Social Media Feeds the Hungry Soul

As a social media promotion and marketing consultant for a number of companies, I look at the phenomenon of social media’s popularity and understand the hesitancy to engage this project in the minds of many professionals. Why would they give themselves to a medium that has no immediate quantifiable return for their time?  Here are a few thoughts that might bring these ideas together, and help coaches understand the power of social media tools.

  1. Our world is increasingly segmented, emotionally disengaged and broken, multicultural and tribal. Our culture on a whole is more divided that it was in the idealistic 70’s in which many of us matured.
  2. Social media and an online, virtual life appeals to this brokenness. In front of my computer screen, I have a level of anonymity. I am safe.
    1. I can hit the delete button if someone says something I don’t like.
    2. I can say things without accountability,
    3. I can be me; at least I think I can, (until the emotional emptiness of living life online catches up with me.)
    4. Then I fall back into self-defeating approach of trying to be someone I’m not in order to impress people I don’t really know. But online, I can do it w/o risk.
  3. Therefore, the combination of social media tools and our culture’s brokenness are a perfect fit, like a hungry man and a buffet. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the universe of social media provides (at least a counterfeit)  connectedness.

We were created for community, connectedness and emotionally rewarding relationships. So, what does social media have to do with solving this problem? Can social media be harnessed to help transform the brokenness that it currently medicates into silence?

Social tools are the way many people now enter into the risky business of a relationship. We check each other out online before giving phone numbers. Facebook and Twitter are the least intimate levels of communication available today, yet here are some of the statistics:

  1. Facebook has over 800 million users, and for the last two years, Twitter has experienced meteoric geometric growth, with 200 million users on 2011.
  2. Half of Facebook users log in daily, and create 55 million status updates.
  3. Twitter posts one billion (that’s 1,000,000,000) tweets every 5 days.
  4. As of 2011, Fortune 100 companies are beginning to leverage their advertising dollars into social media channels.

Mental health professionals and ministers and non-profit, helping professions can learn to use this social approach to life to their advantage if they accept that people use social media as a buffer. People use social media as an onramp to relationships. In this light, social media becomes an incredibly powerful tool for those in helping professions.

Coaches / therapists can publish their thoughts and professional expertise online, at no cost to themselves free, every day. There are no editors to please, no deadlines to meet, no printing costs. They can attract future clients in the safety of cyberspace, in a medium that cost nothing but time. In this environment, where people choose to listen, the helping professional can attract people to themselves and to their practice if they learn a few tools, are disciplined with their time, and are willing to accept this new paradigm.

The major problem I run into (and I feel this personally from time to time) is this. Why would a busy professional coach spend time casting words out into the digital zeitgeist when they don’t know if anyone is listening?

Here are three truths that finish framing this discussion.

  1. No one is listening at first. You have to earn the right to be heard by your consistency, and by giving away high quality bits and pieces of your expertise. There is no short cut.
  2. People will find you. Like Costner’s baseball field in Field of Dreams, they will come if you build it.
  3. Social media is where coaches will find their next generation of clients. We grew up with the rock and roll, television and telephones that hung on the wall. The current generation of 30-somethings was children in the 80’s and 90’s with video games, the internet and cell phones. They have different expectations of life because they experienced a different world.

If coaches, therapists, and helping professionals want to draw this generation into the benefits of coaching, social media is the number one way to find and connect with them. So when using social media, convey who you are and follow these guidelines:

Do:

 1. Share original, valuable content.

2. Be consistent

3. be genuine and personal

4. it’s OK to share content from others as a way of providing value to your tribe.

 Don’t:

 1. Be inconsistent, You will become known as an expert if you stick it out.

2. Use other people’s content w/o giving them credit.

3. Give up – If you build it, they will come.

 If your business wants to harness the power of social media now is the time to get involved. With the assistance of a talented copy writer, your business likely has the intellectual capital that can tame the social media jungle. Contact Timothy Burns here for a free one hour review and consultation of your online Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and the Tools available to expand your market.

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