Let me start this post by making two social media confessions:
2. I hate articles with titles that start with “5 Things…” It’s like we seriously think everything (our health, relationships, finances, business and even our sex lives) can be boiled down to 5 things we’re supposed to know or supposed to do in order to be successful.
Having said all that, I have been thinking about who the real social media experts are and quite frankly, the first person that came to my mind was my sixteen-year-old daughter. I then began to wonder what key insights the way she interacts with social media might offer me as a small business owner, and it turn, my clients. So, here’s what I’ve observed from my resident expert.
1. Accept Everyone
My teen and her friends are indiscriminate about who they will “friend.” They are so indiscriminate, in fact, that I am not only “friends” with my daughter I am also “friends” with a good handful of her friends. As a Facebook mother I have access to more details about my daughter’s life (most of it centred around song lyrics she likes and funny things she and her friends have found on YouTube, mind you) than my mother would ever have dreamed of knowing about me. While I carefully screen my friend requests and limit access to my little world to only those I know and, quite frankly, like (144 friends and counting) my daughter is racking up friends like some people rack up Tim’s takeout cups (405 to date). She doesn’t care who sees that she and Rilee are going for Thai food on Wednesday or her inside joke dialogues with Krista. Ultimately, she feels she has nothing to hide. She also loves stalking people she barely knows and reading about their summer vacation or how their team did in the finals. She particularly loves to look at their photos.
Businesses are finally starting to catch up to the idea that they too should have nothing to hide. Customers want to know who’s behind the brand and have some sense that there are real people back there, cracking jokes over the water cooler and going home to stalk their kids on Facebook. The other advantage to casting as wide a social net as possible is that businesses that do this (via LinkedIn and Twitter for example) gain valuable access to potential customers/clients, business partners or brand advocates (people who will say nice things about them). So, we’re all going to have to loosen up a bit, starting with me. This afternoon I’m going to tackle the requests sitting in my inboxes and my new response is going to be “Yes” I will connect with you. “Yes” I will be your friend. “Yes” I will follow you on Twitter. “Yes” “Yes” “Yes”… And then I’m going to clean-up the mess on my page floor before all of my new friends see it.