This morning started out no differently than any other. I showered and dressed, straightened up our apartment and decided what to cook for dinner. I then fired up the computer and headed out to the porch with my iPhone to enjoy the last (likely) warm day of this year for a few moments. I scanned Twitter and Facebook, seeing the same old same old posted everywhere. I’m so used to this that I didn’t realize how BAD my streams have gotten… until I looked at a beautiful photograph my good friend Dave Delaney had posted of him and his son. It was in that moment that I remembered what the hell social media is for.
We all have become so good at marketing ourselves, our companies or our clients on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter that we have forgotten to be social. We aren’t sharing our lives. We aren’t talking to each other. We’re too busy competing for the most clicks, favorites and Likes. We crave those almighty shares and will do whatever it takes to get them. You bet your ass social marketing is a glorious thing. I won’t bother to deny it. I get paid to leverage my clients in these spaces, just like you do.
It saddens me, though, that we no longer truly socialize with each other. I’m not talking about the damn checkins from Foursquare telling the world what you’re eating for lunch or which movie you’ll be attending. I want to know what you think. How do you feel about relevant issues? I want you to stop blindly reTweeting links to an article you enjoyed and instead tell me WHY you liked it. What’s your take on those written words? How would you have written the story differently?
When all of these thoughts collided in my blonde little head, I spent an hour going through Tweets and Facebook posts. I calculated approximately 95% of what I saw fell into one of three categories:
- Links to articles (this includes re-sharing) with zero commentary, follow-up or original thoughts added.
- Quick messages telling me to buy your book/service/product – most of which didn’t bother to tell me WHY I should want to do this.
- Missives begging me to look at this metric or that report.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of talking about ROI. I don’t want to hear any more about metrics. I don’t give a flying fig what your “numbers” are, honestly. I want you to talk to me – and this includes companies and brands. Even a company can have a conversation. People will appreciate you answering their questions and asking some of your own to facilitate discussion MUCH more than they’ll appreciate yet another link to yet another sale. I promise.
Don’t you remember the days where building relationships and trust was the most important thing you could do in the social space? Do you all honestly believe that turning into some link-posting robot is going to build anything? All you’re doing is making people want to tune you out. I’m just as guilty, but I’m vowing here and now to change that.
I want to talk to you. I want to get to know you. I want to understand WHY you think the way you do. I want you to explain to me how your company/product/service can help me – WITHOUT throwing statistics or metrics at me. What was your vision when you started? Why did you decide to do what you’re doing? Where do you plan to go from here?
Social media sites are boring these days, y’all. I dare you to look at your own streams through critical eyes and tell me you aren’t seeing the same thing. I wondered briefly if I’m just following all of the wrong people. It’s definitely not that: I have cultivated a pretty awesome list of friends on all of my social networks. You’re all different – and that’s what I love about each and every one of you.
Here’s my challenge to you: I DARE you to stop selling and be social – even for half an hour. Don’t post a single link to yourself, your product or your service. Don’t talk about metrics or numbers or tools. Telling people their business will never thrive without you is not allowed, either. Instead, I want you to just TALK TO PEOPLE. Ask them questions. Answer theirs. Open a discussion about something (NOT POLITICS!!) that is important to you. Find out how others feel.
Building this type of relationship is going to be far more valuable to you than anything else you will do this week… this month… or this year.