Shouldn’t everyone be a social media expert by now? Seriously, why are some people perplexed by Twitter while others have created dynamic personal and corporate brands seemingly overnight? Why do some people just “get” Facebook, YouTube and blogging as others sit on the sidelines?
Based on my highly unscientific pondering, I’ve developed the following Top 10 personality traits of successful social media practitioners:
1) Enthusiasm – If you’re not geeked about your subject, no one else will be. Seriously, you need to reach through a computer screen to grab peoples’ attention. People with laissez-faire or sarcastic attitudes need not apply.
2) Connected Thinking – Social media doesn’t serve up ideas or opportunities on a silver platter; at best, you’re one or two degrees away. You have to identify unpolished gems of insight that can be developed into big ideas or invaluable connections.
3) Synthesis – When doing social media monitor or research, there’s a boatload of input and data. Your job is to synthesize the fragmented, pieces-parts into actionable insights. Tools can help you collect and sift through data, but it’s up to you to develop a more meaningful whole.
4) Contemporary – Are you the “go-to” person when people need something — anything? You need to read, be immersed in your industry subject matter and ready to create content/ideas/opinions in the same social space. If you’re running a blog, you’d better be an active participant on many others.
5) Caring – Of course you need to be a subject matter expert, but people don’t care how much you KNOW until you SHOW much you CARE. You have to prove you’re more interested in helping others than yourself. View money as the reward you get for adding value to other people. Think karma.
6) Storyteller – Can you weave a good story together? Websites are great places for sales and data sheets, but social media demands a voice and personality. Mad-lib’esque press releases are not welcome. Candid writing – succinct and without embarrassing spelling/grammar mistakes – is rewarded.
7) Brand Master – Are you comfortable with the brand spirit of your organization? It MUST be your guide when communicating online. You’re a living, speaking ambassador of your company’s brand. You cool with that? Hope so!
8 ) Internal Advocacy – While much of social media is public facing, rallying support of your efforts is critical to a sustained, credible presence online. Let’s face it — you’re going to need access to a lot of people in your organization for content and answers. Do you have what it takes to lobby internally on behalf of customers online?
9) Responsiveness & Consistency – Time is one helluva test. You need to stay in touch with online communications and reply in a timely manner. Inviting customer interaction and then not responding conveys an “Ivory tower” impression which is infuriating. Timely responses and contributions offered consistently over time builds credibility and authenticity in the online world.
10) Curiosity – Finally, you must, must, must be curious. Our world is rapidly changing and you’re just fingertips away from the next great idea, contact, customer or idea. But they don’t present themselves — you have to connect the dots out of curiosity to create something far greater than the sum of the parts.
We’re living in exciting times. Social media is such an alluring opportunity. What other traits do YOU think are essential? Please post them in a comment below. Thanks!