At its core social media is about connecting and interacting with people.
Specifically they are people you consider important and want to spend time with.
- Family and friends,
- People you share interests and hobbies with,
- People you met and/or knew in the past.
These people create your virtual support system.
And these people matter even more now because we lack real life interaction with other people who don’t live with us. So we may feel isolated and alone.
So it’s no surprise we turn to the social media lessons our mothers taught us when we rely on these platforms to fill the human void in our lives.
Despite what we think as marketers:
Social media doesn’t exist solely for us to distribute content and push advertising.
Rather we need to become members of the larger social media communities to offer the empathy and support participants seek now.
So let’s pay attention to the social media lessons from mom.
And, in the process, you may feel less isolated and even have fun.
How Mothers Teach Us About Using Social Media
As you navigate this current period of uncertainty, do you find yourself thinking about what your mother taught you and how it applies to social media?
My mother was a strong woman. As the daughter of immigrants, regardless of the challenges she faced, my mother put one foot in front of the other and moved forward. She was a force of nature—nothing stopped her!
During this period of uncertainty, let’s take a lesson from my mother and take action!
We can all find comfort in doing the small things we have control over! Even if it’s as small as making your bed or cooking dinner.
And we can apply this to social media by listening to my colleague Zontee Hou:
Her mother always emphasized addressing the human need, underneath the immediate business need. This translates to supporting people with the situation at hand.
And social media provides the perfect channel for doing this.
Zontee applied her mother’s approach to Media Volery’s “The 4 Es of Social Media Engagement: Explain, Educate, Empower and Entertain.”
Mom-Inspired Social Media Lesson: Show Love And Empathy
We first learn about love from our mothers. They hold us tight when we’re babies to make us feel safe and secure.
How do you apply this lesson to social media?
Blitzmetrics’s Dennis Yu explained it best:
“Empathy is the secret weapon to not only get more clients, but also to help them succeed.” Dennis Yu of BlitzMetricsClick To Tweet
My mom showed me to love first and I learned to pass this on to my clients. She quit her successful career to take care of me and raise me.
According to Prezi’s Lorraine Lee:
“My mom taught me to have empathy for others and to remember that even if I’m having a bad day, someone may be having an even worse one.”
I find this especially important at this point in time when everyone is juggling multiple priorities and stresses you may not be aware of. As a result, they may not be as responsive or communicative on social media platforms. So, even if they represent their company on social media, they may not provide answers as quickly as usual.
Growing up, my mother always said, “just be yourself,” remembers Talkwalker’s Todd Grossman.
His mother’s advice holds true in life and on social media:
Because, now more than ever, consumers want to see humanity, honesty, and transparency from brands.
So share pictures of employees working from home and make your social media posts relatable to develop more meaningful connections with your followers.
Mom-Inspired Social Media Lesson: Use Your Words To Communicate
Did your mother say, “Use your words!”
Or, “Watch your language” when she didn’t like your tone of voice?
Social media started as human conversations spoken in human voices. But then they evolved.
Convince and Convert’s Jay Baer predicted:
“Social media is returning to its roots — away from a mass-marketing vehicle and back towards a personal, communication-driven approach.”
Social media allows participants to communicate:
- One-to-many, and
During COVID-19, businesses use different social media platforms, often with video, to let people see them! This is another social media lesson from mom since what mother doesn’t ask you to visit her?
For example Ann Handley livestreams twice a week with Marcus Sheridan via LinkedIn. Check out their first video:
Also of note are:
- CopyHackers’s Joanna Wiebe who hosts Tuesday Tutorial and
- Steve Dotto who hosts This Week On DottoTech and Grey Matter Unscripted.
An important way mothers show us how to communicate uses stories. Beyond reading to us when we’re small, they tell us stories to teach us about the world.
In Made To Stick, Chip and Dan Heath advise the use of stories to provide context to help listeners remember your information. This works especially well on social media for Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories and IGTV, Snap and TikTok.
During COVID-19, businesses and not-for-profits offer social media stories and experiences to viewers cooped up at home.
For example, Mo Willems’s Lunch Doodles, offers daily drawing lessons via YouTube.
Mom-Inspired Social Media Lesson: Build Relationships and Community
Did your mother encourage you to “Go outside and play” or “Look after your sister and/or brother”? If so, your mom prepared you for building community on social media.
