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07/10/2009 Can You Fake Social Media?


Some things I keep hearing (and saying as well) about social media is that:

  • It’s a conversation
  • You need to be generous
  • You should act nice
  • You should be a good listener
  • You should share things that have value

Well what if you, your business or the employees at your business aren’t like this? If social media is all about authenticity, what if this isn’t your authentic self? Can you make your employees do it even though they don’t mean it?

Can you fake social media? And if you can, is it okay, as long as no one finds out and every one is happy?

Actually, I think you can. It’s not that much difference from teaching sales people in retail or customer service people on the phone to act one way with customer even if they’re some of the biggest assholes in the world. The danger is that at one time or another, especially under stress, the asshole part will ultimately come out.

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One thing that strikes me is how I hear people in and out of business say it doesn’t feel natural to use Twitter or LinkedIn. They’re not comfortable sharing, they don’t know what to say so it’s easy for them to find other things to do instead, even though it’s part of their business outreach.

I say to them, my kids don’t feel it’s natural to say Thank You. I have friends who don’t feel comfortable at parties with lots of other people they don’t know. I have relatives who hate having official conversations on the phone.

There are lots of strategies and tactics for dealing with things you don’t feel comfortable with, or that are new or that are just downright strange. My old boss kept saying “Fake it ‘till you make it!” He never made it, unfortunately, but his clients never could see the difference.

I think you can fake social media. You can make your checklists, or you can pretend you’re an actor and assume another role. As long as your consistent and follow the list above, do we really care that you, or your brand isn’t really like that? I don’t think so.

A friend of mine told me how she had met a famous writer. We oohed and aahed, until she said that he was kind of a nebbish in person. We realized that you don’t really want to see some people in person. They work better from afar.

That’s why faking social media might work for you and your employees in the end.

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