My grandmother was a social animal. Raised in the genteel South, she had a graceful way of bringing out the best in people when interacting with them, and few were immune to her charm. You could’ve thrown that woman into a room full of Trappist Monks, and I guarantee you that within 30 minutes she would’ve had all of them telling their life stories.
All this current discussion and activity around Social Media has made me think of my grandmother a lot. Many executives I work with are somewhat intimidated by it, because it’s new and they don’t understand it yet: much like the whole “Internet thing” was 10 to 12 years ago. While I can appreciate these feelings, I have to say that there is something wonderfully familiar and intuitive about Social Media, especially if you focus on the “social” part of the term.
The more I dive into Social Media, the more I wonder what advice my grandmother would give to people dipping their toes into this new medium. If she were alive today, I think she would say in her rich Southern drawl, “Billy…
• “…don’t talk incessantly about yourself; it’s boring.”
• “…find five things that you are really interested in and passionate about. Do your homework and be able to talk about those things really well. People will think you’re interesting and passionate.”
• “…never mix too much business with pleasure. No one likes to be sold all the time; it’s vulgar.”
• “…always listen more than you talk and try to get others talking about themselves; they will love you for it.”
• “…remember that everyone loves a story, and any story can be a great one if told well.”
She was a wise woman, my grandmother.
As human beings, we are all social animals. So think about what you like and dislike in your day-to-day interactions with people and try to apply that insight to your Social Media programs. Make no mistake, there is a lot of expertise in this burgeoning discipline, but at the core of it is good ol’ human nature.
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