Social Media is a Party, Not a Platform

office worker wearing a party hat and sitting next to a mylar baloon

In my blog about being a person online (click here to read it), I mentioned the party analogy I had been using to explain social media and social media management, an analogy I still use to explain complex strategy to my clients today. This blog is an outline of that concept for your reading pleasure.

A lot of social media and relational marketers use a party or ‘networking event’ analogy to explain what to do and what not to do when interacting online. Most people at least have a general idea of what should be done at a party, even if some of us (like me) aren’t so good when one actually finds oneself face to face with the real thing. Thank goodness I have found a profession where my past nerdiness is an asset*.

The uninitiated tend to use social media like a billboard, or an ad campaign where they can post a call to action and then move on. This is a great way to take up space and be ignored. Nobody follows the person who walks into a party, yells “I’LL BE EATING CELERY BACK AT MY HOUSE ALONE!” and then leaves. Exceptions to this rule are people who are already insanely popular for something else. If Vin Diesel came to my party, stated that he was about to take a nap across town and asked if anybody else wanted to come, I’d vault over my own grandma to call shotgun on that ride.

When you treat social media like a party, all the usual party rules apply:

  • Be nice
  • Be engaging
  • Don’t spend the whole time talking about yourself
  • Interact with others based on what you have in common, not what they can do for you later
  • If you’re funny, be funny
  • If you’re smart, be smart
  • Basically, just be your best self and don’t worry so much about little details

At the end of the day, your social media management should feel good, natural, honest, and easy. Don’t show up on social media flustered, certainly don’t engage in conversations you’re not actually interested in but feel obligated to attend based on on who’s in that conversation, or what keywords it contains. The active word in the phrase social media is “social.” This is how so many great people are able to get a followers and build active communities for themselves and their organizations without any prior celebrity. They are good, they do good, and they interact well with others in the medium, which is a self-perpetuating cycle.

Continue to reach out to your community. Ask more about what you can do for your followers than what they can do for you, and you’re on your way to having a vibrant social media network that can support you and your organization just as you’ve supported them.

*Young nerds: that was a trick sentence. Nerdiness is always an asset.