This post (longer than usual) is provoked by a number of folks I know who are jumping onto the Social Media bandwagon. While corporates, businesses and organisations keep looking for how to maximise their visibility and awareness, people are becoming Social Media Strategist, Specialist, Evangelist every minute. After the initial euphoria wears off, I hear two major dilemmas from the above.
A. Why do I have to pay for followers/ Likes/ comments/ visits? and how much is too much?
B. How do I sustain my blog/twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn group/fanpage? can I keep them going via extracts/Re-tweets/comments?
Truth be told, The Social Media World is looking more and more like the pre- DotComBust internet bubble. Then money started chasing eyeballs (you got paid to visit a site), and now, you need to pay for getting folks to follow your tweets, and like your updates (both twitter and facebook are building their businesses around this), it’s time to go and re-visit what exactly is it that drives communities and conversations, and how should you- The Social Media Champ prepare to create and sustain extra-ordinary value.
For this, I turn to Steven Covey, a course I attended in the middle of the DotComBust, and lessons I learnt there which may be relevant, even today in the world of Social Media Professionals.
Based on the iconic book by Stephen R. Covey, here is my take on how Social Media Professionals can achieve true interdependent “effectiveness”. Web 2.0 needs its tweeple, facebookers and netizens to align themselves, in Covey speak, to “true north“— principles, that YOU live by, unlike values, that are universal and timeless. Mirroring the book, I present the principles in four sections.
Paradigms and Principles. Here is the basic foundation for the creation of the Social Media habit. How to chart your own path in the emerging clutter of tools and tactics.
Private Victory. Covey’s first three habits intended to take a person from dependence to independence, or one’s ability to be self-reliant. In the world of social media, your private victories, writing a great blog post is a private victory, and getting zillions of followers is public, and hence, the need to focus on how your SM habits can make you feel good about yourself, inspite of and beyond public victories.
Public Victory. Habits four through six are intended to lead to interdependence, the ability to align one’s needs and desires with those of other people and create effective conversations and relationships.
Renewal. The final habit which details a process of self-improvement.
Habit 1- Be Proactive
Principles of Personal Vision: Being Proactive, means we have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen. We are responsible for our Social Media behavior. It is a function of our decisions, not the tools at our disposal. Highly Effective Social Media Pro’s do not crib, criticise, spam, hack or troll. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling. Proactive people are still influenced by external stimuli, like trending topics and hashtags, but their response, conscious or unconscious, is a value based choice or response.
Habit 2- Begin with the end in mind
Principles of Personal Leadership: Make your frame of reference, the end result you envision. Begin each day with the image, picture, or paradigm of the end goal. Each part of your Social Media life—today’s posts, tomorrow’s tweets, next week’s Facebook Likes, next month’s Unfriend’s—can be examined in the context of the whole, of what really matters most to you.
To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination, whether that be- recognition as a domain expert, Top 50 Blog status, zillions of followers. If you know where you’re going, you will understand where you are now and the steps you take will always be in the right direction.
Habit 3- Put First Things First
Principles of Personal Management: Organize and execute around priorities. Your Proactive behaviour-Habit 1, Your Goal set- Habit 2 now needs you to commit yourself to Living the Design. And that means working on our independent will, our self-discipline, our integrity, and commitment—not short-term goals and schedules or to the impulse of the moment.
Our commitment to the principles of conversations, communities and context in Social Media and our own principles, give meaning and context to our goals, our schedules, and our lives.
Habit 4- Think 4-way Win/Win
Principles of Interpersonal Leadership: Win/Win is not just a different frame of reference from Win/Lose, its looking for a solution that works better for all concerned. It should be Good for You, Good for your community, Good for your clients/ sponsors/ Funders and Good for the Social Media World. The Four-Way Win is a belief in a Fourth Alternative. It’s not your way or client’s way or the communities way; it’s looking for the OPTIMAL way to further the Social Media World. And if a solution can’t be found to benefit the parties, you can agree to disagree agreeably—No Deal. Anything less than The Four-Way Win in an interdependent reality is a poor alternative that will have long-term impact. Remember, the DotCom Bust? Consider all short term exigencies carefully. If you can’t reach a true Win/Win, you’re very often better off to go for No Deal.
Habit 5- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Principles of Empathic Communication: Empathic listening gets inside another person’s frame of reference. Empathy is not sympathy, its much more than registering, reflecting, or even understanding the tweets, RT’s, posts, updates, hashtags . You aren’t just listening with your senses, and mind, but also with your heart.
Your ideas then will be clear, specific, visual, and most important, contextual—with a deep understanding of the other person’s paradigms and concerns. Your ideas and your credibility will increase, because in your effort to understand, you learned!
Habit 6- Synergize
Principles of Creative Cooperation: Synergy, simply defined, means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Your Twitter followers, your Facebook Friends, are not the only constituents, your updates, RT’s, @replies, posts go much, much further.
Through Synergy, you become a trailblazer, a pathfinder, open new possibilities, new communities, new conversations, that others can and do follow. Synergy makes you value differences—to respect them, to build on strengths, to compensate for weaknesses.
Habit 7- Sharpen the Saw
Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal: This is the most important of all Habit’s Covey identified. It is preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have—You.
It’s renewing the four dimensions of your nature—physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional. The world is Outside your Mobile device and your laptop. Go connect with Real People, exercise your mind, body and soul. Do this as regularly as you tweet, post, update, comment, RT, @reply.
Invest in yourself. You are are the instrument of your own performance, recognize the importance of taking time to regularly sharpen the saw in all four ways
Find Your Voice, and Inspire others to find theirs
This is the subject of Covey’s second book on the topic of Personal effectiveness. In my Opinion, This is the most critical test of an Effective Social Media Pro. Finding your voice, as a distinct contributor to the overall discourse,rising above the noise should be the goal of an Effective SM Pro.
Inspiring other to find their own voice and not get lost in the world of comments, RT’s, @replies is the next.
Your Tweets, Comments, posts, should contribute to enriching the body of Social Media Knowledge!
So what are your Social Media Habits? and what are you doing effectively? would be delighted to hear your views.