Four critical Social Media Lessons I learned from my 4 year old

child hand print

By Jessica Rogers, {grow} Contributing Columnist

My son just turned 4 and has developed into a kind and considerate little man. Before you say “of course, he is your son, brag much?”, let me support my theory with a bit of fact.  The truth is, I am learning from him. I marvel at what we can learn about connecting on the social web from this little man …

Thank you is just the beginning of the relationship

On his birthday, we had a party for all his friends at a gymnastics place where the kids could bounce around and burn some energy. After the party, not only did he actually thank each friend for coming and for each present, he could recall who got him what afterwards! The staff at the gymnastics joint commented on his awesome manners. A proud Mommy moment and even more proud the weeks following when my son still remembered what each of his friends gave him.

In social it is so easy to show gratitude but often can be time consuming when you have many followers/fans/comments. However, a little “Thank you” goes a long way!

Thank people for sharing in a Tweet, Re-Tweet something that resonates with you, or share a blog post that your followers would enjoy. Pay it forward, be a resource for others and support those around you. Also, know it does not have to stop at “Thank you.”  There have been countless times my son and I have been going into school or a store and someone has held the door open for us. My son politely says (on his own) “Thank you” and then asks me, “Mommy why didn’t they say You’re welcome?”

“Thank you” is just the beginning of a relationship. The doors of communication are now open and you have endless possibilities of what you can do with the relationship.

Stay centered

big hairMy son has the most beautiful long blonde hair, and he loves it! He allows me to trim it but he really wants to have long hair. This is a part of him.

l recently took my son to McDonald’s to romp in the play area (He absolutely thinks this is THE most fun ever). The last two times we went to McD’s he comes up to me with a new friend (once it was a girl the other time a boy) and says, ” Mommy tell him/her I’m a boy!”(because of his hair). No matter how many times he has a “prove your gender” altercation or is called a girl at his own birthday party (yes this did actually happen), it does not phase him. He likes what he likes, and that is it.

Whether you are a person, a business or a brand on the social web, you’re going to get knocked around a bit. But you must represent yourself in one true, consistent voice. You can’t be something you are not. Stay centered.

Patience Pays

My family had been looking forward to the State Fair of Texas all year. My son has big dreams about it and was sure he could ride all the big rides now. After all,  he was 4!

Big TexRealistically, he was just one inch taller than last year, so we were still very limited in what he could enjoy at the fair. This did not phase him at all. He went, he saw, he conquered the same three fun houses and four rides. All day.

He patiently waited all year for the fair, patiently waited to park, patiently waited in many lines to eat, drink, ride rides, and play games.  And then, it was all over in 8 hours.

In social, success rarely happens over night. You must nurture the relationships you make, consistently deliver valuable content, and engage with others in an authentic way. Most of the time, you have to wait to ride the big rides.

Just as it takes time to build a valuable brand, it takes time to build a good social following. Simply opening accounts serves little or no purpose. Don’t give up after one month and you have only 15 followers on Twitter and no one has read your blog post. Just think of the possibilities: communities to be part of, businesses you can work with, folks to connect with, and all of the knowledge that goes along with it.

The Wonder of Learning

Each day my little dude learns at least two new things. How wonderful is that? Life is constantly exciting for him because the world is a wonder.

How can you capture this spirit in your own life? Are you spending time to learn and wonder?

Make it a point in your life to try to always be learning. Social make this so easy. You have a world full of folks on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and G+ willing to connect with you and share new content and ideas.  Many of these connections can be instrumental to you personally and professionally and likewise, you can be very instrumental to them. It can be a very mutually beneficial on various levels.  You must first listen, then engage and take part in the conversation. Identify mentors and learn from them.

This post was not meant to be a page in my Mommy Brag Book. But, when thinking of some of the basics of social, they really do relate back to the basics of a happy life. Keep things in perspective. Be genuine. Be the person you want to meet. And be sure to take the rocks out of your pockets before starting the laundry!

What are you learning from your kids and how is relating to your business?

jessica rogersJessica Rogers is a Dallas-based Adjunct Marketing Instructor at Texas A&M University- Commerce and faculty member at Southern New Hampshire University. She is currently working on her PhD in Business with an emphasis on Marketing; her dissertation research is focused on Social Media. Follow her onTwitter and her blog.

 Illustration courtesy of BigStock.com

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  • Gordon Diver

    Great post Jessica. Very illustrative of the lessons we can all remember and hopefully apply to our relationships, on and off line.

  • Vinaya Naidu

    He is adorable…and this is a cool post that provides helpful tips for not only social media but also life in general. Thanks for sharing this one!

  • Great article and wonderful point. Learning social media is very much a game of observation of others. Children are great at this because they learn how to socialize by watching others. I have a 4 year old sister and one lesson I learned from her is her willingness to try out new things. Ultimately, learning social media is about trying and seeing the result.

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  • drjrogers

    Gordon thank you so much for your comment. The simplest lessons often have the most lasting impact.

  • drjrogers

    Vinaya thank you, I think he KNOWS he is cute. He is quite the flirt. I appreciate your comments.

  • drjrogers

    Pavel observation is quite important in life as it is online, as is trying new things (in life and in a social strategy). I am humbled how often things are put in perspective through his 4 yr old eyes.

  • Peggy K. Schunk

    Grace and gratitude are among the most important things in life, both online and in person. Thank you for making this an early lesson and a reminder.

  • Gordon Diver

    Agreed.

  • drjrogers

    Thanks Peggy, I like how you mention “Grace”….. sometimes lost in thins on demand society.

  • Peggy K. Schunk

    You have an awakened heart which we are lucky you share.

  • chorenf

    Good reminder on saying thanks. From my 4 year old I’ve learned to communicate more clearly. Also, you need a break from your 4 year old at times just like you need a break from social media.

  • thesocialobsrvr

    wow that is spot on! Yes you do need breaks .. no matter how much you love social or your kiddo! @drjrogers:disqus

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