The One Thing You MUST do to Succeed in Social Media

Do you want to know 89 ways to best leverage social media? I thought not.

Today I just want to share one tip, one thing that is CRITICAL to you succeeding in social media. Okay, here it is:


That’s it. Just be a human being, and actually care about the people you are connecting with online.

I know that seems very simple, and maybe you are even regretting clicking on this post, but let’s explore why CARING is so much more valuable than me telling you about how to leverage the latest feature on Facebook, Digg or Google Analytics.

This is why is caring so important:

Soylent Green is People. So are Businesses.

Let’s explore your use of social media in a business context. Maybe your goal is to score an agent for your book, or to attract engineers to your blog, or ensure that anyone in your area looking for an HVAC specialist is aware of your business.

Social media is getting more and more crowded, with tons more people using services such as Twitter now than a year ago. Many of those users are also becoming more aware of the power of the service, using it as a cornerstone of their business.

What that means is that it can be harder to stand out. That traditional ‘marketing tactics’ may not translate all that well to social media. It’s the same way that news media can no longer just ‘inform’ their audience of news, because EVERYONE is informing each other about news all the time. So they have to rethink how they add value, connect with an audience, and solve problems.

What do you do to leverage social media in the most powerful way possible? What do you do to stand out, to become that essential connection to those in your market? Simple: care about other people’s goals, and make a concerted effort to help them.

Oftentimes, businesses look for gaps in their market – opportunities that no one else sees that they can fill. But why not focus on the gaps in peoples’ LIVES. Social media is an incredible tool to expose those gap – giving you tons of real-time data as to what people need and want, how they behave, who they interact with, and who they connect to.

Here’s a REALLY simple example: I can’t tell you how many times I see someone post something vaguely personal on Facebook or Twitter, and are GRATEFUL for any response of support. Simple things:

  • “My sister goes in for hand surgery today…nervous.”
  • “Plane delayed for a THIRD time today.”
  • “Big interview tomorrow… ironing!”

So, you know, at the very least, you can respond in the following ways:

  • “Hope the hand surgery goes well!”
  • “Ugh… sorry to hear about the plane delays.”
  • “Good luck on the interview!”

So, you showed you cared. And that’s awesome. Seriously, it can mean a lot to people just to know that they aren’t alone in the universe, alone with their problems.

But lets take it a step further – let’s actually help! Some ideas:

  • “Hope the hand surgery goes well! Here are some stress balls for her road to recovery!
  • “Sorry to hear about the plane delay. Maybe this book on aviation humor can help you pass the time:
  • “Good luck on the interview. My best tip: mimic the speaking style of the interviewer.”

Clearly, these are silly examples to more personal updates. But what about when folks you follow on Twitter post comments about their career and their business? Can’t you assist in the same manner?

These are the people that will shape your career. Take a minute to help shape theirs.

Besides, that’s LOADS more helpful that being the 200th person to share the same piece of news about the iPad.