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What you should avoid in Social Media

August 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of social media, and I’m reminded of where we were in the mid-90s with the advent of the web. I lived and worked through Web 1.0, and am feeling a sense of déjà vu as we play out the same routines with Web 2.0 and beyond: social media is getting the same basic adoption patterns, the same reactions and overreactions. It’s just different tools and terminology. We have a long way to go before everyone and their cousin uses social networks more than they email, or tweets more than they call, but nobody can deny the way we communicate has once again been changed forever.

Here’s how I’d illustrate where we are in terms of social media tool adoption and integration into the fabric of our work and lives, as compared to early web adoption:

When I listen to people get all excited about social media as if it were some newfangled discovery, I keep wanting to say “It’s just online community. We’ve had that for over 20 years now. We’re just getting it via new applications with more integrated features. But it’s community!” Friends, fans and followers? We used to call them community members or our online friends.

Despite having been in this same place before, I have to admit I’m still excited about the possibilities. My concern is where things could be headed if we’re not smart about how we use the new tools at our disposal — we could end up repeating many of the mistakes made during the Web 1.0 years. With that in mind, here are my ten things to avoid in social media:

  • Avoid the fishbowl syndrome. Those of us “in the know” are starting to like the sound of our own voices, but we’re really just preaching to the converted (yes, just like I’m probably doing now). Just because we know about social media doesn’t mean everyone does, or even cares about it. We need to jump out of our fishbowls and smell the air of reality. Get out into the world beyond your tweeps. It will do you good.
  • Avoid glut and overload. Just because it’s there, it doesn’t mean you have to be on it. It’s our own fault that we are overloaded by every new social network or social tool out there, because we keep joining them. We don’t need them all and neither do our clients. A few strategically and thoughtfully selected networks, applications or tools can go much further than dozens of them. You don’t have to be everywhere.
  • Avoid knee-jerk reactions. Don’t be so fast to say “yes” to social media, but don’t be so fast to say “no” either. Like with any good business — or life — decision, take your time, weigh the aspects and options, do your homework, turn to trusted friends and advisers, then make a deliberate decision. Don’t get a Facebook Page just because everyone else has one. Understand what you are trying to achieve, research if your audience is not only on Facebook but actually paying attention to anything other than their virtual farm crops, then plan your approach. Planning takes time.
  • Avoid overreaching and overstating. Just because we feel social media is important doesn’t mean it is to everyone else. Those of us using the tools are doing so for a myriad of reasons, so we can’t lump everyone on a social network or with a blog into one box. Good communications and good customer service are still where it’s at. The delivery methods have changed rapidly, but it still boils down to the Golden Rule: the “Please” and “Thank You,” and the smile.
  • Avoid the shingle phenomenon. Don’t join the people who add “Social Media” next to their title or company name and suddenly, they’re an expert. Or worse, they shell out a few thousand to someone else who claims to offer Social Media Certification, then they sucker in a bunch of unsuspecting clients and bring them on a reckless ride after only 40 hours of “intensive training.” Just don’t do it.
  • Avoid the big plunge. I’ve always advised my clients to dip a toe into the water first to see if it’s warm. Don’t just pull out all the stops with social media. Use a phased approach to adopt new tools, technologies and tactics. You need to warm up, work out the kinks. Jumping into the deep end before you can swim only means you’re likely to drown.
  • Avoid the quick hit. Social media is not a campaign; it’s a commitment. Plan for the long term. Take your time, and be deliberate about your actions. Measure. Evaluate. Improve what you are doing. Listen. Respond. Interact. Connect. Be there for the long haul. Learn and grow with your audience, your customers, your constituents. You now have unprecedented access to your customers. Use wisely.
  • Avoid the numbers game. Sure you can use automated following tools and maybe get a slew of people following you back. But they’re not listening. They don’t care. I’ve always said that I’d rather have 100 friends, fans or followers who care than 1000 who ignore me.  Social media is not about the big numbers but what you do with the numbers you have — and what they do in return. Devoted actions of a few can have an exponential impact, far greater than inaction by many.
  • Avoid the silos. Do not relegate social media to an afterthought. Do not get your communications or marketing team together, and then give the social media team the notes. Someone with social media savvy needs to be at the table from the start. Their knowledge and experience can better inform your brainstorming, can open new doors, can enhance old tactics or eliminate them all together.
  • Avoid one-size-fits-all thinking. What’s good for your neighbor may not be good for you. What is good for one of your clients isn’t necessarily the right thing for all the rest. While it is tempting to squeeze social media into a formula or to make a template and mass produce campaigns, each company or organization or individual deserves a plan customized to their needs, tailored for their distinct audiences, and made to fit their capabilities. Greed drives automation, and automation drives mediocrity at best, expensive failures at worst.

