My wife, Shirley, started a Facebook group that now has over 1900 fans, over 1000 photo uploads and rising all the time. The group is called “My Border Collie is smarter than most of the people I know.” In contrast, I’ve seen many other people try to start Facebook fan pages for their companies or sites with far worse results, while spending a lot more time and resources as well. The difference is that my wife’s group is fun and interesting and creates a community of people who can easily communicate about a subject they love. It’s definitely ‘social’ first, definitely ‘media’ last. She affectionately calls it “my border collie group” but it obviously belongs to a lot of people.
“My border collie group” is smarter than a lot of people I know
Companies I’ve seen will try sending some “social media expert” or a young person (because they “understand” Facebook) to try and set up a Facebook group and get people to join without any idea whatsoever why people would join or like their page, group or company.
And they have little foresight about what might be the effect of people liking the group or becoming a fan. More often than not those people will never ever give the fan page another thought in their lives and will likely delete it if they ever get around to cleaning up their Facebook accounts. This is usually much worse than just a me-too mentality; it’s more like “let’s force this on people and on ourselves regardless of any sense of relevance.”
Social media has to be fun. People get together to have fun. They hardly ever get together to be bored and do nothing together. You need to give people a fun reason to join your group and come to your party.
My wife didn’t set out to create a huge Facebook group. She didn’t even know how much activity would be possible on it when she started it years ago. She just set out to have some fun. Sure enough, people wanted to join in.
Social media “experts” & business
Companies getting involved in social media need to put people first and fun first. There’s very likely something immediately wrong when a bunch of people sit around a boardroom talking about how to get involved in social media. In fact, I can vouchsafe for the fact that there has definitely been something wrong every time I’ve had the misfortune to actually be one of those people.
If you are interested in hiring my wife as a social media person with a good track record of success, don’t bother, I’ve got my eye on her. But I know she has no interest in ever sitting in on one of your boardroom meetings focused on “how to leverage our position in social media.” She’d rather be having fun, I think.
Just to close, here’s an awesome video I once posted to my wife’s group. Why say goodbye when you can say hello. After all, social media is all about being friendly.
added later: There’s a good final pun to be made about old dogs (even though my dog was not that old at the time of this video) and new tricks – but I’m not sure I want to make it. Comment below to add your pun?
added later still: Sadly, Samson (featured below) passed away suddenly in his own home, November 16th. 🙁