It has always been hard to get people to do what you want them to do.
In fact, if you try to get me to do something, chances are I won’t. It is one of my fatal flaws. I am stubborn like that, but I am willing to bet that a lot of you are, too.
Public relations professionals and marketers have been trying to overcome this inertia for centuries. It is one of the reasons people look at our profession as little more than spin and persuasion.
Then along came social media and…
pretty much nothing has changed.
People are still people. And if anything, social media communities, like Twitter, have made it worse in some ways. It is so easy now to pass on information via social networks and FEEL as if you have done something without doing anything at all. In a sense it has made us all a little bit lazy.
I first really noticed this trend over a year ago when people stopped commenting on posts as often but retweeted them on Twitter. As Facebook got more popular, they “liked” a post instead of adding to the dialog.
I then noticed it in some of my client campaigns where we would launch a call to action and many of our networks would “pick it up,” retweet it or pass it on but we wouldn’t get a corresponding uptick in a requested action, such as leaving a comment on a post or making a donation.
In other words, people were “supporting” an effort by simply passing it on without taking the requested action themselves. No matter how successfully ideas are spread, it doesn’t amount to much no one takes any action.
The first time that we experienced this happening we quickly reverted to grassroots action. One of the things that worked the best was to pick up the phone and ask people to support the effort, not with a RT but with the requested action.
It worked, of course, becuase there is no shortcut to relationship and people need to clearly understand what you need to properly respond.
John Cass, a PR blogger, recently asked a number of bloggers if they agreed that content is nothing without relationships in the community. His post, while a little bit long for the ADHD social media crowd, is full of some interesting insights.
In my experience, real relationships fuel effective social media campaigns while numbers of RTs, fans, followers and so on are much less important than the number of said fans that would be willing to answer your phonecall, e-mail, Direct Message, etc.
What about you? Do you find yourself passing on information without taking action yourself?
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