The 7 Things About Social Media That You're Not Going to Learn in College Steve Radick, Associate Booz Allen Hamilton
Who’s this guy? <ul><li>Steve Radick, Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton </li></ul><ul><li>Founded and lead the Digital Strategy & Social Media Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Serve on the Advisory Boards for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SmartBrief on Social Media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SMCEDU </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Governingpeople.com </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Comment on my external blog – Social Media Strategery </li></ul><ul><li>Connect with me on LinkedIn </li></ul><ul><li>Find me on Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Friend me on Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Follow me on Foursquare </li></ul>
I am not an audience , a public , a viewer , a demographic or a user – I am an actual PERSON with a VOICE http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eaton's_War_Bonds_Rally_1943_Audience.jpg
I don’t care how many friends, followers, likes, or blog comments you have http://twitter1k.com/site/ http://www.fanpagehookup.com/
“ Social Media” isn’t a career option http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WACsOperateTeletype.jpg
You’re going to come across a lot of jerks – don’t be one of them http://www.teesforall.com/Seinfeld_George_The_Jerk_Store_Called_Black_TShirt-p-2627.html
You Don’t Have a Choice http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnonolan/4736342886/
First and foremost – when you’re talking about social media, throw out what you’re learning in Mass Comms 101 It’s not about controlling your message (you can’t), it’s about connecting with people and building actual relationships Your megaphone approach doesn’t work anymore, especially when everyone has a megaphone. There are PEOPLE behind these Twitter accounts. You can’t have a conversation with someone speaking only in your marketing language. You sound ridiculous and I’m tuning you out. You MUST learn how to speak with a human voice – it’s not something that can be learned in a book or a conference. Learn how to talk with your customers and clients in the same way you talk with other REAL PEOPLE.
Don’t make the mistake in thinking that anyone cares how many Twitter followers, Facebook friends, or likes you have. We don’t. In fact, 14,000 Twitter followers looks really suspicious if you’re also following 14,000 people. Number of fans, Friends, followers, etc. is just a number – it means nothing without context. WHY are you so concerned with these numbers? What do they tell me about you? That you’re interesting? That you’re “good” at social media? Guess what – it tells me neither. I’m much more interested in your thinking behind these tools than the outputs. Having demonstrated social media experience on your resume is fantastic, but not for the reasons you think - yeah, it shows that you have experience with social media, but more importantly, it shows that you're ambitious and that you wanted to take risks and use innovative approaches. Listen, I’ve talked with enough college classes to know that a vast majority of them aren’t teaching much social media, and if they are, they’re generally not teaching it well. So, if I see that you’ve done a lot of work in social media and you’re still in college, that shows me that you’re interested in learning outside of the class, that you’re interested in going above and beyond, that you’re looking to learn because you want to learn and do a good job, not because you want an A. It’s the same reason I regard an internship in a city that’s not near your college or hometown more highly than an internship with your college or hometown newspaper. It’s HARD to go out and get an internship in a new city. It’s HARD to move away, even for a summer. But you know what, it shows me that you’re willing and able to take chances. Same thing with social media. Using social media effectively in a professional setting is HARD. It takes time, thought, commitment. That’s why I value demonstrated social media experience so much – sure, I care about results and how you did it and all that, but the fact that you did it all tells me so much more about you. To measure “success,” I go by outcomes, not outputs. I honestly don’t care about the # of followers. I DO care about what you’ve done with those followers, how you went about getting them, what you achieved (the # of followers isn’t a goal – it’s a means to a goal). I’d want to know if that helped you raise money, increase attendance at an event, get you speaking opportunities, brand yourself as something, increase distribution of your thoughts/ideas, etc. I care about HOW you’re using it (e.g., you could have 5,000 followers, but if that’s because you followed 5,000 people and tweet about Justin Bieber, I’m much much less impressed than if you had 1,000 followers and talked about communications strategy and trends).
There are jobs out there like &quot;New Media Director&quot; or &quot;Social Media Manager&quot; for you right now, but those are short-term gigs - what happens when social media is no longer the &quot;new&quot; thing? see ( http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/01/unfollowed-pentagon-deletes-social-media-office/ ) There used to be “email specialists” too – people who would take dictation and type up their bosses’ emails. People used to take entire classes just in how to use email or just in how to use the Internet. Sounds ridiculous now, right? We’re going to be saying the same thing here in a few years about social media – it’s not some special discipline – it’s PART of everything you’re learning to do. Media Relations, journalism, comm law, etc. – social media is impacting EVERY aspect of communications. You can’t JUST be a social media specialist. You have to first be a communications specialist. You HAVE to have that solid foundation or you’re going to be irrelevant in five years. I’m not an awesome social media consultant – I’m a great communications consultant, and the reason I’m great is because I know social media and how it integrates into everything else we do, NOT because I have a bunch of Twitter followers or know how to start a blog. Social media should be a part of EVERY comms class – not just an isolated “Social Media 101” course. If I go onto a government blog and I start talking in racial epithets and cursing – is that protected by the First Amendment? Can they just delete that content? What about if I go onto Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s site and say I’m having a heart attack? What, if any, legal liability does BCBH have?
