Several years ago, I became a huge fan of the HBO series Six Feet Under, and it wasn’t just because of how yummy Peter Krause was (is). The show carried such great acting, such great stories – it was truly one of the best shows I’ve seen. So, when I heard that one of the actors from that show, Michael C. Hall, was launching his own series on Showtime called Dexter, I was already pretty certain it would be awesome.
If you are not familiar, Dexter, the namesake of the show, is a blood splatter analyst for the Miami Police Department during the day. At night, he is a serial killer, but he only kills criminals who have escaped punishment for their crimes. It’s sort of a super-twisted 21st Century Batman. You find out as the show progresses how Dexter came to be this way, and you are placed in the very awkward position of liking a serial killer better than most of the other characters.
In case you’re worried at this point, no, I’m not saying you’re a serial killer.
One problem that Dexter has in his everyday life is that he is not capable of feeling regular emotions. He can be protective of people and generally values his inner circle of family and friends, but he doesn’t know how to connect with people on a deeper, emotional level. In the online world, this problem haunts a lot of people who feel that their tweets and their blogs should be all business, all the time.
If that’s you, you might be having a problem engaging. This post is for you.
The Difference Between Personal and Personable
One common mistake in Social Media is to think that “being human” means that you have to tell everyone everything about you every day. That’s not really what we’re talking about here (although if you do want to do that, more power to you). Engaging with someone on a human level means that you on occasion stray from Wall Street Journal posts and look for ways to connect, really connect, with people.
So how can you try to build the human aspect of your Social Media presence? How can you start to connect with people in ways that extend beyond your business or your brand? If this is something you struggle with, I have a plan that will take you 1 week, with 1 action item to do each day. Ready?
Monday: Look for a conversation that is about something you like. Maybe it’s a movie. Maybe it’s a sporting event (the NCAA tournament is going right now). Jump on in. See what happens.
Tuesday: Look for someone who has changed their user picture or their blog site layout. Even if it happened awhile ago, jump in and say, “You know, I never mentioned it, but I really like…”
Wednesday: Look for a blog post that really resonates with you. Explain to the person in the comments section what you like about it, what it made you feel, and why it stuck with you.
Thursday: If you are blogging, try to add a pinch of personal to your post today. Again, it doesn’t have to be, “Let me tell you about my colonoscopy.” It can be a story from your childhood, maybe, or something you heard from a friend the other day. But bring a bit of yourself into the post.
Friday: Look for someone who seems to need some cheering up, and set about doing your best to get that emoticon smile on your screen.
Saturday: Look for someone who is posting really good news and make sure you congratulate them.
Sunday: Try to do as many of these things as possible in one day.
Once you start reaching out to people in this way, you find that everything about Social Media becomes more real and more enjoyable. You’re no longer locked in your protective business cave. Instead, you are out there as a human reaching out to other humans. And hey, maybe you’ll help someone else along the way who needs to learn that they can be themselves, too.
How else can you connect with your community? How else can you really meet people where they are?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This is post 11 in The Engagement Series. What would you like to see me cover in this series? Just let me know. And don’t forget, that subscribe button is over there so that you don’t miss a post 🙂
Image by Geoffrey Woodley. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/geoffrey63