Social Media experiment: more social or more media?

I have a little theory – they way businesses interact with customers via social media is generally much more about media than it is about the social aspect.  I know, it’s probably not a new theory, but I’d like to test it on a personal level with a small experiment throughout the month of March.

The experiment

I’m going to pick 11 businesses where I’m already a customer and take it to the next level by interacting with them via Facebook and Twitter.  At the end of the month, I’ll look at how my impressions of these businesses have changed.  My experiment will examine three specific areas:

  • Engagement.  Does the business proactively try to engage me as a customer when I connect with them on Facebook and Twitter?
  • Interaction.  Does the business respond when I reach out to them via Facebook and Twitter?
  • Social, Media, or both: Does the business focus on the social element, the media element, or both?

The businesses I’ve chosen fit three criteria:

  • They are actively using both Facebook and Twitter
  • I’m already a customer
  • I don’t have a personal relationship with any of the principals of the organization or a vested interest in the outcome (other than improved customer service!).

For now, I’ll keep the businesses confidential to maintain a level playing field.  Here are a few demographics:

  • 7 local businesses and 4 national chains
  • 5 restaurants, 4 stores, 2 entertainment providers
  • 3 have a single location, 8 have multiple locations

Please check back for regular updates, weigh-ins from experts, and the eventual reveal of who I am interacting with. Or, you can follow me on Twitter if you want to observe the experiment in real-time. @Toister