What social media is really about

Remember the good old days? The days of bouffant hairstyles (thank you Jackie Kennedy) and go go boots (thank you Nancy Sinatra)? Imagine walking down the street wearing your new shiny go go boots heading for your weekly wash and curl at Valerie’s, a neighborhood beauty parlor you’ve been going to since you were a child. You walk in the door and Valerie greets you with a “Hi! It’s great to see you again!” Sitting down in the plaid swivel, you twirl once and say you’ll have the usual. You know that Valerie knows exactly what you want. As Valerie begins to cut your hair she asks, “How’s little Johnny? I bet he’s not so little any more?”

That feeling of being listened to and understood is exactly what social media is about.

Over time with the advancement in technology, popularity of television and print advertising, businesses lost that personal touch. Businesses with the biggest advertising budgets got the customers, leaving little space for small business to compete.

Today, customers are no longer interested in hearing those big budget broadcast messages. Just like the good old days, they expect to be treated as an individual; they want to know the owner; they want personalized customer service. And social media allows businesses of any size to do just that.

Social media levels the playing field once again for businesses, and the key to their success is embracing the “good old days” when a handshake and genuine interest were the way everyone did business—by putting the “social” back in business.

The value of social media comes down to people, relationships, and the meaningful actions between them. —Brian Solis

81% of consumers receive advice from friends and family relating to a product purchase through a social networking site. —The 6 Pillars Of Social Commerce: Understanding The Psychology Of Engagement by Brian Solis

How to be Social

There’s no question that social media is an integral part of the way we do business. How do you set yourself up for success in a social business economy? Planning and strategizing is a key component, and outreach and engagement is the other. Let’s talk about the nuts and bolts of what it looks like to be “social” on social media: monitoring and listening, producing and sharing social content, joining relevant conversations, and the tools you can use to help make it all happen.


Just like the salon owner who has listened to her customer, you begin by listening to yours.

  • Show your interest in others by liking, following, circling.
  • Invite your existing relationships to be part of your online community, including customers and business associates.
  • Follow and like your industry competition, people who influence your target market, potential customers.
  • Find like businesses and conversations using keywords and #hashtags. (Tweetreports.com, Hashtracking.com)
  • Don’t forget journalists and influential bloggers! (Muckrack.com)


Just as you would share your thoughts on various topics with your barber, be willing to share authentic opinion on social media. Reveal who you are behind your title or your brand.

  • Share your expertise and blogging is one of the best ways to do this. (52% of businesses that blog reported that the leads generated were below average cost. [The State of Inbound Marketing, 2012 by Hubspot] Blogs are one of the most cost-effective and powerful ways to generate leads.)
  • In today’s social world people want to see behind the scenes, they want to get to know the CEO and her dog. They want to laugh, be inspired, and make a connection—share your day.
  • Share content from others including photos, videos and articles.
  • Start conversations, join conversations, and leave comments. (The stats show that less than 10% of your fans actually return to your wall—that means that 90% of your fans are only going to engage with you through your content that they see in their news feed.)


These tools will help save time and enjoy social media.

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Want to see live demos of a couple of these tools? Register for Social Media Club Hawaii‘s next public event, Time Saving Social Media Tools on May 14th.


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Now go out there and be social! Here is a list of people we mentioned in this article that you can follow on Twitter:

Or, you can follow the whole list: http://twitter.com/wahinemedia/social-media-tools

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Can’t get enough? Watch Gwen and Karen talk about social business from ING Direct Honolulu: