Avoiding social media narcissism: tips for marketers

Friday I posted a quite provocative text on social media narcissism. Today, I would like to elaborate on social media narcissism.

Because for companies too it is a risk. And you don’t want to be known on social media as an egotic self-centered company or brand (or individual).

These tips should help curb, minimize, and perhaps even eliminate the effects of short-term thinking and narcissism in social media.

Put them to use on campaigns, personal profiles, or anything else you value in the very public world of social media.

1. Talking about yourself, your product, or your company all the time is not a long-term strategy.
While people may follow you for the occasional update about yourself or your product, they will stick around long-term if you offer real value to them. Start discussions about current events, potentially fun subjects, and even participate in ones that your audience starts.

2. Don’t just start conversation, enter others.
Listening to your audience opens many more doors than merely speaking to them. As tempting as it is to use social media as a one-way communications device — especially if you have got a lot of fans or followers — the true value comes with dynamic conversations and real two-way interaction. Do not just log on to Twitter and send out tweets indiscriminately; listen to your audience and participate in their conversations. OK, sometimes it’s a lot of work, for me too: writing, posting, participating, but it’s how it’s done, period.

3. The whole world is not Myspace. Minimize flash and maximize substance.
Why did the entire social media world flock to Facebook from Myspace? Because Facebook was clean, easy to use, and unreceptive for flashy, brain melting profiles. Please, if you are going to support your social media presence with a website, do not make it resemble a self-loving Myspace profile of 2005.

4. Highlight beginner users once in a while.
If you are a social media power user, you have got the opportunity to draw traffic to potentially successful users who simply are not there yet. Put it to use by shining the light on users that offer real value to people, not just those that make the most noise.

5. Give things back.
Social media gives you the opportunity to crowdsource virtually everything, but that is not to say you should. Whenever your audience helps you with something, it is up to you to make sure it is a two-way transaction. Whether it is a reward of exclusive content or a great discount on a product, pay back people that help you out, no matter how small their input.

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2 thoughts on “Avoiding social media narcissism: tips for marketers”

  1. Your post reminded me instantly of one that Brett Borders did recently on the prevalence of narcissists in the social media “expert” sphere http://bit.ly/4PCWRt. I like that your post discusses how to implement without becoming that which so many hate. Especially interesting to see where narcissism of an individual and a corporation are similar and diverge.
    Points 4 and 5 are my favorite. What do you as a blogger do to highlight and give back?

  2. That’s a good question, Maayan. I have a bit of work on points 4 and 5 to do. But what I do, for instance, is when people comment on something (knowing that comments are seldom read) I make a new post with their comments. An example is what I did with the comment of Lauren Vargas, it became a new post and thus highlighted Lauren. What I also try to do is to often tweet relevant posts from others and of course I still have a blogroll etc… to create. But it’s step by step (this blog is quite young): yesterday for instance I opened a Delicious account where I want to highlight other people too. The possibilities are endlesss. However, and that’s where your comment comes in, remember that there is a big difference between a corporate blog or Twitter account for instance and an individual blog like this one. There are only 24 hours in a day so it’s done step by step 🙂

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