Creating Social Media Rituals

by David Finch |
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.

About the Author

David Finch