Is Social Networking Important? You bet. Does it work all by itself? No.
Today there was an extreme example of the impact Social Networking can have. You probably heard the AP Twitter account with 2 million followers was hacked and a single, bogus tweet about a terrorist attack on the White House was sent out. Within minutes the markets suffered triple digit declines.
Moments later the AP account was suspended and an announcement made that the tweet was fake. Fortunately markets quickly returned to pre-tweet levels so the damage done appears to be minimal.
But a question remains, how can a single Tweet have such an impact?
Consider first that this was no ordinary Tweet. If you or I sent out such a Tweet not much would happen. When the AP posts a Tweet it gets noticed.
The AP is what is called an ‘authoritative’ source. When a headline comes out from the AP it’s reasonable to assume it’s accurate, reliable information. It’s taken seriously because of the AP’s reputation. They ARE an authority.
Because they are an authority their following is immense. When one Tweet goes out to 2 million followers and there is no reason to expect it to be anything other than reliable, we can get reactions like we had today. After all, ‘if it’s on the internet it must be true’. However, the problem of people thinking for themselves versus believing everything they hear or read is a topic for others to cover.
The point I want to make is that the more authoritative a site is the more impact it can have. Your Social Networking will get more mileage if you and your website have more authority!
My recommendation to you is do not ignore your website. Keep your content fresh and accurate. Keep your site useful to your visitors and include the testimonials you have received. But most of all, continue your real world networking and be sure to get those real world referrals and references to you and your site.
Videos, published articles, interviews, speaking engagements, and any other references to you, your business and expertise help to build the level of authority of your site.
Your Social Networking needs some authority behind it to elevate it and make it effective.
As we saw today, a single Tweet from an authority like the AP can change the world, even if only for a moment. The odds are your site will not have the same level of authority behind it, but the more you have the better you will do.
Also consider CONTEXT. With the horrendous Boston Marathon bombing fresh in our minds it is much easier today to imagine an attack on the White House could have happened. Under normal circumstances the majority of people would probably be skeptical at first and would need need additional sources to report the same news before taking it seriously enough to act in some way.
Make good use of context. If there’s a news story that supports your product or service spread the word via your social networking. When you make your followers and friends aware of something that can benefit them and it’s related to what your business provides it becomes more than just a sales pitch, it’s a positive association with your product or service. You benefit from the context.
In today’s online world, Social Networking IS important. But it doesn’t work by itself. Be sure to pay attention to all of your sales and marketing efforts.