10 Social Media Lessons in Being Human

Social media is about human connections and building relationships. Social media’s technology empowers us to reach out to a wider circle of people. It’s up to us to decide how we use these relationships, whether it’s to push our latest product or support each other’s endeavors to do something bigger than we are.

The underlying message of the 140 Character Conference, which brought together presenters from around the globe, was to use social media’s power to make a difference in the real world. Here are ten social media lessons that help us to remember that each of us is human with our own hopes and goals. At the end of the day, we all just want to make a small difference in at least one other person’s life.

  1. Share your passion with other people. Do something simple to bring a smile or positive energy to one other person. As an individual you can’t change the world, but you can touch another person in Michelle Chmielewski‘s hug-filled view.
  2. Each individual is a brand. The question each of us needs to determine is who we each represent, ourselves or our companies? If you represent a brand, they own you and everything you say must be approved – in Anita Cochran’s view. As a result, you’re not always genuine since it may not be the words that you’d use. On social media, make sure you’re comfortable associating your name with what you’re saying. Be genuine and consistent.
  3. Everyone wants to tell their story. So listen to them advices Warren Etheredge. Show you heard what they said by playing back to them in their words. This goes a long way towards getting their attention, winning their trust and earning their respect.
  4. Each of us has the power to change the world. In Christopher S. Penn’s words, social media and current technical devices empower each of us to be a superhero on a scale unimagined by the creators of the original superheros.  Do you have the motive, means and opportunity to be a superhero?
  5. Global is the new local. Just because someone on social media is from a small town doesn’t mean that he or she is small minded in Becky McCray’s words. Twitter is the world’s coffeeshop because it allows you to connect with people who you might not encounter in a small homogeneous tow. As a farmer from Nebraska,  Steve Tucker finds the world a much smaller place even though Foursquare has no clue where he is when he tries checking-in from his tractor.
  6. Persuade those who are already listening to you. In a nutshell, the art of persuasion, in Liz Strauss’ words, is that we think people who love us are really smart. Therefore, if you think I’m really smart, then I’ll do anything for you so find the people who are receptive to your content. To that end, have a place online so people can find you.
  7. Invite social media into your organization. This can supercharge your employees and your audience because it allows them to do cool new things and it creates engagement that employees, customers and the public are excited about. Social media can be a powerful tool that takes on a life of its own. Not convinced? If a Detroit hospital system and the Toronto police can try it, so can your organization.
  8. Understand the power of saying thank you. With the small gesture of thanking someone else you acknowledge that they’ve helped you in some way pointed out Jeff Hasen. It’s the act of recognition that’s important, makes us feel valued. It’s so little, yet so much.
  9. Customer service is the only sustainable distinguishable factor. You must know your customer individually as people according to Becky McCray and Cody Heitschmidt.  Good or bad, word travels fast in a small town because at the coffeeshop everyone talks to each other.
  10. Measure your return on relationship (Or ROR as Ted Rubin puts it.)When you use social media, your goal shouldn’t be to see how many people like or follow your organization but rather how you can extend these relationships and build on them. From a marketing perspective, the goal is to guide message not control it.

Whether you’re an individual or a corporation participating on social media platforms, it’s critical that you acknowledge that there are real people at the other end of your communications. Understand that these social media participants have their own motivations that may not be the same as yours or your company’s and that you need to treat them with respect.

Do you have any suggestions that you’d add to this list? If so, please do so in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Hat tip to Jeff Pulver and his crew for curating an unusual mix of content.

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  • http://dianebourque.com Diane Bourque

    This is such good advice and thanks so much for putting it all together for us. I’ll keep some of those in mind when offering Social Media Training. Thanks again.

  • Elora

    Thanks for this post! It’s easy to forget sometimes when using social media that the people behind the posts are people. A lot of these are common sense tips that are commonly overlooked, so it’s important to be reminded of the best ways to think and treat online interactions.