I am a collector by nature… I collect Fire-King Jadite dishes from the 50’s, fish-shaped bitter bottles, unofficially I like lady bugs, I have more pairs of shoes than any woman should be allowed to own and have a huge affinity for accessories in general. Collecting is fun, it gives me a goal when I am digging through a flea market or browsing a store. I love to find treasures! But simply collecting in social media just doesn’t work.
In my years in television, social media went from “something that would never catch on” to a key tool for communicating with our audience on a daily basis. Initially, the corporate push was to collect people, get the numbers any way that you could–the numbers were where the action was. I have never subscribed to that approach and held our course… steadily, and for the most part, organically growing a trusted community that engaged us on a daily basis. For a long time, our mid-sized market station had the largest social media community out-doing much larger cities with much greater potential, but more importantly, we had a HIGHLY ENGAGED community that cared what was said and shared their thoughts, ideas, tips and feedback with us. What an incredible gift!
I would much rather have 1000 people who are engaged and focused than 5000 who have my company hidden from their newsfeed because I promised them an iPad and then pelted them with spam messages.
I am not adverse to promotions and contests but be careful that if you promise something that it makes sense and that the end result is a positive one. My favorite example is the “Be our friend or the puppy gets it” promotion. It goes like this –you agree that if you can get to a certain number of friends by a certain day that you will give a sizable donation to an animal shelter… BUT What happens if you don’t reach that number? Do puppies die? Do you just keep your money? I sincerely hope not– I, for one, love puppies! Think through your promotions and contests to make sure that they have true benefit for your social and/or physical community.
Don’t just collect your social community, build it, engage it, fill it with content that matters and they will come.