RULE #1: DON’T BE A JERK (or The Cocktail Party Test)
When social media was the newest kid on the block there was little regard for “best practices” or etiquette. Everyone was just really concerned with “doing” social media, getting a presence out there and hoping for some sort of return.
There were a lot of social media failures. Businesses that jumped on the social media train early, and incorrectly, came to the conclusion that it didn’t work, that it was a waste of time. Why?
Well, we’ve learned that putting out sub-par content and expecting people to lap it up, simply doesn’t cut it.
Your audience wants great, awesome, useful, relevant, helpful, sharable content. They don’t care much about how great your company is or what you’ve done in the past. That’s for your marketing department. The marketers can toot your horn and sing your praises. Social media has a different mandate.
Social media sites and networks were not developed to promote and sell your business, product, service etc. They were created so that people could share experiences. Facebook is so popular because friends, old and new, can share in the cool stuff you’re doing in your life. It’s a bit like the Christmas letter but shorter and much, much less boring.
Your friends want to know that you spent an amazing day with your kids on the ski hill. They want to share your Hawaiian vacation. Sharing those moments with you gives them a sense that they’re connected to you. You have a relationship.
On the other side of the coin, sharing those experiences or inspiring content makes you feel great. If you help your friend out of a funk with a photo of a sleeping kitten you get some satisfaction from that.
Social media wasn’t created for business. Remember that. It’s important.
With that mantra in mind you can develop your social media strategy. A great way to think of what constitutes appropriate content is to think about what you might say to someone at a cocktail party. I call this the “cocktail party test” (not very inspired but I bet you remember it 🙂
If you’re about to post some content take another look and determine if it’s something you’d share with someone you’re standing face to face with.
“Hey Bill, my company just landed a huge account and we’re about to become the #1 potato retailer in the country! How cool are we?” Remembering that you don’t really know Bill personally, do you think he’d care? Probably not.
On the other hand, if you said something like: “Hi Bill, did you know that potatoes can lower your cholesterol? There’s a cool new study out of the University of Spudland that found that men over 60 who eat 4 potatoes/day can live an extra 10 years. Crazy hey?” (I don’t think this is a true statement by the way, just a little fun, potato humour)
Giving Bill some interesting information that he may want to share with others is what social media best practices are all about.
So, Rule #1 – Don’t Be A Jerk means, think about what you’re putting out there. Don’t abuse the trust you build with your audience by wasting their time. Give them something they can use, you’ll get considerably more engagement and interest that way.