WebProNews has a very thoughtful article about corporate brands trying to use social media and failing to engage. The article asks if these companies are “antisocial.”
It’s a question worth asking and I think in many cases, they are. But I prefer to use the word “contrasocial” to describe the way these companies operate in the social media environment.
As I’m using the word, “antisocial” means an underlying philosophical bent against socializing. This represents the common usage of the word. It describes a person or entity that does not WANT to engage in a meaningful and acceptable social behavioral pattern. I don’t think any business attempting to use social media fits that definition.
On the other hand, being social and using social media effectively are two different things. Maybe you think your business is being social simply by using the tools at your disposable. After all, if you show up at a party and shake hands with 50 people while you are there, weren’t you being “social?” Not if you consider that the only thing you did was shake hands and pass out business cards. That doesn’t really cut it.
True social media marketing is sociable. That is, personable. But that’s not how a lot of businesses approach the media.
If your social media presence is to consistently promote your own links, your own content, and to use traditional marketing tactics of push, push, PUSH that message through rather than to pull, pull, PULL your prospects in, then you are being contrasocial.
What Does It Mean To Be Contrasocial?
In contrast to “antisocial,” contrasocial describes a set of behavior patterns as opposed to a philosophy. Antisocial types don’t want to socialize. Contrasocial types want to socialize, but do it poorly.
The distinction is important because when you are contrasocial you are actually trying to be social. The problem is, your actions are getting in the way. Instead of stopping to get to know each person you talk to at that party and engaging on a more personal level, you try to work the numbers in a very impersonal way. If you slowed down on the shaking-hands-and-passing-out-the-business-cards part of socializing and spent more time on the getting-to-know-the-prospect type of socializing, then you might only pass out 25 business cards at that party, but those 25 people would have a deeper understanding of you and your business (and you, theirs) and you’d have more viable prospects for your business. The socializing would be more effective.
This phenomenon is true also of social media. In fact, it’s probably more true in social media marketing than it is in traditional face-to-face networking.
Instead of approaching social media as if it is a numbers game and pushing your message to your prospects in hopes that they’ll respond as if watching a TV commercial, try to engage on a more personal level. Be sociable. Kill the contrasocial cockroach who is just there to get a handshake and leave.