Well, here we are. Already more than halfway through the 7 habits and how they made me review and evaluate my perspective on my Social Media reality. I hope that at the very least this is inspiring you to give the book a try to see if you get the same sort of benefit from it!
Habit 4 is about creating a win-win situation. Now, how many times have you seen people in Social Media talk about this in different terms? For example:
Promote others at least as much as, if not more than, you promote yourself
Make sure you comment on other peoples’ blogs. It makes them feel loved and sends traffic back to your site
Make sure you respond to people who comment on your blog. It lets them know you appreciate them and keeps them coming back.
These are all win-win situations, right? Sure thing.
The trap that people fall in to is losing the balance of the win-win scenario, whether in real life or in Social Media. Here are some examples of how one can lose the balance of the win-win in Social Media.
Empty Promotion: A lot of people participate in Follow Friday on Twitter. I’ve talked about this interesting phenomenon a few times here. The concept is a good one, but what happens a lot of the time is that people do tweets like this: #ff abc, def, ghi, jkl, mno, and pqr. Then, each of those people retweets the #ff post. The original poster may also end up retweeting posts where they are mentioned as someone to follow. This is not really a win-win for your followers though, is it? You could just be going down your list for all we know. To make Follow Friday a win-win, mention 1-2 people throughout the day, separately, and really tell your followers why they could benefit from following that person.
Empty Promotion, Part 2: Another easy mistake to make in Twitter-land is to just hit the “Retweet” button without making a comment. I used to do this a lot when I first started. “I’m promoting the person and sending their info to my followers,” I thought to myself. Well, after being on Twitter for awhile, you come to realize that a retweeted post is basically just an echo. If you really want to create a win-win for the person you’re retweeting as well as your followers, explain what you got out of the post. If it’s a really important infographic, work in something like, “Really changed my perspective!” Something short, but something that shows the value. See the difference?
Never promoting yourself: This is another trap that it’s easy to fall into. A lot of people think that “win-win” means self-sacrifice. Dr. Covey gives several examples of people who make that kind of mistake. In Social Media, this may mean that you give up chatting with your friends in favor of just retweeting other people. It might mean that you give up your blog so that you only comment on what other people write. This is not a win-win because you are not feeling good about the situation. You are not benefiting as much as other people are through your actions.
The Leaders in Social Media Get This
If you think about some of the bigger thought leaders in this space, you see that they live by this rule, whether or not they have read the book. Why offer phenomenal content? The benefit to others is obvious. The benefit to you is that you become a trusted resource, and people will be willing to give you a boost when you need it. Why ask people to guest post on your blog? It gets them recognition, gives your readers a new perspective, and doubles the number of people driving traffic to your blog that day. See?
All of the big secrets in Social Media really and truly revolve around this principle of creating win-win situations. The people that do it right are the ones who, well, win.
So take a moment, as I did, and evaluate whether you are creating win-win situations for your community, or whether you are creating lose-win situations for yourself. Even more important, make sure you aren’t creating situations where your community is losing while you win (this would be something like popping out press releases via your blog or ads via your Twitter account).
Are you winning while also helping your community win? To me, that is the core principle of good Social Media practice. And there it is, in a book that was written before Facebook or Twitter existed. Who knew?
Image by Billy Alexander. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ba1969