Listen to me very carefully – some people are just better equipped to use these tools than others. If you aren’t good at talking with people you don’t know, or listening to opposing viewpoints, or how to talk with people without getting annoyed with them, then no amount of frameworks, books, models, and methodologies are going to help you. Just like some people know how to walk into any room and make a bunch of friends, some people are just really good at reaching out and building virtual relationships too. Are you comfortable introducing yourself to new people? Telling someone you really liked their work? Building a relationship with someone without an ulterior motive? Disagreeing with someone in a very public way without offending them? Knowing how to apologize? Comfortable with having every aspect of your professional life available for public criticism? It takes a special kind of self-confidence and self-awareness to be really good at this. http://steveradick.com/2010/08/09/identify-the-right-people-to-manage-your-social-media-initiatives/ Being able to use social media effectively is NOT for everyone.
There’s a massive echo chamber in the social media community. You’re going to hear the same advice from the same people over and over and over again. Everything everyone does gets a pat on the back, and everything you do is going to be celebrated as a great job. Most of corporate America and the government too, has VERY little knowledge of social media for business purposes, so by simply proposing that you use Twitter as part of your marketing plan, you may end up becoming a SME. Here’s a news flash – you’re not. Senior leadership, your boss, your peers – they may very well start referring to you as a guru, ninja, SME, etc. but just because you know the basics doesn’t mean you’re an expert. Malcom Gladwell defines an “Expert” as someone with ten years of experience or 10,000 hours. Twitter just turned five years old. You do the math. You're going to read a ton of great things about the organization that you work for using blogs, wikis, and social networking on their Intranet, but when you get there, it won't work anything at all like you were led to believe because these orgs will only talk about the positive impacts social media has had, but there's also a side that's not talked about - people steadfastly refusing to use these tools, people copying and pasting content from a wiki and putting into MS Word instead of in the wiki, etc. No one is really an expert. Realize that you’re always learning, that there’s always someone out there who is smarter than you, that social media is global so that what was revolutionary in Front Royal, VA is 5 years old in Silicon Valley. I want you to have a worldview, to be humble, and to have a desire to always continue to learn.
EVERYTHING you do, online and off, will become part of your professional life. There’s no “well, that’s part of my personal life” or that’s part of my professional life. You want to get into the social media business? You can’t exist solely online between 9 to 5. You’re ALWAYS on – whether at the office on your computer or at the bar at 2 in the morning. Your face and name are everywhere now. People don’t care if “you were on vacation” if you post that picture of you doing bodyshots off that waitress in Cancun, or if you’re a guest writer for High Times – what you do after 5:00 PM certainly impacts what you do before that. Clients, Peers, bosses, direct reports – they’re all going to be able to follow you on Twitter/Facebook/Skype, etc. You have to be comfortable being authentic with them. The days of leading double lives – professional and personal – are over. Once you upload something online – I don’t care where it is – you HAVE to assume that’s public knowledge. Are you ok with that? I’m Steve, whether you meet here, at my office, or at the bar later – I’ll be the SAME person no matter what context you see me in. What you see is what you get. If I’m at the bar with you guys later tonight, and you see me having a beer, I’ll be just as comfortable with you as if one of my clients came into the bar with you.
Ever meet someone and the first thing they do is tell you all about how they went to Harvard or Yale? Or, how much money they have? Or how they’ve got this great idea you have to invest in? Maybe you have a friend who never has money and needs you to spot him when you guys go out? How about that guy who always seem to have an ulterior motive – he always needs a favor, some money, a ride, a recommendation? Do you LIKE being around them? Do you WANT to do them any favors? Don’t be the business card ninja in real life and don’t be the eternal pitchman in the virtual world. Just like you’re going to run into…ummm….let’s say, “unsavory” people in the real world, these people exist online too. Beware of people who sully the PR and social media world by peddling things like: I’ll get you more followers/friends/fans!! -- Ummm….ok, why? Digital Marketing Expert ---- why aren’t you just a marketing expert? Social Media Ninja --- do you have throwing stars with the Facebook logo on them? “ Personal branding expert” – If you’re so good at personal branding, why can I tell you’re a ass and I’ve never even met you? I’ve got a Klout score of 99!!! -- barely anyone knows what that even is and the people that do disregard it. You’re preying on people’s ignorance Gaming the system, promoting only their crap, copying and pasting other people’s content to their blog You can’t hide anymore – you can’t lie, you can’t be an asshole. People talk….about you, about your work, about how you talk about them. Everyone is now connected – that guy whose blog post you stole? He’s probably in a Facebook group with your client, and guess who’s going to see him complaining about you?
Finally, I hope that I’ve made you laugh, informed you about what social media is REALLY like, maybe scared you a little, but more importantly, I hope that I’ve helped you realize that social media isn’t something that you