3 powerful social media channels you already know how to use

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When peo­ple hear the term social media, they usu­al­ly think . . . plat­forms. I used to think this, too. But this isn’t the only way to under­stand social media.

If you’re any­thing like me, you want to know what the lat­est social media plat­forms are and how peo­ple are using them. They can have a tremen­dous effect on your busi­ness. Social media can pro­vide con­nec­tion, valu­able real-time feed­back, and an easy way to get the word out about your work.

Right now, for instance, live stream­ing in gain­ing trac­tion. Users are fig­ur­ing out the best ways to host live feeds and pro­vide great con­tent. But even with these plat­forms & fea­tures, it’s easy to for­get about BASIC social media chan­nels.

What is basic social media?

BASIC” social media is a term I’m using to describe meth­ods you already know how to use. These ‘chan­nels’ or ‘meth­ods’ have the same fea­tures as Face­book and Insta­gram because they allow oth­ers com­ment, share, and ‘like’ your stuff.

If we lim­it our under­stand­ing of social media to platforms—Facebook, Twit­ter, Insta­gram, Snapchat, Pin­ter­est, LinkedIn, Periscope, YouTube, Yelp, Foursquare—we’re ignor­ing the BASIC ways we can spread the word about our work. The 3 pow­er­ful social media chan­nels I’m going to unpack are…

  1. Con­ver­sa­tions
  2. Tex­ting
  3. Email­ing

1. Social media = conversations

Have you ever con­sid­ered a face-to-face con­ver­sa­tion “social media?” I didn’t until I read Jon­ah Berger’s book Con­ta­gious. He argues that con­ver­sa­tions are the orig­i­nal social media. When we share sto­ries with oth­er humans, we’re being social. When we share enough sto­ries or con­ver­sa­tions, we make friends, or decide to get mar­ried. We trust our friends. We want to hear their stories—usually 🙂.

This is a pow­er­ful way to spread the word about some­thing.

When we talk, we’re being social. When we answer ques­tions, we use the medi­um of a con­ver­sa­tion (going back and fourth) to com­mu­ni­cate. Medi­um is the sin­gu­lar of media. So quite sim­ply, con­ver­sa­tions are social media.

In con­ver­sa­tion, you learn what movies to watch, which restau­rants to try, and more importantly—what you should avoid. You hear about suc­cess, fail­ure, and what’s hap­pen­ing NOW.

If more peo­ple did things in real life to facil­i­tate con­ver­sa­tions, they would be more suc­cess­ful in their social media efforts. Ditch the “plat­form post­ing cal­en­dar” and brain­storm ways you be “con­ver­sa­tion wor­thy” out­side of the Inter­net. If it spreads nat­u­ral­ly offline, it will be more like­ly to spread online.

Ques­tions to con­sid­er:

  1. Is your project con­ver­sa­tion wor­thy?
  2. What tweak could you make so some­one would want to have a con­ver­sa­tion about your work?
  3. Do you need to add some­thing sur­pris­ing or ‘pur­ple cow­ish’ to get their atten­tion?

2. Social media = texting

If my friend texts me about an awe­some cof­fee shop, is that social media? If my broth­er tells me to avoid the mechan­ic down the street, is that social media? I’m engag­ing with a friend (social) and using the medi­um of phones (media)—so I argue yes.

Notice these sce­nar­ios direct­ly affect the suc­cess of each busi­ness. I am MORE like­ly to try a cof­fee shop my friend recommends—especially if he takes the time to text me about it. If it’s real­ly good, I’m like­ly to tell my friends and become a repeat cus­tomer.

And if my broth­er tells me to avoid Joe, the Ripoff Mechan­ic, I’m going to tell my friends to avoid that place because I heard a bad sto­ry from some­one I trust (my broth­er).

Doing things that are “wor­thy of tex­ting a friend” is a bet­ter way to “do social.” But this takes effort and think­ing.

Ques­tions to con­sid­er:

  1. What could we do or say that would make some­one want to text a friend?
  2. What visu­al or scenery could we cre­ate to encour­age peo­ple to take pho­tos?
  3. How can we learn more about what our cus­tomers are already TEX­Ting, so we can do stuff that’s worth tex­ting about?

3. Social media = email

Our email inbox is one of the most impor­tant and most per­son­al places on our com­put­er. It’s a place of impor­tance. It’s a place where work gets done and bills get paid. When you email some­one some­thing impor­tant, they’re like­ly to do MORE than just open it. They’re prob­a­bly going to respond, engage, and pro­vide you with more infor­ma­tion. (Sad­ly, open rates are what most email cam­paigns focus on.)

Seth Godin calls email ‘the home deliv­ery ser­vice.’ With email, you have the pow­er to deliv­er a per­son­al­ized, hand-craft­ed mes­sage right to some­ones screen for them to per­son­al­ly encounter. I don’t know about you, but I NEVER read my inbox with friends. I read by myself. It’s a per­son­al expe­ri­ence.

How often do you engage with email con­tent that isn’t writ­ten espe­cial­ly for you? (Prob­a­bly almost nev­er!) Using email with a per­son­al, con­ver­sa­tion­al style is a more effec­tive way to “do social media.”

Ques­tions to con­sid­er:

  1. How can our email strat­e­gy be more per­son­al?
  2. Can we afford a tool like MailChimp to insert First Names more inten­tion­al­ly?
  3. How can we use email to share more sto­ries instead of BLASTING peo­ple?

Social media doesn’t mean it MUST be posted

To close, I want to encour­age you to think about ways you can have more peo­ple talk, text, and email about your work. If it hap­pens to get talked about on Face­book or Twit­ter, cool. But that’s not the goal. Your goal is to cre­ate con­tent and deliv­er such a great expe­ri­ence for oth­ers that it begs to be shared. Not nec­es­sar­i­ly online... just in gen­er­al. When you’re able to craft expe­ri­ences wor­thy of being shared with­out the aide of Face­book, usu­al­ly the plat­forms will take care of them­selves.

[reminder]Have do con­sid­er email, tex­ting, or con­ver­sa­tions “social media?” [/reminder]

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