When it comes to social media, a lot of people have the “media” part nailed but their “social” game is lacking. Sometimes it feels like if it weren’t for scheduled, self-promotional updates, my feeds would be empty. Do you ever wonder if there are any actual humans interacting on social media?
I can promise you, we’re out there. But some of us get in front of our keyboards and forget to be human! We go into self-promotion mode. Our updates seem more like megaphone blasts than interactions. Social media, like every form of human communication, takes effort, creativity and hard work to be meaningful and effective.
If your time is limited but you still want to use social effectively, here are four simple ways to show your humanity online:
- Talk back. We’ve all heard the advice that a great way to engage others through social is to ask questions. Another great way is to answer them. Look through your feed; someone has posed a question recently. Answer it. Don’t assume you have to start every conversation. Look for engagement opportunities that are out there waiting for you. Why not join a conversation that is already happening? Ignore your mother’s warnings, it’s OK to butt in and talk back.
- Read. Read. Read. Surely you’ve noticed all the other people using social to promote pieces they’ve written. Some of those people are even writing about the same topics as you! Read those pieces. Click the link and find out what they have to say. If you enjoy the piece, re-share it and tell us why. If you disagree with the piece, re-share it and tell us why. Humans respectfully agree and disagree, it’s OK to do that online. If your Twitter stream or Facebook feed is an endless flow of self-promotion, we’re going to notice and lose interest. It’s not fun to interact with those who only talk about themselves. Make it a point to share a wealth of knowledge from a variety of sources.
- Don’t just tell us; show us. Having a hard time editing your current experience into 140 characters or a pithy status update? Snap a picture. Don’t just tell us what’s going on, show us in real time. You probably have a decent camera right in your pocket disguised as a phone. Put it to good use. Snap a picture and share what you see. Bring us into your world offline.
- Share your burrito. I know, I know, you probably think nobody cares if you had a burrito for lunch. And I agree that nobody cares what you have for lunch every day. However, if this is a really fantastic burrito, people will care. I say, share your burrito! Please tell us more about yourself then just your area of expertise. Humans are multifaceted creatures.
Maybe you received incredible customer service while you were ordering your burrito. Why not share that experience? I can guarantee when you look, you’ll find evidence that whoever sold you that burrito is on social media. While you wait, spread some love. Let your network know about the exceptional product or service you’ve received.
Don’t let the keyboard strip you of your humanity. Yes, social media is a valuable tool to promote your work. But it’s your humanity that is going to separate you from the crowd and elevate your voice above all the noise.
Molly Page considers herself fortunate because she gets to call “work” what she considers play. She is as a member of the Weaving Influence team and serves as an Implementation Specialist and Photographer. Part of her job is helping to inspire clients to share their “human” side across various social channels. Currently she can be found falling madly in love with Chicago while chronicling the whole affair on her blog A Foreign Land and tweeting up a storm under the guise of @mollypg.