Social Media Strategy

Making mistakes in making connections

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Mistakes happen.

Some have said that death, taxes, change are inevitable and I would add mistakes to that category.  Errors, gaffs, missteps, flubs are the pathos of human beings. It’s as if we should say, “we breathe, therefore we mess up”.

And it’s no different in the realm of social media.

You hastily put out a comment, quip at a customer or don’t read through an article properly and share it learning only later it contained information that was offensive and then just like that you are in crisis mode. In my case this past week, I sent out a news release en masse without adequately vetting the recipient list.

I’m usually a measure four times cut once kind of girl but at the time I was trying to manage getting our house ready to sell, coordinate with the carpet cleaner, and entertain two exuberant girls and calm some nervous hounds.

In other words, I was in the throes of being a living, breathing honest-to-goodness human being.

I am a reformed perfectionist but parenthood quickly cures you of that (or sends you straight to the bottle!) Mistakes used to sit with me for days, weeks and even years worming their way inside that place in my lizard brain that tells me I am lacking. Now, I am able to let it go and give myself the empathy I have long shown to others.

Constant exposure to f-ing up, as one experiences when you spending your days (and nights) with small children, has helped. No parent is without a whole whack of head-shaking mistakes as the learning curve is so steep. Raising children forces you to be adaptable and more willing to take risks.

The best part of embracing my human-ness is how less hostile and aggressive the world looks now. Suspected barbs become someone having a barbaric day and a sharp email is the simply a overwhelmed sender in a hurry.

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It’s so much easier this way, particularly when you are immersed in social media. Despite the many ways to insert emoticons into correspondence the reality is that without looking directly into someone’s face, you really can’t discern what they mean. Human communication is primarily non-verbal and here we are constructing platforms that remove that essential piece from daily (and near constant) interactions.

Miscommunications are bound to happen.

I learned last week that, for some, that distance and disassociation found in our digital lives has created a harder harsher response to something that should be par for the course (How dare someone actually send me some information in this digital age?! The nerve!)

In others, I experienced the changes I have found on my own path into social media. I found them also conscious of being softer, kinder and willing to educate instead of ridicule or reject just because it’s really hard to convey nuances over 40 characters.  And most importantly I found openness.

Openness – whether it’s a willingness to even come to the table or to create the feast – is what social media is all about.

Sharing is caring, right?

What do you think – has your relationship with social media made you more open or closed?

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Social Media Strategy

Dating Your Audience

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Last week in conversations with clients I was trying to impart the importance of developing a strategy for social media that includes a clear understanding of who you want your audience to be, so I compared thinking about who you want your target audience to be to dating.

My analogy is that just like seeking out a mate, you traditionally don’t decide to date just anyone who shows interest (or we’d see way more six-foot tall active athletes dating seriously stout sexagenarians). What we often do, either purposefully or subconsciously, is to outline which qualities and attributes we find attractive in a person and then set about finding ways to attract those types of prospects.

Whether journaling, in-depth discussions with trusted friends or even in therapy, many of us take the time and effort to determine who it is we want to love (or even just spend an evening with) because it saves us LOTS OF TIME and potentially heartbreak by just going after whoever comes after us.

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When developing a social media strategy with a new client one of the first questions I ask is:

“Who do you want to reach and what would you like them to feel about you?”

Often I receive wide eyes and befuddled expressions in return. Sometimes I even hear “Isn’t the goal of social media to get as many followers/likes/visits as possible?” The feeling is that the higher the number the better your brand/company/service/product is doing.

I would argue that this isn’t the case.

We’ve all known those who date a lot and they all have one thing in common. Whether they obtain their hook-ups by online dating, by being open to set-ups, going to bars or clubs or just by sheer determination and luck, they express the same emotion: some degree of frustration.

Sure they sometimes seem as if they are enjoying the bounty but many suffer from the consequences of superficial interactions, wondering if there isn’t something more out there, something with more substance and permeability.

They also often seem mentally exhausted and drained.

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Psychological research has found real reasons for this. Human beings are just not made to make that many choices although many people still believe that the more choices the better, the reality is that whether they are good or bad, too many choices are too much for us.

Wheedling down your Saturday night adventures to only those with potential might mean more nights with your cat on the couch but will likely create a greater satisfaction with the dates you do go on – even if they don’t turn out to be your soul mate in the end.

My point?

Before embarking on any strategy that involves attracting other people to you, it is best to take time to think about who it is you want to have near you and why or you might be spending way too much time trying to duck out before the entrees or dodge the persistent paramour.

It’s the same on-line: those who are interested in the things you are interested in and with whom you have common ground are more likely to stick with you and buy tickets to your next show, line up for your next book, book your services, hire you to do a job or support the crap out of you and your business because they feel a connection with you and your energies are best served there even if that means you don’t hit some arbitrary benchmark.

So before you start social media first decide who you would like to spend the rest of your career with?

Stacey

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