Where do you think social media is right now? And what are you definitely trying to avoid?

Let me know leave your comments

“Our deepest fears

July 17, 2010 Leave a comment

I love this poem so I waned to share it with all of you….

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  by Marianne Williamson

14 year old goes crazy over Mac Book Pro

June 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s a video clip of my 14year old daughter Tylia getting her first Macbook Pro.

Enjoy it’s hilarious…

Invictus- Poem

May 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

by William Ernest Henley

What an inspirational poem…..

Social Media- Is it a Fad?

Did You Know?

April 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Check this vid out…

Connect better with Social Media

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Recent studies have indicated two intriguing things about social media. First, you’ll attract more followers the less you talk about yourself. Second, having more followers or friends doesn’t necessarily mean your messages are being spread more effectively.

There are no surprises in that first piece of research: we all know we’ll probably attract more people if we have something interesting and intelligent to say, but — let’s face it — few of us regularly have anything that’s particularly interesting and intelligent to say about ourselves.

People want to listen when you’re saying something they could learn from — something that exposes them to new possibilities or expands their perceptions. Thinking of this every time you send a message out may be one way to attract more followers.

Of course, the second piece of research would suggest that more followers isn’t the aim of the game after all. The quality of followers is key, whether you’re angling for a new job, a new project, or looking to build your profile within a given industry. How can we make better-quality, better-connected followers and contacts through social networks?

This question really has two parts. One is about getting people we want to follow us on board — convincing them to add us to their list of contacts. The answers to that question lie in interaction and participation — responding intelligently to their updates, answering questions they ask, making valuable comment on their articles or blog posts, following their activities on other sites and in other media, and so on.

But before you can do any of this, you need to identify opinion leaders. You might have some good ideas about who’s an opinion leader in your field … but then again, you might not. After all, the web is a big place and few of us restrict ourselves to our local area, or people who we have already heard of or interacted with.

Using search to find and follow trends is an essential first step. Find out who’s talking about the topics associated with your field, and what they’re saying. Identify those who provide new information or are pushing the envelope somehow. Obviously you’ll follow those people who have something interesting to offer, but after that?

From the Bottom Up

What we’re looking for is the best-connected people, with the best connections. If you’re working to build your reputation among high-end Apple users, you might have trouble getting Steve Jobs’s attention, let alone convincing him to follow you. A more useful approach may be to target the people Steve Jobs follows or listens to, or the people they follow or listen to. They might not have as many contacts, but they may more “strategically” placed for spreading news to the right people.

To identify these individuals, you might want to start by looking at the people who say what you believe are the most interesting things in your field. Find out who they are, what they do, and who they follow and are followed by. On Twitter, see how many retweets and referential or direct tweets they receive, and look at who’s retweeting and referencing them.

Looking more closely at the people who are following or talking about the individuals you’ve identified, or who work with them or at the same level in the industry, might provide further clues about who the influencers are. You’ll might also be able to identify media outlets or other information sources that the influencers use, and depending on what you offer, these sources may provide another means by which you can get in front of your target contacts.

A Top-down Approach

Another approach could be to work backwards, finding your industry’s biggest names and thought leaders, looking at their interactions on social networks, and identifying the people they respect. If you can target those individuals and engage with them, or target the people they follow, you might have a better chance of getting the attention of your industry’s biggest opinion leaders.

From here, you start to follow those contacts you feel will be most useful, work out what information is most interesting to them, and engage with them  intelligently through the media they use. Straight-up compliments on the work of someone you respect are less likely to be as effective in convincing them that you’re worth following than are comments that indicate they’d have something to gain — to learn or enjoy — by following you.

Simply following the biggest names, or the people with the greatest number of followers, is unlikely to be your social media salvation. If you’re the type to think strategically about the way you use social media, and the roles it can play in boosting your professional profile or garnering the right sort of attention, these may be some useful starting points.

What tactics do you use to try to build an influential network of followers on social networks?