For those of us who eat, sleep and breathe this stuff we can see the good, bad and ugly with our eyes closed. We see the cracks, the dents, the holes and the blossoms. We can see the social diamond in the rough or the shiny object that is really a fake rock needing thrown back in the pile.
I am fortunate to have the gift of often seeing things before they happen in business, seeing trends before they emerge. I see bubbles before they burst. I see brands start to decline before they explode. I see Twitter pages filled with spam headed for brand deterioration. I see brands wasting thousands on social media because they have no real plan to integrate nor know the first thing about their audience and target markets.
This post has two specific messages to two specific audiences. First is to the folks teachin' and preachin. The second is to everybody else.
The social ecosystem is filled with everything from newbies, seasoned brands and marketers to internet marketing junkies and even snake oil scammers who pretend they are all of the above.
There are trusted leaders, self proclaimed gurus and everything in between teaching and preaching. They may be offering webcasts, webinars, podcasts, ebooks, magic social media formulas, selling training courses, leading brands or simply tweeting tips all day.
There are the 15 and 20 year internet marketer veterans who are overnight expert business executives and coaches ready to help you integrate social into your corporation or small business. Of course knowing how to get Facebook fans and Twitter followers makes one an overnight professional at building successful businesses, right!?
Yes, some of these folks may know what they are doing. However, there are many who can't run their own business, let alone yours.
Chances are you follow some of these same folks. You hang on to their words, guidance, and tips so that you may too someday be like them and have thousands of followers, fans and comments on your blog.
Don't swallow the magic social media pills.
Be careful who you follow, listen to and what actions you take based on such. There is no short cut, magic pill or secret formula to success in social business and integrating social media into your business. Yes, there are best practices but you can not avoid needing to know your audience and how you can inspire and connect with them to help them achieve their goals if you want real results.
This post is not intended to provide a blueprint for developing a social media plan. Social media is not rocket science and we do not need to over complicate such. My blog is loaded with helpful tips, strategies, tactics and templates to help you do all of the above. If you are stuck call us, we can help.
For those teachin and preachin'
If you tweet and preach constantly the importance of being human, engaging, building relationships and being human then you yourself need to be human.
Look in the tweet mirror. Is your social media behavior and actions you are teaching really teaching people to be human? Or are you teaching them to be robots that engage 24/7 without a plan other than to raise their Klout or Kred score?
Tweeting and posting automated messages to Facebook 24/7 non-stop even on Holidays, while on vacation, in the hospital or at your child's dance recital or entire soccer game is not human.
Being human means being real. It means connecting as human beings. It means not auto scheduling posts 7 days a week 24 hours a day.
There is only one way to do social media and that is the way that works for you and your business. I am not one to judge what others are doing as I do not know your business. However, based on what I am seeing many leaders preach and teach, their actions are blatantly opposite of their preachin' and teachin'!
If this message hits home with you then you know who you are. You know your message is different than your actions.
Are you building relationships or an influence score?
I challenge you to look deep within. Is what you are doing really working? Are you working more on relationships or on your social influence score? If it's not an influence score then why do you tweet the same things every three days? Where is the human in your voice, tone, schedule, and life?
Your community wants you to be human! Maybe they want you to enjoy your kids choir concert or science fair without an iPhone in your hand. Your community needs the inspiration you receive and feed back to them after you truly shut off. When you focus on being a #Handsfreemama or #Handsfreefamily you come back with more to give all those who are sitting waiting on your every word.
You live only one life!
You only live one life. Your clients and their family and friends only live one life. Quit teaching them to waste it all away tweeting. They may just automate the inspiration, the human nature right out of it. They may miss the best moments of connecting in real life, looking someone in the eye and the moments that happen only once in a life time.
For everybody else
Take what you learn from folks and digest it. Listen to their words, digest it. However, most importantly figure out what it means to you. Figure out what it means to your audience, your customers, your community. What does it mean to you? Your family? Your friends? Your business? Your life?
I challenge you to take a step back and also look in the tweeting and Facebook mirror. Are you turning into a robot? Or are you being human? Are you spending more time scheduling tweets than you are sending them real-time?
If your gut is telling you that you are losing touch with your softer side, that you are losing touch with your community, customers, family and friends, then chances are high that you are.
It's not too late. Put the automation on the shelf. Use it when you need to, but balance the automation with real conversation and human to human interaction.
Yes, social media takes time. It takes work. The greatest benefits in the long run are not going to come to those with only the highest influence scores or an internet marketer who fooled thousands into thinking it does. The benefits will come in the form of real relationships. Relationships that were birthed and nurtured all hours of the day, real time and with real people, not bots.
Dare to take your relationships deeper than they have been before. Take a tweet offline to a face to face meeting or a phone call. Talk to the people you have had on the list to talk to for a year.
Get real on who and what you are.
Be human, period. The heartbeat of social media is you and me.
If we lose who we are, what we are and our “humanness” isn't it all for nothin'!?
What You Say?
Are you being human or a robot? There really is only one answer. There is not a “kind of human, kind of robot.” You are either human or you're not.
Join the Conversation #GetRealChat
Here are three near term opportunities for you to engage with me, other industry leaders and a wonderful community of folks who are living life as human beings.
12/4/12 9pm et: #GetRealChat – Margot Heiligman from SAP is special guest on #GetRealChat. Will be continuing discussion from webinar earlier in day. We'll be digging deep into relationships and power of conversations.
Heartbeat of Social Media Series
This blog post is part of a new series titled “The Heartbeat of Social Media“. It will include a deep look at how communities work, what people are doing within them and how businesses can better understand how they can fit in, provide value and derive benefit as both a business as well as individual people.
Subscribe to the series for updates and access to special videos, webinar training and more. Would love to hear your input and have you participate in discussions and debates as we challenge each other to be part of what makes the social network heartbeat healthy and alive in 2012!