Yesterday on Linkedin, I asked communication professionals to describe the mindset one needs to be successful at using social media tools. Over the past 24 hours, I received 21 very thoughtful responses.
I agree with most everything everyone said about authenticity, adaptability, conversation, team-building, comfort with the technology, time commitment, etc. I would only suggest it may be more basic.
Success in the social media space first requires you to CARE about what your stakeholders think without regard for your own ego and insecurities. There's a certain core selflessness required. Without it, I don't believe you could ever achieve real success or satisfaction in this space. Once you care enough, you can work on the list of attributes listed above.
Kelli Matthews reminded me recently of an anecdote I posted during CSI Season 1:
Toni Louw, who for my money is the world's best presentation coach, told me a story about a time when he was a young man. After delivering a speech in South Africa where Toni was dripping with sweat from nervousness, he was approached by a man as he was walking off the stage. The man looked at him and said, "Nice speech, just don't be so selfish next time." Toni understood exactly what he meant. Most of us are nervous because we care more about how we're going to be perceived than we do about our audience. To this day, whenever I feel nervous before a presentation, I think of the experience Toni was so generous enough to share with me.
For me this was a life altering story. It forever changed my view of the world and has most certainly influenced my mindset with regard to social media.
A client will always tell you he/she really cares. As the communication professional, it's up to you to determine, based on words and action, if your client is telling the truth. If your client truly cares, then you're off to a promising engagement in the world of social media. If you determine that they don't care enough, then keep them away from social media -- far, far away.
Regarding the 21 responses I received, I read every word and care very much about what everyone had to say. You should too. Please take a few moments to read them as well.