The hottest topics I usually find among new clients (for social media strategy) seem to continuously circle around learning and defining what are the “right” and “wrong” things to do within social media. Their questions may sound different, but there are always many and the intent is usually the same; building boxes, drawing lines, and creating labels so that we know exactly where we stand in the big-wide-world of the unknown.
Social media is exactly that – the unknown – and there is nothing wrong with asking a question you don’t know the answer to. However, in the social media world, a world that is roughly 50-60 years young, no one has all the answers. We as users are still creating them and we as humans decide how this phenomenal invention will continue to develop, how far it will reach, and the various types of “rights” and “wrongs” that will come from it.
With such a newly and undeveloped medium for communication and the vastness of information for each platform, accessible with just a few clicks, focusing purely on all those details will swallow you whole without even bating an eye.
Don’t get me wrong; there are very important rules and regulations for each platform that keep the creators, the users, and the community safe. However, I’ve found that the basic elements to being social rarely change, online or off.
No matter how big the world of social media continues to stretch, the creators, the users, and the innovators of the next big thing are all still
human. With that being said, I’ve compiled a list of (6) ways to help everyone out there in getting social.
It’s not what you do or how you do it, it’s where you’re coming from that will be your catalyst for making the biggest impact.
I view social media very similar to attending a real life party. The goal is to be engaging, interactive, sociable and contribute to the conversation that is relevant to the party, but not making the conversations all about you. It’s about being noticed through genuinely listening to what other people are saying, discovering what is truly important to them, and from that sharing what you feel could serve their interests best (inspiration, information, a new conneciton, tips, tools, ideas, etc).
1. BE A HEART CONNECTOR – KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
The ultimate goal of social media is to create and strengthen relationships with your audience. With each interaction your goal is to create cures for doubts, fears, and insecurities while building bridges between hearts, dreams, and ideas. This may sound big and cheesy (because it is), but it can be done and through all the small ways. No matter who you are or what you do, there are people out there who need what you have to give and vise versa. Look for and find the connection. This effort will leave a lasting impression wherever you go.
2. BE HUMBLE – YOU COULD BE WRONG
Whether you are a mommy of ten little ones or the Founder and CEO of a billion dollar industry you are most likely indisputably an expert in your field. You didn’t start out with all the answers though. You started out with nothing but questions. Life is a journey and if you are at the end you are probably dead. Approach everything with a little humility, curiosity, and Aw because you could actually learn something. On the flip side, who wants to have a conversation with a know-it-all?
3. BE KIND – IT COULD BE YOU
People want to be heard. People want to share their experiences and how they see the world. Abraham Lincoln said it best, “Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.” No matter how extreme the view, inject a little kindness, empathy, and compassion – it could be you.
4. BE ENGAGING – YOU CAN’T BE SOCIAL AT A TABLE FOR ONE
I see people spend all their time focusing on creating a page and adding content, but not engaging with anyone on their social pages or through the platforms they are using. Talking to someone who doesn’t talk back is about as stimulating as watching paint dry. Don’t be shy and don’t be afraid to talk to people. Talking is essential for a conversation and listening is essential for good conversation. Go on, talk to people. That’s what being social is all about.
5. BE A GIVER – TO ATTRACT GIVERS
Giver or Taker? We are all one or the other at any given time, but as a rule of thumb most people would rather spend their time with a giver than a taker. Be a giver by sharing relevant and engaging content. It’s not about looking cool (excluding people), it’s about being cool (including people). Make sure your content is an experience other people can relate to. When sharing your experiences is your intent, you have then made an effort to include people in our life. You know what I’m talking about; there are people who tell stories and there are people who share stories, but it’s not the story itself that keeps you listening.
6. BE STRONGER THAN THE REST – NEVER CRITICIZE, CONDEMN OR COMPLAIN
People should have the right to feel safe when sharing their point of view, including you. Be stronger than the rest. Use every ounce of will power you have to hold back criticism, condemnation, and complaining. Even though you may not see the affects right away, trust me when I say, you will stand out from the crowd.
I had a mentor once tell me, “If they can’t explain it simply then they probably don’t know what they are talking about.” When I start to get overwhelmed, (and believe me – I do!) and when I start to get boxed in with all the “rights” and “wrongs” of what action to take next, I just go back to my mentors simple advice. Being social is all about being human and finding a way to better connect with the basic humanities within each of us. What I’ve come to learn through the years is that everything is about connecting with people. It really is that simple.
Be a heart connector, be humble, be kind, be engaging, be a giver, be stronger than the rest, and above all just be human.