Don't Blame the Social Media Platform Seems the new “thang” to blog about these days is how terrible one social media platform is over another, or why one type of follower is better, or why you should spend less time on Facebook and more on Twitter or the million other options.

I want to make one point today with this blog post: Stop blaming the platform. Focus on your relationships!

Note: I am not stating social media platform blog posts, summaries and analysis is not important.  This particular post is in regard to blaming your personal success in social media on the framework or structure of the platform.

Social media is a platform, a medium that enables you to communicate with an audience. Just as the early and late TV and radio networks had to earn the attention of their audience so do we in the world of social media.  Blogs, websites, Twitter profiles, Facebook Fanpages and LinkedIn do not function, thrive and sustain in a “build it and they will come” model.

We are responsible for how we engage, inspire and connect with our audiences.  We are responsible for our actions, our privacy settings and how transparent we are.  Most importantly we must take responsibility personally for our overall success in social media.

I listened to a brilliant Webinar today from Brian Solis.  His words were music to my ears.  One of my favorite quotes from his session was “content is no longer king, context is king….and should wrap content, it's WHY we connect.”  He also talked about humanizing your brand and doing it longer than one single campaign.  If you want your audience to respond to you then you need to engage and earn their trust before and after you ask them to do something.  Action is the new social currency according to Brian. I couldn't agree more!

If you are having difficulty building your business and obtaining a positive ROI in social media you need to look at your social relationships.

The first question you should ask yourself is: “Have I been successful at building and nurturing relationships?”

Chances are if you have not been successful at building and nurturing relationships then you have not been successful in obtaining a positive ROI.  Also, my guess is if you have been engaged in social media for quite some time and are seeing no benefit then you are probably starting to blame it on the platform versus your ability to engage and connect with the community eating, sleeping and breathing on the particular platform.

Social media is not all about tools. It is not just about technology. It is about connecting with real people to build real relationships that benefit people both personally and professionally.  Yes, we must learn the tools. We must learn the technology.  However, we must learn them in the context of how they will help us build relationships and connect with our audience.

Think about this… when you come home from work do you think about how cool your TV is? When you wake up in the morning do you think twice about the color of your alarm clock radio? No.  You care about what is on the channel.  You care about how it makes you feel.  You care about how the music or the TV program will inspire or connect with you.  You could give a rip if the TV you spent $2,000 on has a gray or black remote. Now that you know the tools you are more interested in what you can get out of them.

To be successful in any social media platform you must understand the DNA, the structure and the psychographics of the people within.  You can't just jump in like a fish out of water sending random tweets and automated Twitter direct messages (DMs) “hey, I got a Twitter account and some cool stuff, come check it out!”  Chances are you will not be retweeted, followed by the masses and probably won't sign off in the evening having felt the “social media love”!

Those of us who jumped on the social media train as early adopters grasped the importance of relationships before the mainstream.  It doesn't mean we're smarter. It doesn't mean you're a dum dum. It just means you need to accept what we're saying is true.

The advice “Social Media is about relationships, about connecting with real people in an authentic way” is true.  You can take it or leave it.  However, if you leave it don't come complaining about the platform.  I will point you right back to the context, content and approach you are taking to engage, inspire and connect with your audience.  It is only after inspiring and connecting that you will achieve success.

Your Turn

What are your thoughts on this? Do you invest in social relationships? Do you find that the social platforms you engage in with focus and attention yield higher benefit?

See this article syndicated on Social Media Today