I have been reading so much lately about social media in 2009, and how everybody thinks the rules are changing. I have to throw in my two cents because I think most of this talk (and what I read) is garbage! IMO, social media can easily be summed up by this one statement – If you are good at making friends offline, you will be good at social media. You may have to learn a few rules, but its simple to understand – If you can make friends offline, you can make friends online.
Social Media has not changed
I have been using social media pretty heavily for the last 4 years, and nothing has changed in the “core” way I have been using it. I also continue to make good money because of social media marketing, and every year it just keeps getting better!
If you understand the following four things people use everyday for offline friendships, you will have no problems with social media in 2009 and beyond:
- Relationships – Everybody needs friends, and if you say you don’t you are lying. I have been married for almost 10 years, and even though my wife is my best friend, I still need other friends to be able to chat with and share experiences with and connect with in other ways (professional, hobbies etc). You can make relationships online with people who are in your industry, share your same business passions and are willing to network with you and do everything they can to help you out because they are your friend.
- Sharing – When we finally get past the “mine” stage in life (or do we?) we start to realize how fun it is to share with others. Christmas and birthday time right now I get more of a kick seeing my kids open presents then I can ever remember receiving them myself! Online we share content, pictures, ideas, friends, groups and connections we have made. I get joy out of sharing something that has made my day. If you approaching sharing in social media with this approach – you can’t fail! Some of the greatest laughs I have ever had, have come from friends who shared amazing things with me online. There have also been times I have been going through a bad day, and someone will share something with me on Twitter that totally changes my attitude and lifts my day!
- Recommending – when you move into a new neighborhood you get to know new people and they recommend things to you like places to eat, cable packages, playgrounds to take your kids, fitness centers and so on. You take their recommendations because they live there and understand the area. Online your friends will recommend stuff and it is really no different. If you are friends with a bunch of people who love photography and you share a photo – they are going to be happy you are sharing with them! They may give you suggestions and you may not always agree, but that does not mean you can’t be friends. I don’t always like the places to eat my neighbors recommend but that does not mean I won’t listen to their recommendations again down the road.
- Helping – When you were a kid and you wanted to play with someone and their parents said; “Not until your room is clean” You wanted to play so bad with that friend you agreed to help him clean his room so you could play with him sooner – right? What this means with social media is – if you are friends with one person who is asking if you know a good web designer, and if you have another friend that is a designer, (and you know he is good and can help), well help him out and refer!
Remember what it was like to be a kid
If you can take a step back and remember what it is like to make a relationship work offline, you will be able to make a relationship work online. I think the only problem that people should have with social media marketing is time, and the time it will take to create accounts that are powerful. So other then time, you really have no excuses for not being able to be a great social media marketer!