When I was in my twenties I read something that said that there were three most critical factors in a successful marriage — communication, endurance, and shared pleasures. Please note, the order is only accidentally alphabetical, it is actually the order of the importance of the concepts. I was tempted to say, ‘the greatest of these is (not love!) communication.’ Here was the thought process.
Shared pleasures, including affection, give us something to draw people together, a sense of purpose. Pleasure alone, though, is like eating dessert for the whole meal or watching nothing but cartoons on the television. After a while, something in you calls out for a little more nutrition and substance.
To succeed at anything, be it a relationship, a project, or a job, takes commitment. Think of some one who gets into relationships, never really gives them a chance, and keeps switching from person to person looking for the right thing. You know whats going to happen — they either change their approach or they end up single. It takes stick-to-it-tiveness to make a marriage work, or to make social media work for you. You can’t just dip your toes in the water, decide it’s cold or that you don’t have time, and expect it to accomplish anything for you. You can’t just set up RSS feeds and never talk to people and expect to have lots of followers who adore you. That would be the exception rather than the rule.
At the same time, as empty as pleasure is without durability, durability without pleasure is unsatisfactory at best. What really brings them all together is the communication. The author of the book said that you actually don’t need sexual zing to make a marriage work, if you have the communication, commitment, and truly love the other person and want to make them happy, well, you’ll figure out what it takes. I don’t know if that works in real life, but that is what she said. I suspect in long lasting relationships that it really is necessary to get you through the ups and downs, the slow times when things aren’t working the way you wish, when the sparkle isn’t right there out in front.
It makes sense to me that all the same factors in making a successful marriage are critical in successful media engagement for an enterprise. A completely different scale, but the same concepts. I was thinking of this as a way to inform the process of making a social media plan. Try thinking of the kinds of relationships you want to build, and how long you want them to last. Is this a campaign for a short term project or event? Well, then get romantic, focus on the sparkle and pizzazz, be charming and flashy. Is this about the longterm relationship between your enterprise and your audience or customer base? Then you want to foster good communication and build trust, let them know that they can count on you for the long run, and make it rewarding for them to be around you.
This is a classic on planning your social media strategy. It is short and sweet, easy to remember. All the basic ideas firt in here somewhere, but you can do a lot of embroidering around them and really make it your own.
Bernoff, Josh. The POST Method: A systematic approach to social strategy. Groundswell December 11, 2007. Forrester. http://blogs.forrester.com/groundswell/2007/12/the-post-method.html
Here is something more recent that I really liked. Mike Brito focuses on Twitter, but the basic ideas apply in a lot of social media spaces. I have pulled out just the key points he made, but strongly recommend that you click through to his post and read the full explanations. In particularly, I just adored his explanation of the kind of balance in communication to make this work. Worth emulating.
“I usually follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of my tweets are conversational and personal, 20 percent are about the company I work for. I’ve found that this has really helped build customer engagement and link click-through rates.”
1. Do your research before engaging customers
2. Determine organizational goals
3. Utilize either a branded or personal profile
4. Build your Twitter equity and credibility
5. Track metrics and conversation trends
6. Don’t go overboard; less structure is better
7. Listen and observe before engaging
8. Be authentic & believable
9. Track, measure, and iterate
10. Don’t just strategize: execute!
Brito, Mike. 10 Twitter Best Practices for Brands. Mashable June 24, 2009. http://mashable.com/2009/06/24/twitter-brand-best-practices/
When I got married, the something blue part was a struggle for me. I don’t even remember what I ended up with, maybe a ribbon tied on somewhere or something. What I do remember vividly is WHY blue as important. Colors in general are important to me, and I grew up studying symbolism in a variety of contexts. Blue is the color of faith & fidelity, trust and honesty. Relationships don’t work without it. Any relationship, marriage, parent-child, boss-employer, company-customer. Your goal? Go Blue.