Date: Monday, September 12, 2011
This week I had to go to one of the big box building stores. As I was paying for my purchase the cashier smiled and said, “Make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.”
I said the first thing that came to my mind, “Why?” The look on the girl’s face told me she had never heard that response before. “Uhm, I don’t know. We’re just supposed to say that.” I asked if she liked their page or followed them and she said no, she didn’t have a reason to.
I laughed and thanked her for her honesty. The truth is, I already liked them on Facebook. Unlike my cashier, I had very good reasons to.
Follow us, like us, subscribe to us, friend us, add us… everywhere we turn nowadays we are bombarded with suggestions and ways to connect with people, organizations and agencies.
My question is the same for everyone that suggests it one of those options. Why? Why should I give you my most valuable resource? What’s in it for me? What’s the value that I am going to receive in trade for my time?
Social media is not a popularity contest. It’s not about you. It’s about your community. Before you tell (ask) your community to follow, friend, like, etc; you need to figure out what it is you are going to give them that will provide value to them. This is not the same as what you think they should get.
Social media is a tool to both broadcast information and receive information. It is a tool that allows us to connect and to reach out. It allows the public to reach inside our operations and ask questions. A realm that was previously held to other law enforcement agencies and media is now open to the general public. But all too often I see agencies push, push, push their own information. The information that they think will benefit the public. Granted, most of it is just that, but every once and a while, ask the public what they want.
Poll, survey, or just good old fashioned ask!
When you send out information, get ready to listen. Is the information you are sending being shared? Is the information being understood? Is the information of value… to them?
Last piece of advice. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it. Want followers? Want more friends? Want “likes”? Simple, pony up some cash and you can buy them, or, give great content. Provide value. Content is king! You provide great content that is of value to your community and benefits them, you will have all the fans you can ask for.