Thursday, January 26, 2012

Social Media, Silence, and You.

They say “Silence is Golden”; in fact there’s a song about it. The chorus goes “Silence is golden, but my eyes still see.” And while the song relates how not telling someone about something they’ve observed that would cause them heartache, how does the expression translate to the world of social media?

Let’s look at Facebook in particular.

On a personal level, I’ve received oodles of private messages from friends saying they love what I post and they look forward to the next one. Flattering? Heck yeah. I respond with a thank you and gently suggest they click like and make a comment too; after all, social media is supposed to be social.

Does this sort of behavior make silence golden and why do they do it?

They’re either not fulling understanding the concept of engagement in relation to social media or they have a fear of Facebook:  Afraid of posting in a public place and having it come back and bite them via searches, fear of loss of their privacy. And that fear is derived directly from Facebook since Facebook constantly makes changes and neglects users by not informing them about the upcoming changes. And regarding privacy, how many times have you seen articles about Facebook privacy issues? A lot of folks are still spooked by the information they’ve seen from the media.

On the other hand, Google is making a lot of changes. This would include Google+, so it certainly deserves mention here.  There have already been articles over a month in advance regarding those Google's internal structural changes, a video on YouTube, and emails sent out to everyone with a Gmail account. No secrets here.

Facebook is downright scary to lots of people. Do you have friends that refuse to join
Facebook or who have checked out of Facebook for greener pastures? I sure do.

Back to the quietness.  Can we attribute it to a particular demographic such as life stage? I have noticed that the friends who aren’t visible tend to be “older”. Note, this is just an observation and I haven’t done any sort of formal survey or analysis.

Here’s the good news: Just because folks aren’t responding, it doesn’t mean that some of them aren't paying attention to what you’re posting. They've even got a name: Facebook Lurkers.

From the Urban Dictionary:

Someone that passively trawls Facebook, but doesn’t leave a Facebook footprint by writing on walls, commenting or liking things. Facebook lurkers love the book, but seek to create a facade that they're never on it.

How does this relate to your business? If a Facebook Lurker initially “liked” your page, they likely have an interest, unfortunately, we don’t know exactly what that level of interest is. However, some will be reading what’s new on your page every day. They may even be buying your product, or if you’re offering a service, referring you to others. On a not so positive note, you’re not reaping the benefits of their opinions and replies.

Don’t give up on them! Continue to post good content and post intelligent questions. Encourage conversation as much as you can, because they may very well be your silent ambassadors.

That would make silence golden then, wouldn’t it?

Here’s the hit version of the tune “Silence is Golden” by the Tremeloes. The song made it #12 on the U.S. Top Forty in 1967 and was a #1 smash in their native UK.

Next post: Part 2 ...same subject looked at "from the other side".


Anonymous said...

Great post, and a great avenue to walk down. Looking forward to part 2! = Tim

Gerry Wendel said...

BRACE yourself for part 2 b/c it's not very pretty! About 90% of is "in the can".

Shannon Grissom said...

One lurker confessed to me that she lurks through her husband's page. Neither of them ever engage me in conversation....virtually.... Good food for thought Gerry!

Gerry Wendel said...

Lots of that going on Shannon. Yikes.

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