Marketing Fail: Being Uni-Directional in a Bi-Directional Social Media Culture

    hand_pointing_out_of_phone_1600_clr_9774Can you imagine if you are on the phone, called someone up, and simply did all the talking? Then let us say that all you did was call, talk for a few seconds then hung up? How about if someone called you, but you put the phone down and walked away? Now imagine that you are in business and do this. Let’s play out the scenario.

    All Business Company (ABC) phone call to a Prospective Client (PC)

    ABC: Hello, you should see our widget it is awesome, I am sure you or someone you know would like to buy this widget. So make sure you tell your friends.

    PC: What?

    ABC: (Hangs Up)

    Some Several Hours Later…

    ABC Hey, did you see my widget? Did you tell anyone? What are you waiting for? You know you want to share it!

    PC: Hello?

    ABC: (Hangs Up)

    Sounds pretty ridiculous doesn’t it? Why is it so ridiculous? Because the phone is a 2-way tool. How can any business expect the best benefits if you just call to promote and hang up with no exchange of dialogue? It just not very effective is it? No business person would act like this on the phone. Yet, I watch businesses on social media do this exact same thing.

    Social media is not a uni-directional medium… it is a bi-directional, and in some cases a multi-directional medium. How can you expect to just be a sender without a response and have optimal effectiveness? You cannot. If you are going to get the most out of these platforms you need to act bi-directional and get the dialogue going. Which means ultimately you not only have to have something to say, but you need to be having the conversations at the other end of the line. Here some ideas for you to implement when trying to have a real conversation in your social media platforms.

    1. Check what you say, how you say it, and when you say it.


    Look if you want to know how effective your posts are, check to see how they are being responded to. If you are not getting favorites, retweets, +1’s, likes, comments, repins or shares, you have a problem. You either are not interesting to your audience, or you are posting when none of them are on line, or you have ticked off so many people they have purposely hidden or muted you. People have no idea how many people will not “unfriend” because of consequences they just make you go away. Out of sight, out of mind, and you do not exist any longer in the social media world.

    Now hopefully this is not you. Hopefully it is just that you are…well frankly boring. That can be fixed. Start with a picture of something, as a matter of fact the research suggests almost any picture gets a better response than a written post, followed by video, also when writing, try being positive and stay away from the negative, keep it short and sweet no long diatribes.

    Sometimes, but rarely is it timing, however, nothing wrong with posting in the early morning, after dinner and on the weekends…especially Sunday’s.

    2. Measure, Measure Measure.woman_calculator_1600_clr_7989

    While it is a gross measure of your ability to generate conversations and interest…at least it is a measure. Keep track of your manifest content. This is Sigmund Freud’s term meaning the “story line”. Is there a particular theme, subject matter that people respond to that comes from you more than others. Perhaps unknowingly to you, you have a particular level of influence in a particular area that people respond to more than other things you post. Measurement by the way means counting…so count your likes, comments, shares, etc compare that to the manifest content (themes) and start looking for correlations.


    3. Initiate Conversation Do Not Wait for them to come to you.

    group_meeting_pc_1600_clr_3625You know what the fastest way to get people to talk to you? Talk to them first.  The power of reciprocity has been demonstrated over and over in the influence literature (see Robert Cialdini Power of Influence). If you start commenting and liking people’s updates, your updates will get commented and liked. If you retweet, you will get retweeted. If you follow, you will get followed.   Reciprocity works.This is so easy and obvious, yet we do not do it. I often wonder if we are so wrapped up into our own selfishness that we miss the most fundamental rule of conversation…talk to other people. Enter their world and join their conversations first. How can you expect others to talk to you, if all you do is shout from your social media platform billboard? You should not expect it! You need to take the initiative and start

    Here is an idea…read other people’s posts and comment, like, +1, share, favorite, repin, retweet, heck…endorse. You will greatly improve your experience if you start reading and doing some communication. If you are not interested in communicating…smh…(Oh that means “shake my head”). Look I know this is going to come as a shock, but if you give attention to other people, they will in fact give you attention in return.

    3. Be a part of your own conversations

    group_leader_1600_clr_11526One of the most amazing things that I see is when people do comment on an update or tweet is that people do not keep the conversation going by continuing the conversation. How absurd is it to start a conversation, then people are talking, and you stop listening by no longer responding. What does that say about you? Well first, it says that you are really have no interest in the people and more interest in the accumulation of responses. Imagine you are having a conversation with a group of people. You start the conversation and then you simply leave the room. What? Come on! You and I both know that when we are having conversation with a group of people and we generate an idea or a topic of interest that the way to keep the conversation going is to continue to be a part of the conversation. Don’t talk and walk.  You started the conversation…keep it going!

    Look if your marketing strategy on social media is simply to use it as a broadcast medium, or your free online billboard there are a few people who may fall for your tactic, however you will permanently lose more people than you will gain.  Even as I write this, I predict the psychological reactance response when i say this from most people will be defensive, and most will say something to the effect of, “it works for me and my business”.  Fact of the matter is, it does not, you simply are believing a few incidents of success, ignoring the majority of failure.  In psychology this is known as…wait for it…confirmation bias.

    These platforms are not designed as one way mediums.  They are not billboards. no_talking_sign_1600_clr_11005They are bi-directional mediums, when you post to promote you or your business, it is clear you have no real intention to interact, you have the intention to sell us. The users that created these cultures are not using social media to be sold, they are there for relationships, real relationships that have real interaction.    When you apply a one way medium to a culture of two way users you are headed in only one direction, and that is far away from the user.  You are better than that, stay true to the culture, stay true to the people that use it and you will reap far more benefits than you can imagine.

    Stay Successful My Friends!

    Jay Izso, Internet Doctor®



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