On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of presenting “The Social Media Soundtrack: 10 Great Songs That Remind Us What’s Most Important” as part of the Cancer Services Northeast Indiana Social Media Lunch series. My goal was to take a “back to basics” approach and focus on the things that matter most when it comes to the effective use of social media. Here’s a recap of “Side One”–the first five songs. I’ll share Side Two on Friday.
1. “With a Little Help From My Friends,” Joe Cocker
Social media is all about collaboration*. It’s impossible to be successful on your own, and–as Pete Cashmore has noted–asking good questions is just as important as having all the answers. Sometimes, that is, you need a little help from your friends (connections, circles, followers, etc.)–and sometimes, they need a little help from you.
2. “Something to Talk About,” Bonnie Raitt
Collaboration is, of course, a game of give and take. One of the most important aspects of the “giving” side is ensuring that you’re not just talking, but giving the audience something to talk about. This is sometimes the simple difference between ending a post with a period or a question mark. A period invites silence, because you’ve told the audience the conversation is over. A question mark, however, invites them–encourages them, even–to be part of the conversation. And conversation is the heart and soul of social media.
3. “You Talk Too Much,” George Thorogood
In focusing on giving the audience something to talk about, we often forget a critical aspect of social media: listening. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I think social media is better used as a listening tool than as a messaging tool. (And I have to remind myself of that as much as anyone.) We’re so busy talking that we don’t hear what others are saying. It’s important to remember, as Thorogood suggests in this song, that we’re probably talking too much–and if we keep on talking, we’re going to drive our audience away.
4. “Give it Away,” Red Hot Chili Peppers
Just as it’s crucial to be a generous as a listener, it’s critical that we’re generous with our skills, expertise and knowledge. For many of us, this isn’t instinctual. The business world has taught us to keep what we know closely guarded. In today’s environment, however, that approach can be catastrophic. If we’re not generous in sharing our talents, there’s a very good chance a competitor will be. If you want to earn the audience’s attention, earn their trust, and have any chance of earning the opportunity to call them a customer, you have to give it away.
5. “I’m Looking Through You,” The Beatles
It’s not enough to be generous with you talent: you have to do so willingly, not as a simple means to an end. Bringing someone down the road from attentive audience member to customer can be a long and winding one, and there are no shortcuts. If you’re disingenuous or you’re not the same person in the real world as you claim to be online, you won’t connect with the audience. Be authentic. Be transparent. Make sure that there’s not a disconnect between who you say you are and what your audience sees.
Tune in tomorrow for Side Two!