As I was growing up, my mom had lots of sayings. It took me quite a while to figure out their relevance, of course, but wisdom does come with age. I was thinking today how much they also apply to social media.
“The walls have ears” Being the youngest in my family, many conversations took place around me. Some I paid attention to, others I ignored, of course. But it always seemed that when a conversation got interesting, my mom would say, “The walls have ears.” Suddenly, the conversation would take a drastic turn. And being very young, I literally thought the walls had ears. Bizarre! Of course what she really meant was that I was listening. I was the wall. Nice, mom. 🙂 But the point of this is that we do need to be those walls. We need to be listening to what is a hot topic, how our brand is mentioned and the sentiments surrounding it. Being that wall with ears is the only way to really know how other people think and feel.
“Don’t leave home without wearing clean underwear.” I always thought this was a strange statement. Why would anyone wear underwear that weren’t clean? But mom always had a fear of being in an accident, and wouldn’t it be terrible if you went to the emergency room and your underwear weren’t just that? (Well this certainly sheds a bit of light on the source of my anxiety, doesn’t it?) But her point was that you always have to be prepared because you never know what is going to happen. We never know what the next big thing is, or what the next viral video might be, or what the topic of the day is. And if we’re not prepared, and not using the right tools (hence the clean underwear!) we’ll easily be left behind. Social media gives us the tools, the conversations, and the connections to people to stay up to date, and then we can follow my mom’s rule.
“Because I said so. That’s why” I can’t even begin to count how many times I got this response to the question, “Why?” And I’m willing to be that every mom has said this at one point or another. But in the world of social media, this one just doesn’t work. Just because you say something and believe it to be true, you can be sure that someone will disagree, and who can now be heard. Loudly. Everywhere. So just because you say something, don’t expect that people are going to buy it and accept it to be the truth. And that’s why we have conversations with people in social media. When it comes to social media for brands, this is a golden rule. We can’t just feed our own agenda to the masses, we need to talk WITH them. Without it, there’s no trust.
So this one is for mom, and I thank her for these lessons and the many others she taught me, even if it did take me years to figure out what they meant! So what did your mom teach you and how does it apply to this social world we’re living in?