• Michael Weeding

To truly build relationships using social media it might be time to stop broadcasting and start enga

For many brands social media is still predominately used as a broadcast tool and as a result the focus for these organisations is on friends and followers as a key metric of success. If you are going to say something you want people to hear it, and it is even better if they promote it to their network as the reach of your message is even larger.

It all sounds good, until you look a little deeper.

Let’s take Twitter as an example as over 64% of large businesses in Australia regularly use it. The 2013 Yellow Social Media Report states that on average a Twitter user will follow 116 accounts up from 83 in 2012. This makes sense considering on average an active Twitter user will spend on average 9 minutes a day managing and reading Tweets.

With over 58 million tweets being generated every day at an average of 9.5 tweets per active user this would mean that potentially 1,074 Tweets may need to be consumed every day. If it takes 1 seconds on average to consume a tweet then an average user would need to spend just under 18 minutes per day to consume all the tweets from their followers. The time spent engaging with Twitter indicates that in most cases this is a feat that will not be achieved by many Twitter users.

So an organisations hunger for Twitter followers and re-tweets from their network in attempt to grow the reach of their social media communications cannot be relied on as a source of promotion as many who could be potentially exposed to this broadcast may actually never see it.

When it comes to a platform like Twitter there are so many more opportunities than just being used as a broadcast or customer service tool. If brands really want to truly build relationships using social media it might be time to stop broadcasting and start engaging. As social media strategies evolve then the opportunities of using platforms such as Twitter to crowd source ideas, generate sales and conduct focus groups as a couple of examples should become more common amongst many of the major brands.

When this starts to happen I may be tempted to start to follow more brands as they may potentially become more interesting sources of information and engagement than they are today.


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