Social Media: Can we make it easy, please?

Like most everyone else in this field, I’m still observing, analyzing and sorting through the ideas I read about how to use social media effectively.

One truth seems to be emerging, however. Social media is about creating relationships—not “talking to” or “talking at.” And there are no quick fixes for doing this.

Just like creating face-to-face relationships, these virtual relationships are built over time as two parties assess one another and decide if there’s a match. There’s no value in doing the peacock act—trying to look bigger or better than you are—because ultimately people get to the truth about us or our businesses by observing what we do—not just what we say. It calls us to pay as much attention to who we are becoming as people or as organizations as it does to crafting a message. And that's a tall order.

So the answer to my question—can we make social media easy—is no. We can’t. It’s even less about fluff and posturing and self-promotion than the more traditional forms of advertising or communication, because it opens the conversation up to the crowd, who is now able to collectively pool their observations about our company or product. And it's more like one-on-one relationship, that demands more than sanitized PR messages—and wants something of value.

There is no substitute for substance. Care about your work, your clients or customers, and then talk with and listen to them. Social media is a great tool—but it is only that, the tool. It is not the message, nor is it the deliverables. But it holds great promise for a new kind of truer, two-sided relationships and evaluation of our products and services. And I like that.

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