David Finch

David Finch

Yesterday, I gave a presentation at a social media bootcamp to a group of non-profit organizational leaders on the entrance phase of social media. Like all events like these, and I’m sure the same for the events that you’ve participated in, comes a common question:

“How long does this take?”

I understand for small organizations with limited budgets the thoughts that run through the minds of their leaders when someone suggests the time that they spend on microblogging sites, such as Twitter as well as other social media sites. Hiring new team members or freeing up current members can seem daunting especially if they are still wrestling with how much return are they going to have on this investment of time and personnel.

Last night after everything settled down, I begin to think about the events of the day and especially the question, “How long does this take?” What I began to think about was what would happen if organizations began to grasp that social media is not about crossing off a list of tasks, but really tools and opportunities to build relationships with individuals – individuals that are wanting to connect with a face as well as the brand.

This week influencers within the social media space such as Chris Brogan and Amber Naslund shared their social media systems that they use to engage the communities that they are a part of. Each system details the tools that they use as well as the time spent in conversations via social media outposts. However, these systems weren’t built overnight, they have grown and expanded because they committed to a few social media rituals or habits.

If you’re new to the social media space or you find the time commitment overwhelming, here are a few rituals that you can commit to.

Social Media Habits to Live By

Think Relationships First
Before thinking about what your organization has to offer or the product you are trying to pitch, think relationships first. The moment you accept this concept you’ll be comfortable and more readily to grasp that this is a process more then it is an event. When this concept is embraced faces will come before numbers. Numbers are just the measuring stick to how many faces you’ve connected with.

Embrace the Art of Listening
One habit that I picked up as a kid, and partially to do to my extreme level of shyness was the gift of listening. One common mistake that I’m seeing as so many people are now embracing the potential of social media is they haven’t learned how to listen first. Most often, with their introduction you’ll receive their sales pitch and their profiles are nothing more then traps to lure you in to their sales letters. Please don’t let yourself be pulled into this trap. If you do, you limit your effectiveness and you are branded within the community as a spammer. Try listening first and you’ll be surprised who gives you the floor when it’s your turn to speak.

Give Value First
Angela Maiers, educator, author, blogger who now leads Maier Educational Services has developed a simple formula that she uses for Twitter, but that also could be adapted to all social media spaces that she calls the 70-20-10 Formula.

Share Resources (70) – Successful learning in the 21st Century is not what you know, but what you can share, so 70 % of my Twittertime is spent sharing others voices, opinions, and tools.

Collaborations (20) – 20% of my Tweets are directly responding, connecting, collaboration, and co-creating with like-minded Twitter colleagues. From these important tweets, lifelong professional and personal relationships have been forged.

Chit-Chat (10) 10% of my Twittertalk is “chit-chat-how’s-your-hat” stuff. It is in these “trivial” details shared about working out, favorite movies, politics, and life in general that I connect with others as a human being. These simple chit chats are what have allowed me to know that I am never alone, and there is support whenever, wherever, and however I need it!

Now your involvement may look a little different, but this is a great place to start and build upon.

Houses Come Before Hotels
Growing up I loved to play Monopoly. I especially felt accomplished when I had hotels sitting on every one of my properties. However, before I could ever put hotels on these properties, the rules stated I had to put houses on them first. How does this fit in to this conversation?

Start slow! Find two or three tools or communities that you want to start with and develop your social media habits there. Build relationships, give value, and listen to what others are saying. Let others connect with you as they connect with what your passionate about.

The opportunities are endless if you’re willing to begin the process?

What are your social media habits? What would you add?

Leave a comment I would love to hear your input.

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About David Finch

David Finch

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://twitter.com/Hallicious Chris Hall

    David,

    Great reminder for everybody. Its easy to get caught up in the selling “numbers game,” but its also very annoying to get the pitch when all I'm trying to do is get know people. Having a long term relationship mentality in online conversations is where its at…

    -chris

  • http://twitter.com/Hallicious Chris Hall

    David,

    Great reminder for everybody. Its easy to get caught up in the selling “numbers game,” but its also very annoying to get the pitch when all I'm trying to do is get know people. Having a long term relationship mentality in online conversations is where its at…

    -chris

  • Joni Doolin

    Thank you David. The world of social media can seem daunting and complex, particularly if you are shifting your marketing strategy for an existing business. Your advice is both encouraging and practical. The truth is that today's savvy consumer can spot a fake or a trojan horse sales call from any distance – so we all need to get better at being authentic, generous and interested in the other person.

