As everyone is embarking into the social media frontier, certain social patterns emerge. Social capital is a term used by human social network theorists as a value of your ability to network similar to a value placed on an real object. This is a subjective quantity and everyone must determine their social capital criteria. Whether your brand is a personal brand or a corporate brand, I have summarized 5 basic social media patterns that can keep you from growing your social capital and for some, erode your social capital.
#1 One-way broadcasting of content
Have you ever got annoyed at a SNS poster who blasted messages at you like a machine gun? All the value of social media gets sucked out when you don’t pause to let you followers build you up. Let each message soak into your community and let your community’s broadcast depth take your message to the wind. You will see your social capital soar.
#2 Not tapping into the power of follower generated content
Remember you were told that you should listen to your mother. Many people fail to ask and listen to their community. Your community can be the best source for unleashing truly creative forces and be the best word-of-mouth advice out there. They serve as your ambassadors and champions and will build up your social capital for your brand–engage them.
#3 Behaving badly to criticism or censoring everything you dislike
Your actions are seen only from a very flat context by your followers and can be interpreted the wrong way quickly. Be authentic and your value will be repaid with followers loyalty. Openness is one of the attributes used by some researchers as a way of organically growing your community. Be open and trusting and it will go a long way to building up some social capital.
#4 Not about the numbers
Even though you may succumb to the social arms race, a collection of followers may look good but are they really following your brand? Look to followers who can serve as your brand ambassadors and champions. To keep those loyal listeners you must provide timely, relevant and engaging information.
#5 Treating your other social networks as step-children
If you put too much weight on any one social network, your brand name is going to suffer. 72% of users in InSight Consulting’s survey of 2009 are members of 2 social networks on average. A lot of companies in the US have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Your social networks are like your children, you will need to nurture and spend quality time with each one .
The virtual social media world is no different than the human social world. Be the mayor of your community, treat your social media community with care, and watch your social capital grow.