Fast Company

Avoid Overloading Social Media Networks with Useless Noise

With nearly 50 million tweets a day posted to Twitter and more than 400 million active users on Facebook, there can be a lot of noise in social media marketing that might obscure the message and value you as a business are trying to deliver. To rise above the noise, you have to make sure you're not contributing to it.

As a business owner or marketer, you have to be thoughtful of and recognize that when you put something out on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media networks, you're asking for someone's time and attention. Unless you're a food critic, your audience doesn't care what you had for dinner or that your peanut butter and jelly sandwich was a bit soggy. Tweeting useless information can overload your followers and may cause them to tune you out.

If I follow a business on Twitter or Like it on Facebook, I want it to tell me something of interest and to provide value when it posts content to its social networks. It can post links to articles of interest, content on its own site, information about a sale, or some other item of note that helps grow the connection I have with the business. Otherwise it's just noise.

Twitter's 140-character limit makes it harder to tell a complete story in that short space, so use links back to your website, blog, or an archived version of your newsletter to tell a bigger story. And one word of caution: Watch out for "shortcut" terms on Twitter (i.e. FWIW = For What It's Worth), since a mainstream audience may not know what that means. You don't want to confuse your audience with too many unfamiliar acronyms.

Of course, if you're just beginning to embrace social media marketing, how do you know what's noise and what's not? I recommend you set up your accounts, follow/friend/Like companies and people that you admire and/or compete with, and observe. Watch what they do and see what stands out to you. Jump into conversations where you see fit, and when you do post something new, make sure you're providing value to your constituents.

Social media marketing is not about ego. You don't want to post just to be heard. If you're not providing value, you're likely wasting the time of your followers, fans, and — more importantly — your customers.

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  • Scott Zimmerman

    Great and helpful information! In the last couple of years I've seen such an enormous interest in Facebook pages among the businesses we work with here at TeleVox. I would like to add a couple additional tips, if I may.

    For many people Facebook is an escape; it’s entertainment, it’s a way to keep in touch, and it’s a way to stay informed. From its inception, it has been “social” media. So being "all business" might make you look like a stick-in-the-mud. It could give people the impression that you’re out of touch or that you’re totally missing the point of Facebook. Yes you do have business objectives, but don't be afraid to let the multi-faceted fun side of your business shine through.

    Being an admirer is often a missing piece with many Facebook pages. They’ve learned how to talk about themselves and shine the spotlight on their achievements but they haven’t quite figured out how to recognize others. Great ways to do this are by posting a message of congratulations to someone on your wall, linking out or sharing someone’s article, or by “liking” or praising someone’s comment. Another way to show admiration is through an application available on Facebook called “Favorite Pages.” This application can be added to your page and would allow you to display links to other Facebook pages you like. It can not only provide value to your fans, but also demonstrate that you’re proud to support other businesses within your community and industry.

    Thank you for your post.

    Scott Zimmerman, President, TeleVox