In the wild, new world we live in today, we have to learn to connect to people in a whole new way. Whether you’re in business, or even communicating with your family, there are amazing new tools available to get your message out, stay connected, and even connect to more, and more people.
Things like Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, blogs, and web sites all make the promise of leveling the playing field and making it cheaper than ever to get your message out. But before you embrace these new technologies called social media, you need to bring a mind-set that is very different from the one we’ve just been through.
Social media requires a movement mind-set, not an institutional one. Institutions are about gates, walls, and control. Movements are dynamic. They can’t be controlled. They leak out and can’t be contained. That’s what social media does. So before you try to use it, here are seven essentials to the social media mindset.
- Using social media is about connecting, not converting. We are trying to connect to people, not convert them to our way of thinking right off the bat.
- Social media is about talking, not shouting. It’s about having a conversation, not preaching, pointing a finger, or condemning.
- Social media is about creating, not copying. Copying other people’s content won’t get you very far. You have to create your own. And that content needs to be compelling, important, and significant.
- Social media is about a bigger piece of the pie, not a smaller slice of a smaller pie. Social media gives you a brand new audience. And that audience is not limited by space. It’s anyone, anywhere, anytime. Rather than worrying about the shrinking slice of the business pie you focus on, think of a bigger world and new possibilities.
- Social media is about giving to, not taking from. If people who visit your site, read your twitters, or engage you in Facebook think you are trying to sell something to them, or take something from them, they’ll soon be gone and never come back. If you’re here to sell me something, I am not interested. If you’re here to help me, to contribute, to add to my life, then I’m listening.
- Social media is about building trust, not bullying compliance. You can’t make demands, threats, or requirements. It’s about building trust over time, contributing to people’s lives, content that enriches, inspires, and motivates so that over time they’ll begin to listen to what you have to say.
- Social media is about a long look, not a quick fix. If you’re trying to fix sliding attendance through social media, or you’re trying to bolster the bottom line by opening a face page, you’re going to be very disappointed. All social media does is allow you to communicate to people faster and more directly than ever before. It doesn’t make your content compelling or your cause worthy. You have to do that.
It’s a brand new day as we advance in a new wireless, wall-less, worn-out world. For those who are willing to embrace these new technologies and tools, it’s easier than ever to succeed in a worthy cause. But if you’re simply trying to float a sinking boat, I’d go ahead and pull the plug and let her sink.