As the Digital Media Manager for TerraCycle I have come to realize a very important truth. This truth is that social media is a reflection of one’s social skills. Whether your social media is for a company, a non-profit, or for personal use, the way it’s delivered is in direct proportion to ones social skills or what I like to call “Social IQ”.
Have you noticed that there are certain people who are brilliant and may be able to answer complicated math problems in their head, but cannot understand how to relate to a friend, co-worker, or family member. Why does this happen? It’s because ones intellect does not develop ones social intelligence. Just like anything else this skill must be developed not inherited. A great quote from the book, “Why Smart People Do Dumb Things” states “While having knowledge is a valuable asset not having social attributes many times leads smart people to do stupid things.”
A person’s social intelligence in their actual social life will directly mirror their success on social media. Socializing is not new; just the platforms we are using to socialize on are new. The companies, brands, and individuals that recognize that they must apply real life social skills to their social networks will be the most successful.
Those who try to apply completely technical based efforts will be creating a sphere of bots instead of an interactive online community. Social Media is comprised of people and people have real human needs. According to a study conducted by the Michael Education Foundation there are nine Basic Human needs. They are Security, adventure, freedom, exchange, power, acceptance, community, and expression. Of these nine needs 3 of these needs are commonly fulfilled through social networks: exchange, community, and expression.
If a person that understands the mechanics of human social needs mixed with the ability to relate to others they will be more effective in the social media realm. Those on social networks like Facebook and Twitter want to be treated as people not just an audience to be marketed to. So applying the habits of real life social skills will help one avoid the strictly promotional tone.
Those that understand the dynamics of people and general social skills will see that echoed on their social media networks. For example when I am having a face to face conversation with someone the first thing I do is introduce myself and tell them its nice to meet you. On a social network this same principle should apply if someone on Twitter becomes a fan they should be instantly greeted or receive a welcome.
On the Twitter account that I manage every single person that becomes a follower on our Twitter page is greeted and welcomed for becoming one of our followers. (Showing the mechanics of how this is done would be an entire new blog post) When someone asks a question on our Facebook page the first thing I do is greet them with a salutation and responding back to them with their name. Next I proceed to answer their question or comment. These sound like simple things everyone should know but not everybody pays attention to their social IQ on social networks. Sometimes we can be so concerned about getting what we want and neglect listening for the needs of others. Remember that most people come to social networks for their needs (Exchange, Community, and Expression) not ours but as we take care of their needs they will take care of ours.