I was a bit sleepless last night and began thinking about some of the deep thoughts of social media that continue to resonate with me long after I’ve heard them. The first was a statement made at Gov2.0 camp I believe (heard vicariously through two co-workers that attended): “Social media is free, like a puppy is free.”. So true. The second is from EPA’s Jeffrey Levy: “Mission. Tool. Metrics. Teach.” and is an easy to remember approach for social media usage.
Last night another deep thought came to mind: “People first. Practice second.” Meaning you should always try to connect with the person first before selling your service or product. I’ve reconnected with an old friend from high school on Facebook and he’s been very aggressive about trying to sell me some product that is part of a side job of his. It’s a huge turn off and almost a case for defriending. I think if he had simply reconnected with me and then later mentioned his side job and what he was trying to do, I might have been more inclined to purchase something from him because of the friendship.
At its core, social media is about connecting. It makes it easier for us to meet people with similar interests, people of our choosing, rather than just the people we live and work near. But you don’t want to be like that guy at the cocktail party that talks incessantly about his business without listening to what others do first. So start by listening to your customers, learn what they are talking about and what their needs are, then start posting information that will resonate with them because you’ve listened.
Try to weave some human elements into your organization’s use of social media – through personal tweets, photos on Facebook, a video introduction on your blog, etc. It will make you seem more real and show the person behind the acronym. I think we love a good personal “story” to be shared, one that compels us to choose you over all the others out there like you. We love a good underdog – show us the struggles you’ve overcome to get to where you are now.
And finally, I’ll end with an homage to the original, one from my collection of deep thoughts by Jack Handey, “If you go through a lot of hammers each month, I don’t think it necessarily means you’re a hard worker. It may just mean that you have a lot to learn about proper hammer maintenance.” Hmmm, you might say the same for having a lot of tweets.
In honor of social media day (#smday), what deep thought has stuck with you?