Putting the Social Back in Social Media

Social media isn’t always very sociable.

Okay, that may not be breaking news, but I think it’s important to step back and reflect on how social media can bring out the worst in people. That’s even true on LinkedIn, which prides itself on being a place for professionals of all sorts. More than once recently, I’ve seen people have to edit posts to address the ugly feedback they got for what they said or how they said it or even how they looked in a photo.

But social media doesn’t have to be that way, as a recent podcast guest, Rachel Beck, proves every day. She fills her LinkedIn feed with words of encouragement that bring hope daily to her followers, who now number more than a quarter of a million. If LinkedIn ever decides to name a chief inspiration officer, I’m nominating Rachel for the job!

Rachel joined me on a recent episode of The Combustion Chronicles to share her amazing story and talk about her mission to use social media to build people up, not tear them down. One thing she said really blew me away, because it’s how I try to live my life too: “What I’m trying to do is to create a movement of kindness and love, where our voice will finally silence the hate. And I think it is possible, and a lot of people out there are trying to do it, to make that voice of kindness and love bigger.”

After listening to Rachel, it occurred to me that those of us in the business world have just two options when it comes to social media (unless we decide to join in on the negativity, which I DON’T recommend).

The first option is to adopt a strictly business attitude and park your heart at the door. In other words, only post facts about your organization and your industry, and never post anything about your passions or what’s happening in the larger world.

Now, that might seem like the safe option and it might even keep the internet trolls away but there’s a big problem with that approach. You have to humanize your business to be successful these days. You can’t just compete on cost; you have to compete on caring, too. According to one survey I read, 77% of Americans are motivated to buy from companies that are committed to making the world better; according to another survey, 93% of employees believe companies must lead with purpose.

The second option is to use social media as a force for good like Rachel does. Like she told me on the podcast, “You have that choice every day when you get up: How am I going to use this? I’m sending this message out into the world. What kind of message do I want to put out there?”

I know what kind of messages I want to put out there. What about you?

Takeaway: Social media can sometimes be antisocial. We owe it to the people we serve to use this powerful platform as a force for good. When we do, both our communities and our organizations benefit.

As an experience evangelist, Shawn Nason (founder and CEO of MOFI) partners with human-obsessed and maverick-minded people and organizations to rethink their Experience Ecosystems™. Click here to learn more.

Leave a Comment