When Social Media Silence Falls

SocialSilenceSocial Media is what you make of it. I use it for personal use but I also use it for both work and professional growth because I like technology and the creative outlet it provides. Yet, I often ask myself what would happen if I went silent for weeks and months on all accounts? Is that ok?

The motivation behind social media use provides an answer to my question. A person who uses it only for personal use would have no adverse impact form the social silence. It may prompt a few telephone calls from friends and relatives ensuring the person is ok but that would be the gist of it. A business or an individual using social media for professional reasons would have a very different negative impact due to the silence. Can anyone say falling Klout score?

Allow me to use my Mother as an example. She has a Facebook account and spends probably 90% of her Facebook time scrolling through photos on her iPad. She has no other agenda but to view updates of friends and relatives.

Now, allow me to use a fake business as another example. This business has a Facebook page and Twitter account and occasionally posts holiday updates and an a rare special promotion on their Facebook page. The Twitter account is linked to Facebook and no other tweets are sent from the account.

I present to you that my Mother’s use is acceptable but the fake business’ use is not.  Why?  Well, the answer is simple. My Mother has no agenda beyond accessing information. As she has said before, “I’ve lived without Facebook the majority of my life and it won’t hurt me if I don’t have access to it.”  The business, on the other hand, does have an agenda or the accounts would never have been created. The goal might be branding, exposure, customer service, marketing or (if smart) a combination of them all.

Without boring you with statistics, it is a safe assumption that social media experts almost all agree that dormant accounts are worse than a business not having an online presence at all. Businesses should allocate personnel to spend time managing social media. This can be accomplished by hiring an employee to manage and coordinate social efforts. If this is not financially feasible, the business can allocate internal resources and allow an existing employee time in his/her schedule for social media.

Be forewarned because it should not be just any employee! Just because Joe or Sue has an account on every social media network does not make Joe or Sue the perfect candidate for the job. I would recommend that any internal employee offering to assist with social media be required to submit examples of their own posts or other work. Poor punctuation, grammar and spelling on personal sites would usually translate into the same on business pages.

Adding the element of a volunteer organization further complicates the above process because the person(s) in charge of social media are often volunteers with their own lives, employers and agendas. Regardless, the recommendation stands.  Just because volunteer Joe or Sue has an account on a social network does not mean he/she is right for the job.

They say silence is golden but, in social media, extended silence is toxic. What steps do you take to prevent the silence from falling?

About the Author:

KYLE12062012Kyle Jones is a fan of comic books, science fiction, gadgets and a devoted Doctor Who “Whovian.” Professionally, he is the Human Resources Manager at Megagate Broadband, Inc. and served as the first Social Media Director of Mississippi SHRM. He is a longtime SHRM member and continues to serve the HR profession online and as an advisor to MSSHRM council members and to South Mississippi SHRM. HR to Who: From Human Resources to Doctor Who.

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