I read with interest the blog entry “12 Social Media Secrets From Worlds’ Top Superstars” from the Social Media Examiner (link below).
Some of their suggestions make really good sense. For example, it’s always a good idea to engage your audience and then listen to what they have to say. And given the diverse nature of our global economies, social media may be the only method by which you have any hope of getting reasonable feedback from your target market in any reasonable time frame.
However, I’m still bothered by some aspects of Social Media.
For example, does it make sense to repeat something over and over again? (See #11 “Repeat Your Tweets”) The idea is to repeat your Tweets so that people who didn’t see them the first time will see them the second or third time. However, what about those people who saw them the first time? Are you going to turn them off because they don’t see anything fresh and new from you? Or are the people who saw your original Tweet “better” customers (or potential customers) because they were following you close enough to see your post the first time?
Looks like we also need better filtering and prioritization capabilities in Twitter so that we can more easily process the hundreds (or more) Tweets that we get each day. I don’t know about you, but I would really like the ability to organize my incoming Tweets into subject “folders” and then quickly see a summary of how many Tweets each folder contained so I could prioritize my reading. Imagine being able to distinguish media reports on your company (or products) from those provided by current customers and from inquiries from prospective customers. That would be powerful. I hope someone at Twitter is listening…
I also wonder about the quality of the feedback that you get from Social Media because it is almost too anonymous. If your product is targeted at “married, middle-age men in the United States”, how can you determine whether the feedback you are getting is from your target market or not? You could analyze the Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles of everyone who responds, but no company has sufficient staff to do this unless you only received a few responses. And if you only got a few responses, you probably want to re-think what you are saying and how you are sharing it — because you’re not getting enough mind share.
Another concerning aspect of Social Media is that the feedback you receive can be dominated by a small, highly vocal segment of your target market. I’ve written about this before (link below).
However, with all of the buzz about social media it was easy to think that I was worrying too much or jousting at shadows. Thus, I found the last “social media secret” to be perhaps the most important, where Jason Falls says:
“Social media success depends upon your type of audience, product, company, network and environment. You need to know your brand, your audience, how to communicate within each specific social network or online community and the right tools to use. Only the last of those is fairly predictable knowledge.”
Seems to me that social media is the best tool set available for getting feedback from your target market, but like any tool it has its strengths and weaknesses. Thus, in typical product management fashion, I keep asking: What could (or should) we do to improve these tools?