Social media, keeping it simple!

The more social media progresses, the more complicated it seems to get. Every week, I hear about a new social media platform out there that a business or individual can use to “get the word out”, “bring value”, “share”, “pin”, “post”, “comment”, “view”, “tag”, “blog”, “tweet”, “share”, “link”, and so on and so forth. Social media has become more and more of a buzz word that businesses use and that entrepreneurs feel they need for their daily lives. There are also plenty of “gurus” and “experts” that sell you on the fact that they can train you on social media and how to leverage it for business. I am no social media expert or guru. I probably have violated some of the social media etiquette rules as well. I want to share my thoughts on social media and then you can take it for whatever its worth.

I recently listened to two of Gary Vaynerchuck’s books “Thank You Economy” and “Crush It”. I 100% say, Gary is the most relevant expert and guru on the scene when it comes to social media. He mentioned a few things to consider in these books: First, social media is here, and is not going away. Money and business will follow where the eyes go. If you look around, everybody’s eyes are hooked into their mobile devices. People are on social media and platforms and the number of people doing so is increasing at a fast rate. Second, Gary talks about bringing value and delivering high quality content that people want to read. Keep the good stuff rolling.

Here are my thoughts on social media. Imagine you are sitting in a busy and crowded coffee shop. Bob walks in, you know and are friends with Bob. Bob “posts” a status update by yelling out to the coffee shop: “I am so excited to go snowboarding this weekend!” You approach Bob and say, “Great to hear Bob, where are you headed?” Bob replies, “Copper Mountain”. Then Rick who is a friend of yours, but not Bob’s, saw this exchange and then jumps into your conversation and starts discussing snowboarding and Copper Mountain. Since Rick lived in Copper Mountain he can bring great value to Bob about some great local spots to eat up there. You, Bob and Rick continue your conversation since you are the mutual connection to get Bob and Rick speaking. For a split second, Bob may have not been 100% okay with Rick entering the conversation, but since Rick brought relevant information, showed a connection to Copper Mountain and snowboarding, and knows you, Bob is now okay with having Rick in the conversation.

All of a sudden, Josh approaches the three of you. None of you know Josh, but Josh says, “I love snowboarding, can I be your realtor, here’s my card, go to my website, download my newsletter”. The three of you look at each other and wonder, “Who is this guy Josh and where did he come from? Why was he even listening to our conversation and why is he interrupting us and pitching us?” Then, Jim walks up, chimes in and says, “Hey Josh, that is a bit tacky don’t you think?” Then Chris, who is friends with Josh, says to Jim who just chimed in “Hey Jim, you are an idiot, I just heard you talking to Ann over coffee and you are trying to sell her insurance for her company, you are doing the same thing!” Although Ann and Jim have worked together and each invited one another to the coffee shop to talk business, Chris thinks this is the same kind of conversation that Josh just initiated with you, Rick, and Bob. Imagine this actually happening in the middle of a local coffee shop. Truth is, it probably never would.

I see this happen all the time on social media. The barriers to enter a conversation are taken down more so than if this was a true human to human interaction. Here are a few questions to follow and think about.

• Would I actually say what I am about to say to this person I am posting to or about?
• Do I have permission to talk to this person I am about to talk to?
• Do I have permission to enter a conversation between two others? If not, how should I ask for it?
• Am I bringing value to the conversation?
• If I continue to speak and post this way, will people want to keep hearing from me?
• Am I pitching, selling, or trying to push something? Is this ever okay, and if so when?
• Do I understand the relationship, history, and background about a conversation already in progress I am about to enter?
• Am I making noise, being a distraction, or bringing true value?

Some of the rules I follow are to always bring value, draw people towards you, and make them excited to follow and see what you have to share next. Have you ever blocked, hid or deleted somebody from access to you on social media? If so, why? If you know why, don’t be that guy or gal. Genuinely interact with people, share things that may interest and inspire them. If you are going to share, sell, or pitch something, do it respectfully, and only after you have earned the right to do so. Make sure you are seen as somebody that your audience and circle would actually buy from. Don’t be a Josh.

Hope this helps, go have fun on social media!