A few weeks ago, I was out for dinner at an expensive Italian restaurant in downtown Toronto to celebrate a birthday.
As soon as we arrived at our table, you could feel a cold draught that caused many of us to keep our jackets on.
Rather than enjoy the meal, it was hard not to think about how cold we felt.
When we mentioned the draught to a waiter, he shrugged, saying it had to do with the age of the building and how the heating system didn’t reach this part of the restaurant.
Like many consumers, I expressed by displeasure on Twitter using the restaurant’s Twitter handle.
You know what happened next? Nothing.
So, I took a look at the restaurant’s Twitter account. More than 5,000 followers but following less than 100 people. Lots of tweets about what’s happening at the restaurant but little value-added content and no engagement.
In other words, the restaurant is using Twitter as an old-style broadcast medium rather than a two-way communications tool to engage customers.
Even worse, it doesn’t appear to be monitoring activity.
While there might be reasons for how the restaurant is using Twitter (e.g. lack of resources), it puts the spotlight on a big mistake many brands make when using social media: they believe that having a presence is enough.
By posting updates, brands think they are leveraging social media at a time when it’s becoming a necessary part of a brand’s marketing and sales toolbox.
The reality is this is not using social media. It’s old-style marketing wrapped in shiny paper.
By not engaging, providing value-added content or monitoring activity, brands are simply going through the motions.
From the outside looking in, it appears they are part of the social revolution but it’s a facade.
If you want to truly capitalize on the power of social media, you need to do more than open an account and post a few updates. That’s easy.
Instead, brands need to recognize social media has the power to make you part of conversations and build relationships.
Some people may not buy your products but they could very well recommend them to people within their social circles.
Not using social media in the right way means you’re not getting all the benefits available to drive your business forward.