Why Brands are Scared to be Social

by Emily Pirraglia

4 April, 2013

Social media is here to stay.

This statement has been touted for more than five years, yet some brands still insist on maintaining silence in the social media realm. Although being social is easy, achieving success in social media requires a better understanding of the platform.

It gives power to the people
Social media is scary because it takes away control. Many companies are afraid to join social networking sites and expose their brand to the uncontrolled opinions of the masses. Yet the real issue is not the lack of control—it’s the quality of the conversation. On its own, negative feedback is not a bad thing. Only when it’s consistently ignored, deleted or handled horribly does it become a problem for a brand. By focusing on fan engagement, businesses will slowly gain loyal followers while setting the tone for their social media platforms.

It’s not about you
Pretend you’re attending a networking event and someone walks in, pulls out a megaphone, and begins a soliloquy about how awesome they are. Do you sit back and listen as they drone on about their value as a person? Or, do you ignore them and continue your conversation? Some businesses enter social media sites with the same megaphone and goal to broadcast their brand. They don’t realize that a successful social media presence isn’t about them—it’s about their audience.

It’s not about selling
People on social networking sites don’t want to be advertised to—they want to be informed, entertained and helped. They want to feel connected to a brand, not just know about it. Understanding and embracing this reality is the first step to achieving a successful social experience across all social media sites.

It’s still changing
Social networks are young. In fact, if the major ones were people, Facebook would be multiplying fractions, Twitter would be learning words with multiple syllables and Google+ would be taking its first unsteady steps. And, like miniature humans, social networks will continue to grow. Don’t let their changes keep you from joining. By staying silent in the realm of social, you miss out influencing millions of potential fans, followers and free agents.