Archive for June, 2010

As we each reflect upon our lives, whether it be relationships, business, finances, exercise routines, eating habits and so on, we seem to always ask ourselves one question:

What could I have done better?

It’s common to want to improve areas where we noticed weak spots to strengthen our overall game, but what if we flipped this around and asked ourselves:

What did I do right?

So many people are still trying to figure out this ‘social media thing’.  It’s new, it’s overwhelming, and the rate at which things change is scary.  Examples of what not to do are abundant, but how do you know what you can do right?

  1. Take a look at your existing business and identify your strengths, talents, and areas that are going well.
  2. Spend some time analyzing these areas and why they are your strengths, talents, and areas that are going well.
  3. Take what you’ve observed and apply them when you begin to engage in social media.
  4. Tweak and adapt as necessary to meet your objectives.

Chances are if you’ve had success offline, you’ll have success online. There are always the basic dos and donts, but they’re nothing more than acting in a publicly socially acceptable manner.  The rest is up to you.  So take a moment to look at all the things you do right and then rinse and repeat with social media.

Have you ever stopped to think about what it is you’re writing as your next tweet or Facebook status?  If you haven’t, it’s a question that comes up more often than you may think.  On Twitter, those precious 140 characters can go a long way if done right, on Facebook, your status updates can make the difference between people paying attention to what you say and ignoring you completely.

I’ve broken status updates down into three categories:

  1. The fluffy update:  This update is nothing more than a passing thought, you’re sharing for the sake of sharing. I would say the majority of status updates are fluffy updates.
  2. The conversation update:  This update is intended to create discussion around your status.  It may be a question or controversial statement.  This status update is likely to engage the people in your immediate network.
  3. The actionable update:  This type of update can be gold if done right.  An actionable update is intended not only to update your immediate network, but for your network to also take initiative to share this information with their networks.

When you craft your status update, what is your goal? Are you attempting to engage your immediate audience or entice them to share this information with their networks? Too many of any one type of update can exhaust the attention of our friends/followers, too little and we’re not on their radar.  What mix is right for you?

Twitter passed the 2 billion tweet mark in May.  That’s huge.  Like the rest of the web, it’s growing exponentially, which means it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to hear what you have to say. The way I see it, you can do one of two things to be heard:

  • Speak louder; or
  • Get closer to your audience.

Sometimes speaking louder works.  It catches people’s attention momentarily because you cut through the background noise.  But stay at that volume long enough and people will tune you out as quickly as they tuned you in.

Other times, getting closer to your audience allows your message to spread farther and faster with less direct effort from you. But getting closer requires that you cultivate a longer term relationship with your audience. There’s no way they’re letting you get that close that easily.

For those of us with busy schedules, it’s easy to default to speaking louder. I’m willing to bet it’s what most busy people do. Except here’s the kicker:  most of us are busy too.  And we’re all adding to the collective noise level. 

The takeaway: Take a look at your usual behaviour. Are you the type to raise your voice to be heard?  Or can you whisper to those closest to you and have your message spread through the room? There’s no right answer here, but think about which approach you take and why. Does it work for you? When could a different approach work better?

If you’re using Twitter to build a network you may want to head on over to Robert Scoble’s blog and have a look.  He’s got an interview up with Twitter user @rays who’s account was suspended for no obvious reasons (check the updates in Scoble’s post, they tell him why eventually – just not before they disable his Twitter access without telling him).  Scoble brings up some important points about business accountability and transparency (or lack there of) of sites like Facebook and Twitter, namely with regards to deleting user accounts.  According to Scoble, they make three mistakes:

  1. They don’t email you to tell you why your account is being suspended or deleted before they do it;
  2. They don’t let you appeal the suspension before it occurs, nor do they tell you what the process to appeal their decision is or how long it will take;
  3. They assume you’re guilty until proven innocent.

If you’ve got about 17 minutes, go check out the video on Scoble’s blog on his post: The Twitter Death Sentence.

I’ve been at this social media thing for awhile.  I’ve read many articles, I’ve tried a variety of different tactics and I’ve come to my own list of the 10 things to follow in any social media attempt.  In no particular order, they are:

  1. Don’t try too hard.
  2. Be yourself.
  3. Don’t try too hard to be yourself.
  4. Don’t be something you’re not.
  5. Be everything you are and more.
  6. Be open to connection.
  7. Take a break when you feel overwhelmed.
  8. Don’t take the ‘rules of social media’ too seriously… as the pirates say.. they’re more like guidelines anyway.
  9. Follow the natural ebb and flow of any relationship.
  10. Have fun.

That’s it.  For me, if it’s not about the stuff above first, I’m doing it wrong.