Social media works best when you build relationships and communities.
Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina says:
“The secret to using social media for marketing success is about having fun and building your tribe. …Further, you can’t outsource your person-to-person social media conversations.”
In Tribes, Seth Godin formalized social media communities with this definition:
“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”
Social media platforms allow brands, businesses and individuals to create private groups and communities. So community membership and group interactions provide additional value
On their Facebook Community page AgoraPulse hosts weekly Lunch and Learns.
Do you know what the PPR growth strategy is? On this week's Lunch & Learn Tuesday at 12:00pET we have our very own Director of Inside Sales, Jenny Brennan, joining us to share show she manages our remote sales team and the different tools our team uses to maximize productivity. Whether you're in sales or manage social media, you'll want to hear these tips! Comment below with any questions you'd like us to ask her!I'm going live using StreamYard! Before leaving a comment, please grant StreamYard permission to see your name at streamyard.com/facebook
Posted by Mike Allton on Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Christine Gritmon’s mom taught her to:
“Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes first!”
As a social media manager, Christine applies her mom’s lessons to social media:
Think about what the other person wants or needs first, not about what you want to show them.
B Squared Media’s Brooke B. Sellas follows her mom’s social media lesson:
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
As Brooke confides, “I try to handle social media replies with a lot of thought. Most of the time this means not replying right away and thinking through what the other person is trying to convey (empathy).”
Mom-Inspired Social Media Lesson: Help And Teach Others
“My mom taught me the importance of giving generously.” Amy Landino, Author of Good Morning, Good Life Click To Tweet
“When you are in a habit of giving because you care, you increase the opportunities to receive later. You live a powerful and happy life when you give generously without high expectations or keeping score.” says Amy Landino. My experience on social media aligns perfectly with this advice.
During this uncertain time, your audience needs you to give them hope. So listen to Amy:
Marketers take heed because:
Brands will be remembered for what they do, not what they say.
- How To Vlog Like A Boss [Interview with Amy Landino]
After Content Marketing World 2016, Susan Moeller and Nadya Khoja applied the spirit of camaraderie started over dinner in Cleveland to a Facebook Group.
The goal of Women In Content Marketing Facebook Group is to create a forum for conversations members want and need to have. This social media community has the mom-inspired mission to help other women by sharing industry-related opportunities that lead to work and recognition. It welcomed its 1,000th member recently.
When Talkwalker’s Milena Schmidt stressed over too many commitments and extracurricular activities, her mother reminded her, “Don’t spread yourself too thin!”
Milena applies this to social media. She recommends “Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to be on every platform. Instead, pick one or two platforms where you can shine, connect with the right audience, and build your community.”
Mom-Inspired Social Media Lesson: Have fun with other people
Like in nursery school and kindergarden, social media is filled with “Show and Tell”.
Unfortunately, on social media, Show and Tell can turn negative. Especially when someone shows off to create FOMO.
The National Cowboy Museum security guard, Tim, plays Show and Tell on Twitter. He entertains followers using #HashtagTheCowboy. As one follower commented, “You would definitely win the Best Social Media Security guard!!”
— Nat’l Cowboy Museum (@ncwhm) May 8, 2020
With 226k followers, Ryan Heffington moved his workouts to Instagram to keep his Sweat Spot dance studio going during COVID-19. It’s a great example of social media lesson from mom in terms of Show and Tell.
By contrast, Spin Suck’s Gini Dietrich started a daily Facebook journal when her family went into COVID-19 isolation. Beyond acting as a shared outlet for its new challenges, Gini follows her mother’s advice: “To remember who you are and what you stand for.” She says, “I apply to my social media use everyday.”
Social Media Lessons From Mom Conclusion
More than ever marketers must focus on the human element of social media since it provides the human connections we sorely miss.
So we need the social media lessons from mom even more NOW!
While it’s not the same as being with other people in real life, social media gives us support and helps keep us from feeling lonely.
And, the social media lessons we learned from our mothers help us to support our family, friends, communities and businesses across platforms.
What did your mother teach you that helps you as a marketer when you use social media?
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 8, 2011. It has been extensively updated.
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Photo Credit: Profile photos sourced from LinkedIn; Photo of Heidi Cohen’s Mom via Heidi Cohen