It is undeniable that social media has become an immersive environment that is a cardinal source of connection for many people. When platforms like Facebook were emerging, it was easy to manipulate the rules and algorithms to ‘force’ connection – but now, the intelligence driving these platforms is returning to its original mission – to connect people organically, online.
So more and more the rules of social success online will mimic the rules of success in offline social interactions. Think of social media like Facebook as the world’s biggest cocktail party. It rages 24 hours a day and turns with the world on its axis. Everyone in the world with uncensored access to the internet is invited and you can come and go as you like.
Imagine that cocktail party – lots of different side conversations, lots of different rooms, and so many people that you could connect with.
Not surprisingly the rules of etiquette at an offline cocktail party are a very good place to start. What makes people popular and successful online are the same ingredients that make people popular and successful offline. Work with me…
‘Cool’ is tribal
What makes a person ‘cool’ is very much relevant to the people they find themselves connected to and the definition that those people hold about what ‘cool’ is. For example, take ballerinas. Ballerinas think ballet is cool and at the cocktail party, the ballerinas are likely to find themselves in a room to talk about things that ballerinas are interested in. I know a few ballerinas and know that they are interested in nutrition, dance supplies, heaps of them smoke, classical music, and probably other forms of dance. It makes sense that within that tribe, those things are cool and interesting – and engaging.
If you want to extend your ‘tribe’ you have to find things in common with other tribes and see where your interests intersect.
For a 2nd-row rugby union player, the ‘cool’-ness of ballet is probably limited to the athletic expression of the dance and that is probably where the depth of the relationship will end. At that intersection of ‘tribal commonality’ called ‘athlete’.
That same ballerina could connect with school Mum’s who cart their kids around to dance class after school who want a basic understanding of ballerina-life so they can relate to their kids and share their hopes and dreams. That intersection of ‘tribal commonality’ might be called ‘grassroots dance’ and they can talk about the best vendors of pointe shoes, upcoming performances, how to encourage young people in dancing. Some ballerinas might be Mums too and could connect with other Mums who are interested in nutrition.
See how the intersections of these ‘tribes’ are important to connect to new people.
“You are only as interesting as the conversations you can have”
That was advice my dad gave me to encourage me to read books that I didn’t want to in order to gain a more classical and holistic education. The more intersections you can have with other tribes, the more interesting you will be, and therefore the more conversations you will be invited to.
Don’t be that guy.
If you have ever sat next to someone involved in direct sales (think Amway, Tupperware, Skincare, Timeshare) at a cocktail party, you’ll know the resistance that is inspired from someone who is shoving their lifestyle/product/cult down your throat. If you are using social to network, the same rules apply. It’s a cocktail party not a sales presentation – that’s not why people go to cocktail parties and it comes across as rude with a generous side-serve of impropriety.
It kind of goes with human nature that if someone is aggressively telling you how amazing they are, they probably are not.
Be passionate and useful – let other people decide whether or not you are ‘amazing’.
Kendall Jenner (of the Kardashian Klan) was paid US$250,000 to advertise the Fyre music festival with one Instagram post of a plain orange square on her Instagram account. The music festival was an utter failure, with thousands of people essentially robbed, and it was probably the turning point in paid-for-comment influence.
Influencers, from the Italian word ‘Influenza’ – I’m not even joking – must be credible. If you pay someone at a party to go around telling people you are amazing…well…It would be a bit sad and very awkward when everyone finds out. When the people at the party know that there are people paid to ‘influence’ them…the value of the influence is weighted against that context. And as everyone knows…you can’t buy class.
It is much better if you just ARE amazing and other people notice and tell other people. Advocates are a much more preferable means of introduction to new people, whether through a review or direct recommendation.
The most popular guy at the cocktail party
Invariably, the most popular people at a cocktail party are the guys actually giving people what they want – cocktails. Whatever your cocktail of choice – for us at First National Byron, it is real estate but it is also a deep knowledge of our shires and towns, a hub for the collection of voice and connection of voices – give that to people.
You’ve probably picked up by now that the overarching advice for etiquette and success on social media is not to be ‘good’ at social media, but rather to be ‘good’ at whatever it is you do, ‘good’ at being useful and interesting, and ‘good’ enough to inspire people to talk about how ‘good’ you are.
‘Good Works’ has long been a mantra of ours at First National Byron. And that is because it does.