This week I am returning to my A to Z series on social media however not necessarily in the order I left off. In this post, I really want to talk about “What is Social?”. I want to take this opportunity to talk about the behavioural attributes that makes for a good “Social Media Aficionado”. I loved saying that. Why? Well, the more I speak to businesses and organizations, the more I realize that the expectations of “how to manage” a community or “What the expectations are” when you decide to work or play in this space, are not necessarily understood. I have noticed specifically, that courtesies that are practiced off-line, are often shed, like a Siberian Husky in Spring, as soon as that person enters the online space. Wrong move- these courtesies still apply. Secondly (and it is going to sound like I am contradicting myself but I am not)- the traditional marketing and public relations practices that are used off-line just do not work in social media. If you push information and you are not present as a person, you will fail. It is not “business as usual” when you are in the social media space. You need to be responsive to any questions and own the information you are sharing.
Sometime ago one of my Linkedin network members shared their definition of what it means to be on social media and I liked the approach. I am going to build on that approach by using “social” as an acronym with my own definitions of what it means to be ”social” in social media.
S is for sharing and sharing is caring. This is the number one attribute without a doubt: “sharing”. You share who you are, you share information, your share your perspective, you share, share, share. This is the attribute that many businesses and organizations who are new to social media have a hard time getting their heads around. It is often the attribute where many get themselves into hot water – this and transparency. Sharing in this space means that there is a two-way channel with a focus on what your target audience deem valuable.It is also responsible sharing. It is not about just pushing what you want. It is in fact an act of giving, a form of collaboration and it is what makes this space hum. In fact the more you give the more you get back in return. It is the way it works. I have stopped counting the number of Facebook Pages where there is a dictionary definition on the landing page and nothing else. Why? Not only are you not sharing but the door is closed which brings me to the second attribute.
O is for Open.The door is open – transparency is critical. Think of this attribute as an open house for the subject or business you have decided to share in the social media space. The hardest thing with this attribute for those who enter is the level or degree of transparency that should be shared with the reader. Many struggle with this. What I will say and stretching my analogy a little further is that you cannot have an open house and limit your visitors to the front-door. It does not work.. Decide on the topics (rooms) and be prepared to welcome your guests to start the dialogue. Have that open, authentic dialogue with them. I cannot emphasize that enough.
C is for character. Character and personality are important ingredients for a good blogger and/or community manager. It is the magnet that gets your audience there and along with your quality content, keeps them coming back for more. You are the host of the community and social media space. Consequently, you are the face of your organization or your social media space. It needs to reflect your values, your brand and what you stand for. Your character and personality needs to be consistent across all your social platforms.
I is for Information. What can I say about information that has not been said? I can’t but just emphasize what many good bloggers and social media marketers have said many times. It needs to be good, succinct, targeted, focused, high quality information that resonates with the reader. Recently we have had a lot of discussion on the importance of good content – so do read those posts to ensure you hit all the key points.
A is for Awesome. A time to share your awesomeness! Yeah! How? Well, I have spoken to content and personality now add motivation, creativity and variety to delivering your message and who you are. At the same time be true to yourself and do not put something out there that you would not standby. As you build your reputation and credibility, mistakes will happen. Own them. Be transparent and fix it. This will only add to your “awesomeness”. Have fun! Make it interesting. Make it engaging. Lastly, be patient for people to discover your awesomeness. It does take time.
L is for Learning. A day missed in social media, is a day missed in a whole bunch of learning. I kid you not! This field is moving at the speed of lightening. Perhaps you can call yourself an expert for a day, only to become a student the next. Inevitably there is something new to build extra knowledge and skills the next day. As a result, you have to have a mindset that is open to constant learning and change. If you are seeking stability, this is not the place to find it. In fact you will not last if you are not flexible and adaptable.
So this is my list of attributes that encompass being social in social media. Your turn. Agree? Disagree? Can you add to them? If you cannot think of any of the above, tell me ”Why you are awesome?” Let me know! In the interim , let me leave you with this cartoon. Remember sharing is caring- so spread the word, spread the love. Lets redefine global warming within our social media space. LOL!
Photo by Funchye
Cartoon used with permission of cartoonist
- There is No Social Media Magic Pill (studmuffinmedia.wordpress.com)
- Be social: Do you really need a social media manager? (marketing.yell.com)
- Being social in The Social Media World (social media today)