Social Media best practices

Do you have what it takes to kick social media ass?


One of my clients is a brilliant management consultant.  This photo … it’s not him.

An engineer by training, he does not come by marketing instinct naturally and asked me to help.  This is a customer who is tailor-made for Twitter:

  • Small business-owner
  • Enormous, global market potential (needs a lot of awareness)
  • Small budget
  • No time to blog, develop content, etc.
  • Tech-savvy
  • Is a charming, bright person with engaging personality.

And yet he WILL NOT TWEET.   I coaxed, cajoled and threatened.  I’ve trained him patiently and even prescribed a daily Twitter regimen.  I demonstrated the power of the platform when I found him a potential new business contact in the first hour of operation.  He didn’t follow-up and is perfectly content with his tweet-free existence.

I have been thinking a lot about why.

After observing both spectacular social web successes and failures, I believe there are personal characteristics that make some people more adept on the social media scene:

1)   The write stuff.  Blogging/content development is the centerpiece of most social media initiatives and it’s DIFFICULT to do it consistently well.  You must write compellingly, often, and perhaps most important, quickly.  My opinion — being prolific is a huge advantage in this space.

2)   Swagger.  Some liken the social media scene to a cocktail party. But to really be successful, it’s more like being a successful public speaker.  Even if you’re kind, witty and charming, do you have the CONFIDENCE to put yourself out there in a big way?   Take a stand?  Expose yourself to criticism?

3)  Time management. Everybody knows this. ‘Nuff said.

4)   Personality Plus.  I don’t want to be mean, but have to be honest … some people suck online … and I don’t think they can fix it because they don’t know it.  This is the downside of the need for authenticity.  If you’re clueless, rude or just love selling people teeth whitening systems, that is probably going to come through in any medium and people will run the other way.  Being authentic and likable matters.  A lot.

Here are characteristics I intentionally left out:  High intelligence, experience, education, and physical appearance.

There is one other overwhelming characteristic that seems to be a prerequisite for success in this space, but it deserves special attention, tomorrow. Can you guess what it is?  What did I miss?

This is Part two of a series on “Self and Social Media.”


Is social media the new corporate star-maker?

bewitched darrin

A few months back I did a fun interview with Susan Wassel, the social media voice for Sharpie pens.  Susan made me a believer. If you can bring pens to life over Twitter, just about anything is possible.

So here is a debate I have with my customers: Do you have a real person (like Susan) represent your company on social media or a corporate logo with a rotating line-up behind the scenes (like most companies)?

Susan represents the ying and yang of this argument.  On the positive side, she has built a faithful following of nearly 4,000 who tune in to hear the latest Sharpie adventures of her friends and family.  She is an enthusiastic, charming woman who has come to personify the brand online.

Now the downside.  Some day Sharpie Susan will move on.  Remember the feeling you had when they replaced the first “Darren” on Bewitched?   That was hard to take.  There was a pretender in the role.  I don’t want a SharpieKim or SharpieFred or even (gasp) SharpieDarren.  I want my SharpieSusan dammit.

This is the ultimate two-edged sword of establishing your company’s voice online.  What happens when a solitary person BECOMES the brand?  Where do all those followers go when your spokesperson leaves … and joins your competitor for more money?  Sure, the company will survive, but why make the investment in developing the talent when you don’t have to?  Avoid the risk.

If you’re a talented communicator with a great personality interested in being a corporate social media persona, this is great news by the way.  Becoming your company’s social media rockstar may be the ultimate job security.  Or, you might be sentencing yourself to social media hell. Do you really want to be the company Pat Sajak for the next 20 years?  Any way, we will certainly see a growing number of popular corporate bloggers whose importance and value to the company will grow exponentially.

To close the loop, my recommendation to my customers is to provide a real face to the world. Nobody wants to relate to a logo.  But I don’t have answers to the hard questions I’ve raised here, either.  Let’s hear from you on the subject …

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