Seven Irrefutable Characteristics of Social Media

March 9, 2010 at 7:30 am 8 comments


I have been keeping a journal and a blog to document my progress since the day I set up my Facebook profile (May 2009). Although I had been on LinkedIn for several years, I didn’t get serious about using social media until last year.

Now I’m asking other business owners about their experience with and interest in using social media to enhance their various operating strategies:  communications, marketing, customer relations, etc.  There seems to be general recognition of seven irrefutable characteristics that invoke across-the-board reaction to social media, and mark the stages of acceptance.

  1. Curiosity – and the need to do what everyone else is doing.
  2. Abundance – like an all-you-can-eat buffet that’s not only free, but you can come back as often as you want and stay for as long as you like.
  3. Novelty – With new features, functions and platforms being introduced daily, the novelty never wears out.
  4. Frustration – With the overwhelming amount of information and options, with the challenges of learning how to use the tools, and with the amount of time it’s sucking from your life.
  5. Fear – You can’t afford to devote this kind of time and energy to something that’s seemingly providing no real return.  But, you can’t afford NOT to because traditional methods of mass communication are becoming even more expensive, and less effective (aka the groundswell approach-avoidance syndrome).
  6. Rationale – Social media offers powerful business tools that can save you time and money, and maybe even help you make money.  But a haphazard approach to social media won’t work any better than a haphazard approach to any business strategy. You get serious about putting together a strategy and committing to it.
  7. Realization – With the strategy in place (and once it is, you wonder why you didn’t do this sooner), you feel the weight of the earlier stages of this learning curve begin to ease.

Your curiosity is satisfied.  You’ve come to understand that there’s always going to be something new around the next bend.  You’re comfortable within the social media space, and you have a system for staying current with whatever is relevant to your needs.

The abundance will also be there.  But now, that’s a good thing.  It doesn’t have to be distracting or confusing.  It simply means you will have as many options as you could possibly want.

The novelty is refreshing.  It means that social media tools are being advanced and (hopefully) improved.  But you know now that ironically, novelty is nothing new.  It’ll be there for you whenever you need a dose of it.

Frustration levels are diminished by the sheer fact that your level of competency is increased as a function of your experience with the learning curve.  This doesn’t mean that you won’t still get frustrated along the way, but you’ll know where to go to get help you need, and you probably won’t need help as often as you used to.

The fear has turned to love.

The rationale that led you to developing a strategy will be the most important lesson learned.  As your experience with social media as a business tool evolves, you will always come back to the realization that every new step should be strategically aligned with your business objectives.

Related Reading
7 Questions to Help Businesses Get Ready for Social Media

Architecting a Social Web Marketing and PR Strategy

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Entry filed under: Business, Learning, Social Media, Strategy. Tags: , , .

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peter Bugbee  |  March 9, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Debi, you make some excellent points in your “Seven Irrefutable Characteristics” posting. I for one feel frustrated when I try and get my hands around the scope of social media. I also am afraid NOT to pay attention to this mushrooming array of communication approaches. Going about “getting my hands around it” thru a strategy makes sense. Good stuff !

    Reply
    • 2. Debi Davis  |  March 15, 2010 at 7:05 am

      Peter – Thank you for your comment. While frustration and fear are uncomfortable, they are often necessary steps in the process of putting together any kind of plan. Just like developing a budget, committing to an exercise schedule, or even writing a grocery list based on a week’s-worth of menus, once the plan is made, the mental stress (i.e., frustration and fear, in some cases) can be eliminated — freeing you to be productive. It’s all Part of the Plan. And the plan is to turn IDEAS into ACTION!

      Reply
  • 3. Brian K  |  March 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    You’re on track 100% here Debi with this ‘new wave’ set of communication, marketing and business development skills. Your succinct overview of Social Media and its relevance to contemporary business is – Spot On. What you’re putting forth, while somewhat foreign to some, is like the internet was a mere 2-3 years ago…the difference you’ve identified and encapsulated so refreshingly is that Social Media is here – Now. Excellent work communicating the vital, timely relevance of Social Media to anyone seeking to stay on top of the Digital Waves. And yes, it all still seems a little foreign to me….please keep us all apprised of your insights!

    Reply
    • 4. Debi Davis  |  March 15, 2010 at 6:57 am

      Brian – Thank you for commenting. Your comparison of social media’s growth to that of the Internet is one that is made often among the SM ‘gurus.’ The fact that you’re aware of the potential eventual magnitude — even though it “still seems a little foreign” — speaks to the point that social media cannot be ignored. I’m happy to keep my thumb on the pulse of this situation, and help people find the best way to integrate social media practices into their existing business strategies.

      Reply
  • 5. Marie Gerson  |  March 10, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    A few thoughts… Social networking is turning into a core daily part of our business. We are a small and growing dental company and have been seeing results through using this avenue to gain exposure and advocates for our products and services. You are so right about having a well thought-out plan in place. We have found that is the absolute key to gaining impact. Otherwise it can be ominous and unsure. Once our company reached #6 then #7, we saw SN become part of our daily marketing efforts and are now experiencing the results of our “plan”. We enrolled others and asked for their help (that is the fun part of the experience – engaging those that love our products to speak up and share with others about “why”!). The ball is now rolling. It’s great to watch our network grow and the visibility we are gaining. We went from 80 to more than 500 connections in just seven weeks! If we didn’t have a strategic plan, this definitely would not have occurred as it did. We are committed to having 1,000 followers in the very short-term and we all just agreed we will reach that goal! Make a plan and stick to it – that’s the key!

    Reply
    • 6. Debi Davis  |  March 15, 2010 at 6:48 am

      Marie – Thank you for your comment, and for highlighting the importance of measuring and having a specific goal in mind. Good luck with your strategy — it’s fun watching DEKA grow!

      Reply
  • […] this understanding comes at the beginning of the social media learning curve.  Don’t skip […]

    Reply
  • 8. 5 Ways To Create Valuable Content | 3D Communications  |  October 1, 2010 at 6:19 am

    […] this understanding comes at the beginning of the social media learning curve.  Don’t skip […]

    Reply

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