How to be more social with your media

I’ve got a constant pursuit. I love searching for blogs that have the right balance between well written content and nice but not dominating design. They’re actually quite hard to find – most people are really good at one, but not that good at the other. Take a look for yourself. CSS Tricks (geeky) is one of the websites I read most on the internet, but everything on it is trying to grab your attention (http://css-tricks.com/). Then look at The Sartorialist (http://www.thesartorialist.com/) which is easy to look at but Scott Schumann could be doing so much more to accompany his beautiful photography with some quaint little stories about his shoots.

Striking a balance is very very hard and it’s not one that many people are hitting. However, throughout my search, I’ve found quite a few great sites that are now part of my daily reading.

Strangely, most of the people running these sites are entrepreneurs who are particularly good at raising money to fund their projects through sites like Kickstarter.

They’re incredibly social and they’re good at putting their business out there on the internet using social media. So what is it that makes them great?

Social Media is important, but so is media that’s social

We should really start blurring the lines between social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and media which is social.

The former allows us a chance to interact with friends and get a short message out quite effectively. Last month, one of @plastikmag’s top tweets received over 20,000 impressions. That means 20,000 people saw us write:
How to be less invisible: five ways to network in Cardiff involving @chaptertweets, @TEDxCardiff and @CapitalCardiff plastik.me/5-ways-to-netw…

However, if there wasn’t a top-notch piece of writing on the other side of that tweet, it would have been a pointless exercise.

We’re social about our media – but it’s the media which really matters, and whether it be video, article, blog post, news story or whatever the future may bring to us, you’ll have to adapt your idea of using social media too.

Transparency is important

As if you needed to be told, the times have changed and now people want to know about where their products are coming from, who is making them. Lots of people want to know every single detail about the company that they’re supporting by using or purchasing a product/service.

No where is this better illustrated than in the crowd funding community.

Take a look at what Craig Mod did over on his incredible (and I think one of the best on the internet) blog – http://craigmod.com/journal/kickstartup/ – when he was writing about his experience at getting his book made. He shared an incredible amount of personal and financial information with tens of thousands of people. Ultimately, this worked out for him as he raised $24,000 in just one month with pledges of upwards of $25 being normal. Here’s what he had to say about the experience:

“A mere five years ago it would have been unthinkable to use social media to drum up $24,000 for the republication of a book. We accomplished not only that, but have been able to price the book sustainably, launch a publishing think tank, sell direct to our audience and buck traditional distribution channels. We are, undeniably, in an era shaping the future of publishing — how it happens, with whom it happens, and on what terms it happens.”

Be Real

One of my pet peeves about social media is how little some people really ‘get it’. It’s right there in the name: SOCIAL. Media.

Imagine how you would behave at a party. Would you show up and start advertising your product by standing in a corner shouting? Nope. You wouldn’t dream of it because that would:

  1. be embarrassing for you
  2. be embarrassing for everyone else
  3. alienate you
  4. alienate other people and make them not want to use your service

Being real on social media entails a lot of dialogue and discussion rather than just using your account as a billboard. You want people to know about your product rather than just know that it exists. The best way to help people to do that is to build a relationship with them based on an actual desire to have a relationship with them.

You don’t have to be best buds. They just need to feel like they’re not being used and you need to feel like you’re not using them.

Trust goes a long way and it’s not something you can build overnight.

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So there you go, how you can be better at being social… with your media. It’s all about transparency, not taking yourself too seriously and interacting with people who want to like you.

There’ll be a couple of seminars at the Capital Cardiff event next week (you can still register) which will cover the subject of social media from a variety of angles including one by Allan Blair Beaton of What’s Next? event.

Definitely worth it.