Social Media is for Fakers

Photo cred: Ben Fredericson

Sitting in the subway at 12:00am, reading the chapter titled “The Cost of Social Norms” in Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, I realized what it is that bothers me so much about businesses in social media.

Businesses cannot honestly exist in the “social” realm.

I’ve touched on issues I’ve had with the “I’m here to be your friend” mentality that professionals and businesses take in social media communities.  I just can’t agree with the idea that everyone is really that close with each other, and that everyone gets along so well based on sincere feelings…  not when there’s money involved.

While Dan wasn’t discussing the issues I bring up here, the concepts that he studied and shared in his book are highly relevant.  The subtitle of the chapter that I read was “Why we are happy to do things, but not when we are paid to do them“.

Ariely goes on to explain that people simultaneously live in two worlds:

The Social World

The interactions we have in the social world are founded in emotions and relationships.  It’s why we’ll cook a full feast for our family on Thanksgiving without expecting anything in return.  It’s why we hold the door open for others.  We do these things because it makes us feel good and there is no immediate reciprocation required.

The Market World

The interactions we have the market world are different.  In the market world, we do things based on the financial returns that we get.  The exchanges we make in the market world are based on a cost-benefit analysis.

So what does this have to do with social media?

Well as Ariely explains, “When social and market norms collide, trouble sets in.”

Many interactions that are considered “best practices” for businesses using social media, are made to look like “social” interactions, but they’re really not.

Look at the common advice you hear about joining the conversation, building trust, engaging in communities… it all sounds like it’s in the “social world” when in reality they are in the “market world”.

The very fact that businesses are concerned with the returns that they get from their time spent on social media, makes it a purely market based interaction.

Ariely uses the example of a guy who takes a girl out on several dates and pays for dinner each time. He grows impatient because he’s spent a lot of money and hasn’t gotten laid.  A situation that seemed to be purely social, was really founded in market values, and all came crashing down then the true motivations came to light.

Making exchanges in the “market world” isn’t a bad thing.  Making them out to be purely “social” interactions? That’s wrong and can cause trouble.

And so I ask…Is social media for fakers?

Is it for those who can pretend to be your friend?  Is it for those who can paint the image that they care when really their actions are motivated by market forces?

The very nature of business makes it impossible to have truly sincere social interactions…maybe we should start treating it that way.

The Stupidly Obvious Secret Ingredient to Social Media Success

Your success in social media is determined by this highly scientific equation:

Effort + How Funny You Are + (Luck/100000) = Social Media Success

You can’t control luck. You definitely can’t control how funny you are. So what do you need improve to find success with social media?

Effort.

Photo cred: Ferdinando del Drago

The more effort you put into blog posts, into helping customers, into building relationships with bloggers, into participating in conversations etc…the more you’ll start to see returns.

No one said it was going to be easy.  Setting up a twitter account, a facebook page and a blog doesn’t take much effort.  Keeping these things updated and getting returns will take a great deal of effort.

Get your hands dirty, go above and beyond for your community, struggle for the of benefit others, and rack your brain for new ways to help people.

And yes, as hard as you work, you’ll still have to be patient.  It will take time and you will make some mistakes… but if you’re willing to contribute a great deal of effort into social media, then you will see returns over time. I guarantee you will.

The tools, the tricks, the tips…that’s all easy to pick up with a little practice.

Effort won’t always work in other areas of business.  Certainly, you can put a great deal of effort into marketing, and still see no results.  Same with advertising and traditional PR.

The good part?  Once you start to see returns, it gets much easier.  It starts to flow.

Take a look at some of the most “successful” people and companies in social media.  Look at Chris Brogan, Amber Naslund, Gary V, Scott Stratten, Scott Monty and the list goes on.  They’re bringing success to themselves and their brands because they’re hustling their asses off day in and day out.

So, stop acting confused when your blog post that you threw together in 10 minutes didn’t go viral.

Stop questioning the value of social media when you can’t get any twitter followers in the first few months.

Stop dipping your toes in, and wondering why the rivers of cash haven’t started flowing.

It’s frustrating.  It takes time, it takes practice…it takes serious effort.

But trust me…it’s worth it.

11 iPhone Apps for the Expert Content Aggregator

Photo cred: Tony Eccles

Sharing news and interesting stories related to social media is a big part of how I use social media.

By making a commitment to aggregating content for my followers, it keeps me up to date with any new developments in the industry.  Every morning I pick up my phone and scroll through a bunch of different news apps.  I’ve never been a huge “news” reader, but something about having it right on my phone has made it into a habit that I’m glad to have.

So, I wanted to share with you the apps that I use to stay on top of everything going in in my industry.

Here are the news apps I check regularly:

1. Huffington Post:  This app is awesome.  Not only is it constantly updated with new articles, but it’s sharing function also works with some of the most popular twitter apps (except hootsuite for some reason).  So when you click “tweet”, it takes you to your iphone app to share…which could also be considered annoying.  I like it.

2. Mashable:  I check Mashable daily.  Sure, not all the articles are interesting to me, but it’s easy enough to scroll to the good stuff.  I can be sure that I’m on top of any notable developments in the social media space.

3. New York Times:  I use the New York Times to start up to date with news in general, as well as tech news.  I can almost always find a good read to get my brain warmed up in the morning here.

4. Fluent News: Basically, a big mix of all the most mainstream news resource from CNN to ESPN to BBC.

5. ReadWriteWeb:  I don’t check this app too often to be honest. When I do, I’m usually looking through the ReadWriteStart section for startup tips.

6. Marketing Profs:  Sometimes I have to get my fix of marketing articles.

7. The Onion App:  Because what’s fun about only reading real news?

8. Regator: The best app to find high quality blog posts on different popular topics.

9. NetNewsWire:  My google reader…on my iphone.  I don’t use this as much as I’d like to these days but I’ll check up once in a while.

10. Techcrunch:  Much like the Mashable app, I don’t find every story interesting.  I love to read about the new startups that are sprouting up and how they’re developing.  Unfortunately, the share on twitter function on this app gives you a link and says “Check out this post” instead of inputting the title of the post.

11. Hootsuite: After I read an article, I can click ‘share’, copy the tweet into hootsuite and schedule them throughout the day.  By scheduling some of the tweets, I’m not overloading people with links in the morning.  If it’s a really great article, I may even schedule it to be shared again later in the day. It allows me to send it out from any of my twitter or facebook accounts.  Beyond that, hootsuite is my go to iphone app to follow twitter, where I always find loads of new articles to read and share.

That’s what I use.  What apps are you using to stay on top of the news in your industry?