Communication is the basis on which civilization is built. After all, if you can’t express your needs, get answers to your questions and share how you feel, how would a family function? How would a community or society as a whole function?
Communication is essential. In the Old Testament of the Bible, in the book of Genesis, man was building the Tower of Babel in order to reach up into the heavens (Genesis, chapter 11). God took away their ability to communicate by making them speak different languages and progress ceased. Folks, this is called a clue!
So it’s no wonder that social media took off so spectacularly, as it addresses one of the most fundamental needs of human beings—the ability to communicate!
There are three reasons why people use social media and most use it for more than one, and they are: to stay in touch with family and friends, to find information on topics of interest and to market oneself, product or company.
Wearing my hat as a social-media marketing director for a 21-year old public relations firm, I deal in all three methods for multiple clients. So I thought it would be good to share in my next three blogs how to do these effectively. In my experience, with the exception of keeping in touch with family and friends, many people really don’t know how to do the other two well. Let’s take a brief look at what each has to offer.
The first reason for social media is pretty, well, self explanatory—as the name implies, to be social. People connect through pages, lists or groups, so they can manage their communication in a timely manner. There used to be a time when one would have to make 24 calls or write 24 letters in order to inform their circle of influence about news and events. But now, one can simply post an upcoming birthday party, the addition of a new family member—complete with pictures or video—and not only is everyone notified, it can follow them on their smart-phone wherever they may be.
With other social media tools, like Evite.com, it can even organize your party for you. I will touch more on tools that can make your personal use more efficient and pleasant on my next blog.
The second reason is true to the purpose of the Internet—content gathering. The entire Internet is based on content: news, videos, pictures, encyclopedias, dictionaries, maps, travel information, etc. With so much content, unless you’re very savvy on search protocols and Boolean, it’s easy to waste time rifling through content you’re not interested in.
However, with social media and the various networks and tools, like specialized groups, directories and bookmarking sites, one can not only find what they want, but it is more relevant than a search-engine query. You see, in these areas the content has been mined by humans and not some algorithm. So when you search for an article on how to properly tune a computer, you will find one that is being recommended for its relevancy and easy-to-follow tips. I will touch more on this on my blog following the next.
Social media marketing (not to be confused with social media networking) is an unintended consequence of this media that has now become a major part of commerce. The problem is that this is the area that most people know nothing about! This is where they cause the most commotion, upset the most people (who do not like that where they chose to gather, the online water cooler, is now being invaded with sales pitches) and wonder why they are not getting the results they expected.
However, done correctly, you will not only build credibility and respect, you will engender trust. And, let’s face it, without trust there is no foundation for a relationship to be built on or a sale to be made.
In my third blog coming up, I will share how to use social media effectively to mine information, use that information to provide content to those who are looking for answers and build a base of loyal followers who see the value you bring to the table. This way, whether it’s a church group looking for members, a non-profit movement looking for people interested in their philosophy or a company with a valuable product, you will be able to share your information without incurring the wrath of the social-media purist.
Whatever your reason for using social media, keep in mind that for it to be successful, it must be about sharing and giving, being genuine and not about receiving. If your attitude is that you want to contribute to this soup of eclectic ideas and personalities so that you can actually help someone, you will find a willing audience and a grateful heart.
As Zig Ziglar is fond of saying, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” Long live benevolence!