This post is a liveblog of a presentation by Cameron Bloom Kruger.
Social media exists alongside all other kinds of communication with our audiences, but we have to think about where our communications might overlap with the communications our audiences would like to use. We should aim for that sweet spot. Oftentimes, social media is that sweet spot, but we need to be strategic about which social media we’re using.
Social media is like real life only online. Social media is a conversation, and we need to strategically decide which conversations we want to be a part of and which conversations we have the time to effectively be a part of. Here are some analogies of the different types of conversations you might have on social media:
Facebook is a coffeeshop: you’re sitting and having a conversation, might tune out that you’re in public. Be personal and unique. Oftentimes it gives you a false sense of privacy. Intimate in public.
Twitter is a crowded bar: too many people all talking at once. You can yell if you want, but you don’t always want to do that.
LinkedIn is a networking event: you have your business card and you want to make connections. BUSINESS. This isn’t the place for being unique, it’s the place to get a job.
Google+ is a conference lunch. A circle of people mostly isolated from other conversations. If you want to break out and move to a different table you can, but most people won’t.
The Internet is Leaking: can these communications affect and break into real life? Absolutely social media affects our “real world” (a term I’m not wholly comfortable with because the interactions we have online are absolutely real). The feelings we have about a brand that appear online carry over into our in person interactions with that brand.
More often than not, the emotions associated with social media are negative (according to studies about people’s impressions of social media interactions). We see a lot of arguments, blocking, and discomfort from online conversations. The feeling seems to be that because there is a wall of technology, individuals can be more real, more raw and say things they wouldn’t say normally. Kruger seemed to indicate that this is a bad thing, and for branding it often is, however in a follow up post I’d like to address why this bald honesty can be a tool for good online.
Cautionary Tales: we could be driving conversations in positive ways. Here are some things not to do.
If content is fire, social media is gasoline.
One example is Adria Richards. We don’t always need to say exactly what we’re thinking on social media, and we need to be careful to think about the consequences once that gasoline fire gets started. Again, Kruger indicated that Richards’ behavior in this case was inappropriate because she could have handled the situation less publicly. I find this example unfortunate because there has been a lot of ink spilled over the gender politics of this particular incident, something I’ll touch on in a later post. Suffice it to say that social media often gives a voice to those who are rarely heard otherwise, and this may have been an example of that.
Don’t feed the trolls! Trolls: People who hide behind anonymity and try to get an emotional reaction. Essentially Kruger suggests that we shouldn’t feed the trolls. Don’t engage with those people who are ragging on you because it will inflame things. If you can capitalize on that negative attention, do it, otherwise don’t escalate the situation.
Jumping on the bandwagon: don’t do it. You don’t need to post about everything in the world that happens just because other people are posting about it, and you absolutely don’t need to try to capitalize on serious issues. If something relates to you, then post about it.
Sounding like a robot: Don’t respond to people with form letters. Be real. Actually listen to what they’re saying.
These things don’t move us forward. Start small, target a particular audience and engage with them narrowly.
1.You are the brand. People want to talk to YOU not a logo.
2.Contribute more than you receive-put out good content and you’ll reap the benefits. Not just about you.
3.Learn to listen. Be a good conversationalist. Find out what people have said about you.
All of these tips are incredibly helpful, but I will say that there are some important differences between social media as an individual vs. social media as an organization, and that many of these tips have been fiercely debated when it comes to being an individual on the internet, particularly a woman or other minority person on the internet. Don’t feed the trolls is only the most infamous of these. When using social media as an individual who is representing an organization, it’s a hard balance to find, but it’s one that we should be thinking about with more nuance than “should” and “should not”.