9 Social Media Truths for Everyone
Or, How I Learned Things the Hard Way
Or, How I Learned Things the Hard Way
In the nearly ten years I’ve spent studying, thinking about, and teaching online communication, undeniable lessons have surfaced.
These lessons are mostly derived from my mistakes, flubs, and blunders. See if you can’t relate.
Most people don’t know how you can help them. Don’t speak in jargon. Clarify your value with painful simplicity.
We think we’re being clear online, but actually we just confuse people. The members, customers, clients, and volunteers who aren’t a part of your organization or business don’t speak your jargon. A friend of mine once said, “if your server doesn’t understand what you do or how you can help them, you’re making it too hard.”
Consistent content builds trust. Trust builds loyalty. Loyalty builds results.
I win when I produce consistent content. I lose when I slip and don’t deliver. Certainly from an opportunity perspective, but, more importantly, I lose trust with my audience. If you show up, even on your worst days, you build trust. It’s one of the single biggest factors for social media success.
“Marketing is not a department, it’s the sum total of everything you do.”
This gem is from the good folks at 37signals. I think it’s self-explanatory, aside from the fact it’s actually true. Who you follow, when you respond, if you respond, what you like, what you retweet—they all signal something. The signal markets who you are, even if you’re not aware of it. Key: be aware.
Every online connection matters.
Much of what I’m sharing holds true offline as well as on. However, I find this statement to be painfully accurate. When we’re as connected as we all are now, coincidental elbow rubbings seem to happen daily. You never know who you’re connected to is connected to.
Most organizations don’t have a content problem, they have a vision problem. Fix the vision and the content takes care of itself.
This is not unlike driving a car with no wheels. It doesn’t matter if I have a gorgeous, tricked-out Audi A8, if it doesn’t have wheels it isn’t going anywhere. Likewise, if you’re unclear about your purpose—your drive—as an organization (i.e. your wheels), all the content in the world isn’t going to help get you to where you need to go.
Stop apologizing for being awesome. Learn how to communicate compliments (without sounding like a tool).
Here’s the reality: you need to get comfortable sharing good things about yourself. Whether you have a product, a service, a cause, or a blog people rave about, find tasteful ways to share their positive feedback. Why? Social proof. For instance, if given a choice, would you rather eat at a restaurant with rave reviews or poor reviews? Same holds true for your idea.
It doesn’t matter if you’re right. It matters if people like you.
Read it again. Believe it. It’s an essential truth of the opt-in economy. (Churches and cause-based organizations take note.)
There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.
I talk to many, many, many people who believe simply knowing what to do is enough. They know they should build an email list. They know they should spend more time creating valuable content. They know they should grow their online audience. But they don’t. Like, ever. And then we wonder why we’re not as far down the road as we want to be…
Content is the new currency.
You don’t get to sit at the new media table unless you have the table minimum: content that helps other people do stuff. It’s like the old lotto saying: “you can’t win if you don’t play.” Content as currency doesn’t necessarily mean creating greater volumes of content, either. It has to help people. That’s the measurement. Nothing else.
What else would you add?