friends social media

Humans are wired to want, need, crave authentic connection. Yet, it it is sorely lacking in today’s society. These hand-held devices are drawing everyone’s focus down to a screen rather than having face-to-face connection. There is no arguing with the fact that we all need to look up from our phones and tablets and have a real eye-t0-eye conversation with the people around us.

And there is that pitfall of using social media to present some false front of the perfect life. That’s an entirely additional article I will write another day.

But here’s the thing… Social media is too often the baby thrown out with the bath water.

And I am on a mission to teach therapists, coaches, healers and other heart-based business owners that authentic relationships are the bedrock for good business as well as to encourage my clients to utilize this powerful tool in a way that enhances life.

How did I become an expert on this matter? By making bone-head mistakes along the way. Trial and error. Oh… how I have erred. I have made every mistake in the book and have learned along the way what to do and what not to do. So, now I’m sharing my tried and true conclusions.

Like any tool, it should be handled mindfully and utilized in very particular ways for optimal results. If the result we are seeking is real relationships, there are specific tips to heed.

Here are some potent DOs and DON’Ts :

  1. DON’T fall into to the social media time-suck. Set your timer and spend only a designated amount of time each morning and each evening on social media utilizing the following tips for how to efficiently utilize social media to connect with others.
  2. DO share, tag, and thank. Scroll through your feed (FB, Twitter, Instagram, Google+) and look for truly inspiring articles, memes, quotes posted by other people and click the share button, tag the person who originally posted thanking them.
  3. DON’T over-share others’ content.  Don’t share more than 2 items within 30 minutes. Shoot for 4 – 6 shares over the course of a day max.
  4. DON’T over-share your personal stuff. Once/week share something from your personal life – a photo of your daughter receiving her award or a cute pic of you and your hubby celebrating an anniversary but don’t over-do it. Your personal social media page/timeline/profile is not the place to document your deepest fears, your daily schedule, your every pondering.
  5. DO comment with sincerity, kindness and encouragement. Make a point to comment on posts made by others in your feed. Find something sincere and kind to say about what they have posted. If they are sharing they are having a hard time look for an encouraging word to offer.
  6. DON’T be saccharine-sweet. The goal here is for people to know you’ve read (heard and seen) what they are sharing and that you are interested and you care. Don’t over-do the sentiment.
  7. DON’T stir the political pot. You know what they say about opinions? Everybody has one but not everyone wants to see yours. If the goal here is to enhance authentic connection, social media is not the place to share your political position unless you want to clean out your friends-n-followers list to only be people who agree with you. If you feel led from the depths of your soul to bravely post political, by all means go for it. But just understand you may get blocked by a few people.
  8. DO use private messaging. Private messaging people to follow up on something they posted to connect more personally can be a wonderful way to strike up a conversation 1:1. Keep it real, keep it brief and be helpful… maybe offer some support or just tell them how much you appreciate something they’ve done/offered.
  9. DON’T use private messaging to hound or push. Private messaging should be used judiciously and respectfully but never to push what you’re selling or to bug people. Don’t overuse it or you’ll bug people.
  10. DON’T post to promote too often. This is a slippery slope. A sticky wicket. We want to be able to utilize social media to share with others the services, programs and products we have to offer and market our businesses but it must be done in a way that maintains the integrity of our relationships. Be very careful about only posting when you’re promoting or you will turn off more people than you can count. I made this mistake earlier on. It was an innocent mistake but a mistake none-the-less. Let your friends promote your stuff and keep your social media interactions for authentic connection.
  11. DO allow social media to lead to voice to voice or face to face connection. Ultimately, authentic relationships must go beyond the keyboard and screen. Invite social media friends to give  you a call, jump on Skype, meet for coffee. I have developed life-long friendships and very meaningful business relationships with people I’ve “met” on social media.