Social media is fun, and it's an opportunity to really give your brand a story. But if you're having a hard time with social networking, maybe you should try hanging with the big-leaguers, or coming up with a strategy to make you one yourself. You may have read social media-related articles on adapting the morals and values of a teenager when it comes to social media. And I couldn't agree more. To an extent, of course.
"Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Think back to your teen years. You walk into a house party; you can either socialize with the cool kids, who are socializing with their large network, or the not so cool kids. Once you party with the cool kids, you get to party with all their other friends, and their friends' friends. Or you can socialize with the… errr… not so cool kids, who have a minimum number of friends, which if you were to befriend them, your odds of befriending others are limited because… well, their network isn't so big. I swear my superficial teen moral adaptation has a purpose.
Think Back To Sweet 16
Think of social media in the same context as the teen party – especially when you are conducting your outreach strategy. If you have decided to do some outreaching (to bloggers, large Twitter accounts, etc.) you want to develop a relationship with the ones that are going to be able to meet your outreach strategy goal – whether that be traffic, contest entries, and so on. You also want to appear like a "cool" kid keeping the teen strategy in mind:
- When you were a teenager did you want to hang with the quiet kid? The odds of the popular kid wanting to socialize with the quiet kids are slim. Gossip. Be social. Talk to the popular kids, and socialize within your social network. Make yourself seem cool, so people will WANT to hang with you. (Without being a mean girl… or guy.) Don't bash other accounts, be nice and compliment others. Make some witty comments – but still be professional. If you don't talk to anyone, people aren't going to talk to you. DUH!
- Have something to offer. Everyone loves getting free stuff. I remember in high school when student elections were going on – one girl brought in cupcakes and I voted for her… because she gave me free cupcakes. This leads to one of my favourite strategies: Contests. They are a great way to reach out, and develop a social network. You will generate buzz around your brand, lead to word of mouth, and people will love you for it.
- Once you've started socializing and making yourself cool, you will start building up a social network – the more "friends" you have, the cooler you are, and the more people will want to be your friend, and talk about you to others. Have you have seen a Twitter account that has looked SO cool that you want to follow them – and once you do you start crossing your fingers hoping they will follow you back. When you get to that point – you've reach the all time ultimate cool social page. Congratulations.
A Superficial State of Mind Is Not Always So Bad
While, yes, my theory is rather superficial and slightly discriminating – if you apply these ideas to your social networking strategy it could help your brand take off in the social world. It's a great place to start.
If you have decided to adapt the teen etiquette to beef up your social media network make sure you know when to draw the line. You can do so by reading my colleague's post on "Social vs. Street Social".