is relevant because the apparatus is merely a communication tool like the telephone, a pen, or chisel marks and paint on a cave wall. The delivery method may be important to anthropologists (is there a typewriter in the Smithsonian?), but it never should dictate the content or frequency of the message.