Earlier today I was followed on Twitter by a literary review organisation.
Like all people that follow me, I check them out to see whether they’re worth following back (or blocking and reporting as spam – which seems to be a regular occurrence these days). The organisation seemed vaguely interesting and had racked up a fair few followers so I decided to follow them back.
Shortly afterwards I received a direct message from the organsation asking me to ‘like’ them on Facebook. Now, lines have been crossed. My decision to follow an organisation on one platform does not mean that I want to engage with them on another. I followed them on Twitter out of politeness more than anything else. I’ll wait and see what they have to say and then I’ll think about taking the relationship further. Or not.
This is what happens when organisations fail to develop a social media strategy. Organisations that want to get involved in social media have to remember that they’re not in control of their audience. The audience is in charge, and they will consume content how they want – not how you want. My following of someone on Twitter does not mean that I will like that organisation on Facebook. Or Linkedin. Or any other platform for that matter. What is the point of trying to hoover up followers on Twitter and force them to Facebook? Is the fact that you’ve connected with someone on Twitter not enough? Let’s face it, you’re probably going to put EXACTLY THE SAME CONTENT on Facebook as you are going to put on Twitter. So you’re going to annoy people by repeating yourself.
Furthermore, why should I ‘like’ you on Facebook without an incentive? What are you offering me? It’s not your place to ask me to ‘like’ you. It’s up to me to decide whether what you say and what you do is worthy of my ‘liking’. So, I should probably give some advice to said literary organisation. Hey, great win, getting someone to follow you back on Twitter. But you want to direct them to ‘like’ you on Facebook. Why not send a tweet thanking the user for following you back and maybe reminding them that there’s a great discussion forum on your Facebook page, where you’ll be discussing all the latest burning issues. Maybe the follower won’t check it out but maybe they will. And maybe they’ll like what they see, and participate in the discussion. And if the debate is stimulating enough, maybe they’ll ‘like’ you on Facebook.
Social media is about the long game. You’re not going to succeed by rushing the relationship. Nurture your followers, build the relationship, produce great content and they’ll advocate your brand.