social media is about the people stupidHow many times have you heard these remarks?

“I don't need a Facebook page, it's just for kids.”

“I don't need LinkedIn, I already have a job.”

“I don't have time for social media, I have real work to do.”

“Why does your Twitter stream filled with all those wacky things? Looks like you don't talk about business.”

“Yes, we are on Twitter. We hired an intern. He/she tweets links to our blog.”

“Nobody on my Facebook business page has anything to say. They must think social media is a waste of time too.”

“Yes, we are on Facebook. We have a website with the Facebook logo on it that links to our Facebook business page.”

I think my next book is going to be titled the same as this post. Something I have been wanting to write for over a year!

We all hear the same remarks. The comments from people who still believe social media is the same as a traditional marketing medium.  A broadcast medium that is one way and does not require any real care for a reciprication in the short term.

Wow, they couldn't be further from the truth.

At the core everything about social media is about the people.

10 Reasons why Social Media is About the People:

1. Communication: Social media requires a dialog between two or more people. Communication requires a sender, a recipient and an intended message. It also requires listening. Communication is not complete until the recipient understands the message the sender has sent. Broadcasting does not require listening.

2. Conversation: Social media requires a conversation between two or more people. Conversation requires interaction and also listening.  Broadcasting does not require interaction.

3. Listening: Listening is hearing something with thoughtful consideration.  Both communication and conversation require listening. Therefore, social media requires listening.

4. Understanding: Social media requires an understanding of the message being communicated with a goals such as educating, engaging and inspiring action. Broadcast mediums do not require understanding to be executed.

5. Engagement: In order to listen and to understand one must be engaged in the conversation. Same goes for results. For us to inspire another to take action such as click a “like” button, follow a person on Twitter and purchase a product usually engagement is required by both parties.

6. Inspiration: Listening and engagement are not assumed. Just because you pump out what you think is great content doesn't mean that your audience of social media followers will think the same. You must inspire them to listen. Inspire them to engage. Inspire them to take action on your behalf.

7. Connection: The ability to inspire your audience to listen, take action and engage with you and your brand requires a human connection. What is going to motivate them to take such action?

8. Robots don't make the cut. Yes, there may be some social media profiles that are setup as bots. However, I would bet you are not personally wanting to connect with robots. Therefore, this means you want to connect with the people who are on the other end of the social network, the Facebook “like” button and the Twitter avatar.

9. Relationships. Relationships are one of the greatest benefits to those successful in social media. When you can inspire, listen, engage and connect with real people, the sky is the limit.  By investing in the relationships with real people you will see result beyond what you ever thought possible.

10. Content: Communication, listening, engagement and relationships all require content. Content to discuss. Content to inspire. Content to engage and take action. The content, context and communication between two or more persons is the breath of life for social media.

The above is just a snapshot of the core foundation of the human element of social media.

It starts to become somewhat obvious that the people who make such remarks, believe in the robots are the same people who think a presence on Twitter equals a profile, avatar, logo and a stream of links back to their site. The same people we see complaining about the time social media takes are usually the same people who complain about having to communicate with real human beings as a part of their business strategy.

They are also the same people who are not seeing a positive Return on Investment (ROI) for their time and resources put into social media. The reason is they are investing in the wrong thing! They are investing in everything but the people!

Bottom line, develop an integrated marketing and business plan that leverages social media to building real relationships with real people and your chance of seeing a positive return on investment with social media increase exponentially.

Invest in the people as a number one priority. Without the people, what is it all for anyway?

This is Part I of a multi-part post. Part II will cover ways to identify if you, your colleagues, clients and friends are focusing on your own objectives vs remembering the people must also be included in the objectives.


Your Turn

What are your thoughts? Are you genuinely focusing on the people in your business? Or are you focusing on yourself, your stats and getting your voice heard versus ensuring your message is understood?