social media isn’t a website plug-in it’s something you do

Social media isn’t something you add to a website, it’s something you do. When I look back over the social media projects I’ve been involved in over the years, it’s obvious that the key variable upon which success, or failure, is dependent is to what extent to which social media has actually been integrated into the overall editorial proposition. Here’s some examples:

Works: A chat room where the presenter dips in and out of the conversation, reads comments from the chat on air, uses the chat room to actually drive part of the programme works because the effort expended in hosting the chat is well spent.

Doesn’t Work:  A stand alone chat room fails because someone with better stuff to do has to sit there and moderate it.

Works: A focused, topical, editorially relevant discussion off the back of a piece of content can add value to that content for participants and non-participants alike.

Doesn’t Work: An open ended discussion space where participants set the agenda, chit-chat about what they want and chit-chat drifts far away from the editorial of the site or page does little, if anything, to add value for non-participants.

Works: When a blogger reads and responds to comments left by readers, and uses the comments to better inform later posts, or where the blogger is able to use comments as a source of information, contacts or content, they’re likely to gain significantly through that participation.

Doesn’t Work: A blog where comments are simply ignored isn’t social media, it’s just media.

Works: A programme related facebook group where production staff, journalists and talent interact with their audience can be useful for gathering ideas, finding contacts and getting people to go on air.

Doesn’t Work: A facebook group that simply tells audience members what they already know or can find out easily – the time and content of the programme.

The only way to "do social media" is to embrace it, not just as something that’s tacked onto the back of a website, but as a method of actually doing whatever it is your business is. Simply adding "interactivity" to a website does little to improve the experience for participants and puts additional strains upon the people who have to look after and manage the spaces you create. But by embracing social media as part of your method for actually doing whatever it is your business to do, you become an authentic part of the user community and your participation, far from being an additional burden, becomes and important part of your process.

I guess it’s just another way of explaining that in order to properly "do social media" you’ve got to start by doing it yourself, and by integrating social media tools and methodologies into your process from the beginning. Be creative about how you do this and you can gain added efficiencies, and new audiences, by turning your processes into content.


  1. I agree on interaction in social media, as for me is the essential component for web sites/online communities in any businesses. Author, producer,lecturer, journalist, professional who wants “to embrace social media” has to have in mind the most important key role in creating it: collaboration that enables participants to connect through digital spaces and social networking places.
    For me, simple website with social web interactive applications is the largest social network. Couldn’t it be any better, useful and safer place for people to find you and contact you, if needed?

  2. Nice – especially “In order to properly “do social media” you’ve got to start by doing it yourself.” Would that they would take it on board..

  3. Danica and Jeremy, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I wonder if there is anyone out there who thinks I’m just plain wrong (??).

  4. Good points. I had a client ask me if we could “add” social networking to their site a few weeks ago. I told the client it wasn’t that simple, that it took a commitment of time and effort and they would need to learn what “it” was before investing. That was all the client needed to hear before dumping the idea.

Comments are closed.