  • Joni Doolin

    Thank you David. The world of social media can seem daunting and complex, particularly if you are shifting your marketing strategy for an existing business. Your advice is both encouraging and practical. The truth is that today's savvy consumer can spot a fake or a trojan horse sales call from any distance – so we all need to get better at being authentic, generous and interested in the other person.

  • http://www.budgetpulse.com Craig

    Working for a small start-up I have that same question. I have been involved with learning and utilizing Twitter, LinkedIn, commenting on blogs, and some of FaceBook, and still hard to determine the value. When users are limited for a small company I agree listening is key, but sometimes you don't have anybody to listen to. With more users I can see the strength in all these communities, but they don't directly bring traffic. It's a tough trade off. Hoping that the effort and relationships I'm trying to build and practice in learning these communities can pay off if the traffic and users arrive. Until then, I can feel for anyone from a small company, sometimes it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • http://www.budgetpulse.com Craig

    Working for a small start-up I have that same question. I have been involved with learning and utilizing Twitter, LinkedIn, commenting on blogs, and some of FaceBook, and still hard to determine the value. When users are limited for a small company I agree listening is key, but sometimes you don't have anybody to listen to. With more users I can see the strength in all these communities, but they don't directly bring traffic. It's a tough trade off. Hoping that the effort and relationships I'm trying to build and practice in learning these communities can pay off if the traffic and users arrive. Until then, I can feel for anyone from a small company, sometimes it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • http://www.fly4change.com Alex, aka SocialButterfly

    Nice post. I like the reiteration of the Twitter Engagement Formula. Add meaning, add value.

    Simple. Well said.

  • http://www.fly4change.com Alex, aka SocialButterfly

    Nice post. I like the reiteration of the Twitter Engagement Formula. Add meaning, add value.

    Simple. Well said.

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  • Teri Baskett

    One of the things to remember about the “How Long Does It Take” question is the interminable executive concept that it will reach a point of being “done” like a project to start a new program. I started my blog last year, and that was one of my 2008 goals: to concentrate on a fledgling blog and Etsy store and work on an electronic “footprint.” One thing I found is all my work was positive and beginning to work, but it was just a beginning. This is NEVER something that is “achieved and completed!” I wonder in non-profit management will understand that, once started, it really can't be “stopped” without losing any credibility you had (and that is worse than not attaining it in the first place). CIOLifeSpring

  • Teri Baskett

    One of the things to remember about the “How Long Does It Take” question is the interminable executive concept that it will reach a point of being “done” like a project to start a new program. I started my blog last year, and that was one of my 2008 goals: to concentrate on a fledgling blog and Etsy store and work on an electronic “footprint.” One thing I found is all my work was positive and beginning to work, but it was just a beginning. This is NEVER something that is “achieved and completed!” I wonder in non-profit management will understand that, once started, it really can't be “stopped” without losing any credibility you had (and that is worse than not attaining it in the first place). CIOLifeSpring

  • http://marissahphillips.wordpress.com Marissa

    David,

    Thank you for your post. I am just entering the world of social media and was quick to set up profiles on about 8 different sites. I recognized the importance of having a presence on these sites and wanted to jump right in. It became very overwhelming, so I appreciate your advice of starting with two or three. I'm now going to select a few to really focus on, and we'll see how that goes!

  • http://marissahphillips.wordpress.com Marissa

    David,

    Thank you for your post. I am just entering the world of social media and was quick to set up profiles on about 8 different sites. I recognized the importance of having a presence on these sites and wanted to jump right in. It became very overwhelming, so I appreciate your advice of starting with two or three. I'm now going to select a few to really focus on, and we'll see how that goes!

  • http://www.amandaip.wordpress.com Amanda Ip

    David,
    Thanks for highlighting these great habits that everyone should keep in mind, especially businesses. I'm currently working on a thesis about the impact of social media on retail businesses. When talking with traditional companies, I find that their primary concern is how instantaneous these connections with customers can be made through the use of social media. I think because the Internet works instantaneously, corporations expect these connections with customers to be instantaneous as well. Thank you for reminding us that relationships take time to develop, whether it is in person or via the web. Credibility, value and a personal connection all take time to build.

    -Amanda

  • http://www.amandaip.wordpress.com Amanda Ip

    David,
    Thanks for highlighting these great habits that everyone should keep in mind, especially businesses. I'm currently working on a thesis about the impact of social media on retail businesses. When talking with traditional companies, I find that their primary concern is how instantaneous these connections with customers can be made through the use of social media. I think because the Internet works instantaneously, corporations expect these connections with customers to be instantaneous as well. Thank you for reminding us that relationships take time to develop, whether it is in person or via the web. Credibility, value and a personal connection all take time to build.

