I am excited.
No, this displaced New Yorker hasn’t found a better pizza joint than Spinelli’s in Midtown West. Not in VA, anyway.
The social media class I’ve aaaaaaalmost completed turned me on to two great texts: Groundswell and The Tao of Twitter, which have truly opened my eyes to the power of social media. Yes, it allows some people to get a few things off of their chests, but it also electrifies (literally and figuratively) the connections between individuals. We humble humans thrive on personal connections-have since the dawn of man. SM allows us to keep in touch with Grandma, the kids, Uncle Pooky, the lawn guy, and anyone else with an avatar 24-7-365. You could try doing the same via “the old fashioned way”, but ringing your neighbor’s doorbell at 3 a.m., 7 a.m., 7:15 a.m., 3 p.m., 11 p.m., and 11:03 p.m. to see if his kids are still making funny faces won’t win you any cool points with him. Plus, it’s just creepy. Twitter, Facebook, and other sites let you do so without having to explain why you’re stalking the neighbors to the cops at 3 a.m.
There are written and unwritten rules that identify how best to interact with your friends, neighbors, business partners and others when meeting them in-person, on the phone, and via email. There are also ways to do the same through tweets and blogs-which aren’t much different from email, except that just about everyone on the planet can see (and comment) on them. Following one, two, or all of the suggestions below will make you less, well, e-creepy:
- Find your voice. Let’s assume you’re representing your business in some official capacity. Let’s assume you’re the one in direct control of the messages. Let’s also assume you’re identifying yourself as “The Company”–that you’re “Crazy Pete’s,” not “Crazy Pete.” Remember, that social media is all about making connections-even you’re using electrons instead of handshakes or fist bumps, there’s still a person on the other end of that keyboard. Be yourself, however, similar rules regarding etiquette and basic “home training” still apply when posting to SM sites, especially if doing so on behalf of your employer. You wouldn’t cuss out a business partner during a teleconference, would you? Same applies online.
- Determine your strategy. Is your strategy to communicate? If your goal is to influence, promote or sell, your strategy should be communication-based. You are going to want to attract attention. To attract attention, you are going to need to tweet, direct message, engage with other users and focus on getting information out in the Twitterverse. Same applies to blogging.
- Don’t schedule and forget. We all get busy, and sometimes need a little help getting the word out about a brand, person, mission, or otherwise. During two past national tragedies, many organizations had pre-scheduled promotional posts. These pre-schedules were left unattended and made said organizations look insensitive, absent and unappealing. Some movies were postponed or edited after 9/11-how would your Twitter/blog followers feel if you hyped up a movie about a terrorist plot to attack NYC…on 9/12? As a New Yorker, and a decent human being, I would be very unhappy. Ask yourself: Is my pre-schedule still relevant? The number one rule is respect the contact. The number two rule is use common sense.
Years ago, I took the opportunity to review quite a few Facebook and Twitter sites hosted by the Department of Defense when I was asked to establish a social media presence by my previous employer. What struck me as disturbing and refreshing at the time was that posts and other messages appeared to be written by a person. Not only did they share pertinent info about their mission, but photos and videos of troops at unit BBQs, performing in concerts, and other morale-boosting events that showed the human side of a force that, when called, must sometimes break things and hurt others to defend our freedom.
They even asked site visitors to share their weekend plans with them. At the time, I asked myself, “who the heck cares that Sergeant Snuffy washed his car while listening to Widespread Panic” this weekend?
He cared enough to share, and Facebook cared enough to read, comment, and check the site later for other posts. It’s all about the connections, VetCommers-the human connection. We’re sharing, helping, hoping, and LOL-ing online more now than ever. If you heed the three suggestions above, people will continue to connect with you and your company, without being e-creeped out.