If You Hate Social Media, You’re Doing it Wrong

social media toolsThere’s been a stream of negative posts about social media in B2B circles lately—a marketer’s lament that social isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It sucks your time. It doesn’t deliver results. Everyone is so fake. In fact, social media is anti-social, replacing real friendships with artificial ones. Let’s all cancel our Facebook accounts and stop? this? life-sucking abomination, as if the loom might be broken.

Just on the LinkedIn Pulse page for Social Media this week:

Yelling Into An Empty Room: The Relevance of Social Media
“Do you really have the time to let the world know what you are doing at any given moment?”

When You Stop Checking Facebook Constantly, These 10 Things Will Happen
“For many, checking Facebook has become almost like a job… If it is then maybe it’s time to quit.”

Why Nonprofits Should Stop Using Social Media
“Just because social media is the best option for other nonprofits, doesn’t mean it’s best for yours.”

Here’s the thing: It’s not the hammer’s fault If you’re having trouble getting a nail in straight. You just don’t know how to use it.

Social Media is a tool. It is not a magical community that springs up when you alight on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a hammer, and people use it to build things. Not everyone hits the nail straight when they first try it out. Some people blame the hammer. Other people figure out how to use it and go on to create wonderful things.

I know a mother who lost her baby in childbirth. An online community of other mothers who’d gone through the same nightmare helped her pull through. I know a dad who was overweight, depressed and alienated from his teenage son. He found a community of mountain bikers who helped him find something to be excited about, help him lose weight and connect with his kid.

You want business examples?Look at what Uber is doing with social media to connect riders and leverage their power to change markets and regulations—it’s not a stupid Twitter contest or Facebook ad campaign, it’s market development through social media. It works because they’ve figured out how to use the tools instead of blaming them when they don’t magically work by themselves.

If you find yourself in a social media rut—whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instragram, whatever—I have one suggestion for you, and it applies to business as well. Stop focusing on the channel, and start focusing on what you love, or what you want to explore. If you’re not excited, passionate, or at least interested in what you’re posting, social media is only going to amplify your boredom.

Pick your favorite hobby and find a group that’s engaged around it. Find people who are doing interesting things and learn from them. Ask questions. Try new things and fail spectacularly. Focus your posts on how you’re learning so others can learn how to fail too. If you start there, you will learn how to use social media, and you can apply what you learn to help your company succeed as well. If you think you’re going to make social media work for business when you’re not even excited about it for fun, you’re holding the hammer by the wrong end.

Yes, it can be time-consuming, confusing and uncomfortable figuring out how make social media work. But do you want to be someone who blames the hammer and walks away, or someone who figures out how to use it to build something beautiful?

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