    -Amanda

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  • http://www.angelamaiers.com AngelaMaiers

    Great post David- I so wish I could have been a part of your boot camp! It is very easy to get overwhelmed with the tools and applications and forget to engage with purpose and intention. Thanks for reminding us again that it is about creating and sustaining relationships!

  • http://www.angelamaiers.com AngelaMaiers

    Great post David- I so wish I could have been a part of your boot camp! It is very easy to get overwhelmed with the tools and applications and forget to engage with purpose and intention. Thanks for reminding us again that it is about creating and sustaining relationships!

  • http://dlatys.wordpress.com/ Daria

    David,
    Thank you for the post! As a senior PR student and a starting PR practitioner, I have to admit I feel a little overwhelmed with all the opportunities of social media. I think that you emphasized some of the key social media rules. From my personal perspective, I'd also add one more social media habit – Expand Your Horizons. I think that, in order to stay ahead of the game, PR practitioners should also look outside their regular communities in search of some fresh ideas and new perspectives.

  • http://dlatys.wordpress.com/ Daria

    David,
    Thank you for the post! As a senior PR student and a starting PR practitioner, I have to admit I feel a little overwhelmed with all the opportunities of social media. I think that you emphasized some of the key social media rules. From my personal perspective, I'd also add one more social media habit – Expand Your Horizons. I think that, in order to stay ahead of the game, PR practitioners should also look outside their regular communities in search of some fresh ideas and new perspectives.

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  • http://outingmyinnergeek.wordpress.com Wendy Peters

    David, I think you bring up some valid suggestions for building a community with social media. I see a disconnect between the thought of 'add value first' and the typical company view of 'what's in it for me?' Transitioning from one train of thought to the other will be a determining factor in someone's success with social media.

  • http://outingmyinnergeek.wordpress.com Wendy Peters

    David, I think you bring up some valid suggestions for building a community with social media. I see a disconnect between the thought of 'add value first' and the typical company view of 'what's in it for me?' Transitioning from one train of thought to the other will be a determining factor in someone's success with social media.

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  • http://www.karyncooks.wordpress.com FlairMedia

    “…social media is not about crossing off a list of tasks, but really tools and opportunities to build relationships with individuals – individuals that are wanting to connect with a face as well as the brand.” This really resonated with me as I guide a small and enthusiastic business through the maze. The CEO is definitely on board but swings from hyper-engaged in the process to feeling overwhelmed by participating. In trying to asuage some of that intensity and the potential for his blog posts (for example) to fall off the to-do list, I talked with him about embracing his authentic voice…and being mindful of his (and his brand's) unique qualities that keep his customers coming back. I blogged a bit about it as well…have a peek.

  • http://www.karyncooks.wordpress.com FlairMedia

    “…social media is not about crossing off a list of tasks, but really tools and opportunities to build relationships with individuals – individuals that are wanting to connect with a face as well as the brand.” This really resonated with me as I guide a small and enthusiastic business through the maze. The CEO is definitely on board but swings from hyper-engaged in the process to feeling overwhelmed by participating. In trying to asuage some of that intensity and the potential for his blog posts (for example) to fall off the to-do list, I talked with him about embracing his authentic voice…and being mindful of his (and his brand's) unique qualities that keep his customers coming back. I blogged a bit about it as well…have a peek.

  • stevegerl

    The Monopoly reference is brilliant. You could also include the even build rule. Don't create a ritual for just one form of social media. Branch out! Form habits across different sites. After you link on Twitter, post it to your Delicious or Facebook status, etc.

    • http://www.davidsfinch.com David Finch

      Steve great tip. Implementing the build rule and forming habits across different sites is a great strategy. Building habits around each individual community is always more effective then just one approach for all.

  • stevegerl

    The Monopoly reference is brilliant. You could also include the even build rule. Don't create a ritual for just one form of social media. Branch out! Form habits across different sites. After you link on Twitter, post it to your Delicious or Facebook status, etc.

  • http://www.davidsfinch.com David Finch

    Steve great tip. Implementing the build rule and forming habits across different sites is a great strategy. Building habits around each individual community is always more effective then just one approach for all.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/dhampton45 Dennis Hampton

    Very nice article David. I work with small business owners teaching them how to leverage the Internet and increase their sales with social media list building. I am always searching for more great information on social media list building because their is always another new angle that is just around the corner and you don’t want to miss it. Again thanks for the great content.
    Dennis Hampton

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