If you’re in tune with what’s going on with social media nowadays, you’re probably starting to hear the same things repeated over and over again. Social media is, to quote Mugatu, “so hot right now” – it’s buzz-worthy, it’s sexy, it’s hip. Businesses and organizations everywhere are getting on the social media bandwagon, even if they have no idea why they should be doing it (hint: bad idea).
Everyone wants to know how they can be a part of the conversation – how their business can be the topic of discussion. And often times that’s where it stops. The desire to be popular, to be an influencer, to be engaged – it’s there. But what happens next?
It’s easy to get caught up in the bright lights and sexiness of social media. So let’s take a look at some of those broken-record buzz-words, but more importantly, what they mean for your own social media strategy.
By far the most overused word in the social media lingo. You want to know “How can my brand have an authentic conversation”? Short answer: You have to stop thinking like a ‘brand’ and start thinking like a human. Your customers, clients, and community want to converse and relate to a human being – an actual voice that is helpful, interesting, funny, and genuinely interested in building a relationship. How can you be authentic? By being you. It’s that simple. Don’t get stuck dipping your foot into the shallow end trying to figure out what to say – instead – jump into the deep end and be yourself, an authentic “human” brand representing your brand.
The difficulty with transparency is distinguishing between transparency and translucency. How do you let your friend and followers see the “real you” without giving it all away? Again, this come back to discretion, but also understanding that social media is just that, social. If you’re hiding behind a wall of secrecy and non-disclosure, do you expect people to trust you? Without trust, do you anticipate being able to build any relationships that convert to sales? Exactly. Don’t try too hard – and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you say the wrong thing, own your mistakes and miscues, acknowledge them, and learn from them. Sometimes making a mistake and admitting to it can actually be a positive thing for your business. It shows, yep, you guessed it, authenticity.
Listen & Engage
Both are critical to a successful social media strategy but they’ll tie you up if you let them. If you’re engaging in conversation, jumping into things at the wrong time and communicating with the wrong people, your message isn’t going to be effective. On the contrary, if you’re spending too much time listening and approaching social media in a purely reactive way, only speaking when spoken too, you’re totally missing the point of being a conversationalist. A true social media aficionado understands the importance of listening and timely engagement, but also embraces being a proactive conversationalist and the value of instigating discussion.
Social media, believe it or not, is still in it’s embryonic stage – and it’s constantly evolving. We’re all learning as we go. Today I encourage you to throw caution to the wind, step out of your comfort zone, stop watching from the sidelines, and start playing ball.
Being an active part of the conversation already puts you ahead of the pack.