The Biggest Secret of Social Media

Kitsch at Serendipity III

Here’s the biggest secret of social media: if you don’t like people very much, it won’t work very well.

I did an interview for a magazine recently, where the first (not the second or subsequent question) was how one might automate all their social media usage and save time. Can you imagine? The very first question, rewritten by me, would have read: “How does one take this very human medium and robotize it the way we’ve done that with all the other communications methods in our life?”

I’m not some kind of kumbaya, let’s-hug-the-whales guy, but at the same time, if you’re thinking that social media’s going to bring prosperity to your business, and yet your first thoughts are on how to mechanize it, you might be looking at the wrong tool. The purpose of the toolset is to provide a way to communicate in a more directed way, to communicate in a more narrowly defined way, to be able to respond in two-way modes instead of use the single direction modes that came before. It’s not that we have to be all love all the time, and it’s not that we shouldn’t intend to use the tools for business. But we have to think about their usage and how to keep the best parts working.

Automation Isn’t Wrong

Before we go too far, automation isn’t wrong. Using tools to better perform your tasks isn’t wrong. Rather, the goal is that you use these tools in service of better serving your buyers. Listening tools are awesome. Scheduling tweets isn’t evil, provided you’re mixing it in with organic tweets (see also: you’re doing it wrong).

But at the end of it all, the goal is that you’re using the tools to better connect with people.

Marketing and Communications Aren’t “Necessary Evils”

When I think about the people I’ve heard talking about social media as if it’s an automated road to wealth, I think they all have a fairly negative view of marketing and communications. They see sales as the ultimate department, the most important part of the process. And while I’d argue that neither marketing, nor communications, nor sales is the most important part of a business (the answer: customer service), I’d say that marketing and communications are very much an important part of the ecosystem of building relationships with your buyer.

But that thought in and of itself is worth considering: do you consider any part of your organization a “necessary evil?” If so, what does that say about the function those people serve? Do you think Corporate IT are a bunch of jerks who won’t let you have iPads? There are reasons for their decisions (most times). Do you think the legal department is the enemy? That’s because you haven’t found the best way to work with them yet.

The Best Secret Is One You Probably Know

Most folks who read [] already know that being human is the goal. That’s the thing. The people who don’t care about people are reading blogs with posts that say “Dominate Your List!” So, it’s not that I told you something you don’t know.

Instead, this is kind of a “resist the pull to the dark side” post. Remember why you were drawn to social media. And look for ways to expand that secret power of yours into something that shows value to the others, so that they see your perspective on this.

It’s the best we can hope for, I think.


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