How to Keep Your Social Engine from Falling Apart
My car broke down last week.
Right in the middle of the freeway, with cars zooming all around me, my poor pickup truck sitting motionless, in mechanical melancholy and disrepair. I had it towed to a local garage…and 10 hours later and $800 poorer I finally made it back to my apartment, wondering why I hadn’t gone to automotive school because being able to fix my own car would have saved me money, not only this time, but all the times I have been platooned on the side of the road, waiting for AAA and the inevitably high mechanics bill to come.
Now, while it is impossible for some of us to understand cars and what head gaskets are or how to change our oil or what the the heck a catalytic converter is, we certainly can educate ourselves on the type of symbolic gasoline and transmissions that will better serve our social media engines- and we can do this from the comfort of our homes, free of charge.
Stripping Down the Parts
Deconstruct social media and find that it’s not a mechanical beast with gizmos and hoses and valves and things that might creep and crawl around some exotic jungle in a locale we have never heard of. In its most basic form, social media is just a big talker, a communicative megaphone that never has to light up its no vacancy sign. Technology has certainly given social media red carpet pizazz, but if you are not an efficient communicator, and find conversational dialogue off-putting, then social media will never be your friend- no matter how many marketing strategies or bells and whistles are attached to your campaigns; no matter how quickly you burst onto the social media scene.
Think of it like this: you build up your social engine so that it takes the form of an old Corvette Stingray, or a Shelby Cobra that is muscling its way through the social media highway. Your theoretical car speeds and passes other cars recklessly, even goes over the yellow dotted lines a few times into that golden car pool lane that is always open. Maybe some people honk at you, but that’s okay, your car is fast, you can outpace negativity…right?
Because traffic is waiting around the corner, that bumper to bumper stalemate where you look in your rear view and realize the guy you passed miles back, who was going the speed limit and was in the way of your 85 mph charge, is actually right behind you, like the turtle that always beat the hare. So while you were gunning your way down the highway, disregarding others around you in your blazing trail to the finish line, you forgot that the people you passed are now the ones who are your closet neighbors, the ones who remember being forced to get out of the way of your speeding madness.
Starting a conversation with these people will be difficult. Maybe you gave one the middle finger as he ate your car’s dust- but now he is in the lane right next to you, stuck in the same traffic, his window down, this big, burly man that you would never want to anger in a bar or in a grocery store but would quickly do so from the speeding comforts of your car now wants to talk…with fists…hmmm.
What’s the Key Takeaway?
A simple conversation on social media can go a long way and can propel your company into the digital age quicker than run-and-gun strategies that try to squeeze the most out of social media in the shortest amount of time. Social media is not a race to the end, is not some finish line that will reward you with all of the riches of mythical El Dorado where Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook find residency. A friendly hello may turn into a friendly chat may turn into a business proposal may turn into an everlasting client. Can you predict social success? Not quite. But what you can predict is what type of conversations your audience will enjoy.
If you are in a less glamourous type of business that has not made the transition into social media as easily as others, think about how you are conversing with your audience, and whether or not you are speeding past them, losing pace with them, or keeping the even keel stamina that steadies your progression and keeps you in line with your audience’s needs. Social media conversations do not have to be one-sided or bland. Inject passion into your correspondences, and realize that tweeting and posting content is the new form of conversation, can be just as effective as face-to-face interaction and just as rewarding.
Be the Jumper Cable
So if your social media presence is steaming on the side of the road, blanketed by inactivity and non-existent fan engagement, take a long hard look at the ways you are trying to communicate with people and ask yourself, would I want to talk with me? Become the community leader or business informant that is a conversation starter, a sparkplug for all the dead batteries looking for a charge. Make a positive impact in the way people communicate with you on a daily basis and watch your social media go from a gas-guzzler to a hybrid hub of interaction.