May 5th, 2010

What comes next in Social Media?

by Elizabeth Peavy

Last night I had a chat with a good friend about Twitter and Facebook. Over a glass of wine she told me she was bored with the two and ready for something new. “I got all the good stuff out of Twitter already,” she said. She owns a stock photography company and also sells brilliant handmade crafts. She relies on social networking tools to help market her brand, services, and products. Twitter was huge for her, as she quickly built up 1,000 plus followers of fellow craft buyers and sellers. But now she says it’s falling flat.

I posted this debate on Facebook and got several good responses. “What comes after Facebook and Twitter?” A funny response of “If I knew that I would be a bazillionare” was made, as well as a smart response from a smart guy who said Foursquare was the answer. Foursquare is indeed what’s hot right now: it takes the cake for hyper local interactions, and is spreading faster than you can say go. So yes, there’s always something newer and hotter, and in this instance I believe he’s right. More Foursquare-ish things are on the horizon.  And when my friend jumps on the bandwagon with the next new venue, I am sure the fresh interactions will be invigorating, and even lead generating. But the question for me is, how do you maintain your presence on any or all of these venues? How do you avoid falling flat or letting the well dry?

My answer to this question is the same as many real-life media experts: establish your own voice and personality, and don’t just try to sell to friends or followers. That gets old pretty fast, but your own persona will never go out of style.  If my friend has stopped getting social media leads, maybe it’s not the platform that’s the problem, but what she’s saying. Sure, the leads may have come much easier in the beginning, but now is when the real work must kick in. Start sharing relevant information, and not just about yourself. Teach people something, make them laugh, respond to others—in short, be a friend.  No matter what the next platform is, no one wants to run a business of hot and cold. So before you jump ship to the next new thing ask yourself: Are all the leads really gone, or did you just stop trying?