My friend just stopped breathing one morning last month. She was expecting a baby boy and already has two sweet little girls. My immediate thought when I heard the news was that it absolutely could not be true. There was no way a girl who had provided so much light and grace through the most authentic, real social media presence had just stopped breathing at 25. I suddenly realized just how much impact her musings about being a mother, and her sense of humor around the trials of life, impacted my daily life.
Then, through the unthinkable tragedy, something beautiful happened --> Her friends started sharing positive quotes, photos and stories she had shared on social throughout her life, to remind us all of what an incredible legacy she left behind. My feed was suddenly flooded with the most beautiful prayers, smiles and reminders of a girl who truly lived while she was here.
I've had many points in my life that have reminded me that life is short, and I must use every single second to strive towards what I believe my purpose to be. This was yet another point that stopped me in my tracks and made me reevaluate decisions I've been making over the past few months.
One of the largest decisions I've been thinking about is what to do with this lovely blog. While I enjoy giving advice about social media, there is more to me than spouting off facts about my career choice. I've also noticed a strong magnetism towards my posts that share more personal stories and have a lesson that transcends beyond a social media lesson to a life lesson.
Influenced also by an incredible sermon I saw this morning about doing everything you can with what God gives to you, I've decided to open up my blog to more than a social media focus. While it will still primarily focus on life lessons that can be applied to social media, you might also find some posts that don't tie back to my career.
However, I do have a nugget from the sermon I mentioned that applies to social ;) It applies more to everyone on social, then just strictly brands. The sermon focused on the fact that we are not judged on how much we have, but rather on what we do with whatever we are handed with in life.
This applies to everyone and anyone who has a social media account. When we are handed social media networks, we inherit a responsibility to do the best with whatever social media we handed. I don't care if you have 120 followers, or 120,000 followers, you are responsible for your contribution to the community you've built. Here are some things that I think we all need to keep in mind when it comes to doing the most with what we have on social:
Don't Abuse Your Power
Too many times I see people complain consistently to every single brand they have ever had an issue with. The more you complain to brands, the less seriously your complaints will be taken ("The Boy Who Cried Wolf"). Granted, social media is a great place to contact customer service, but make sure you are doing it only in situations that call for it, and don't abuse your social media power by trying to get more than is owed to you from every single company out there.
Remember Your Audience
It's easy to jump on social and forget that you actually have an entire audience reading what you are writing. Take a second to reread your thoughts before making them public. Are these thoughts you want everyone knowing?
Don't Let Your Audience Intimidate You
This is a really important one. When I hit 100K, I suddenly started realizing just how many people were seeing my messages. For a moment, I thought of whether or not I should tweak some of my more raw thoughts since more people were reading them. I had to remind myself that I built my community based on my authenticity, and no matter how large it became, it shouldn't change the authenticity of my messages.
Share The Wealth
Particularly when your own content is doing well, it's easy to forget the people following you. Remember to give back to those supporting you on social channels. One of my favorite quotes by Kevin Spacey is, "If you're lucky enough to do well, it's your responsibility to send the elevator back down." Take time to share valuable content from your supporters, and you'll build even a deeper, more relevant sense of community.
I cannot preach this enough. Social media is an incredibly powerful tool and has the ability to fuel positive OR negative conversations. Fuel the positive by thanking people who support you, taking an interest in your followers' lives and starting positive conversations among your community. You will be surprised by how much more positive your own outlook on life becomes.
Ultimately, do the very best with what you have been given on social. Create meaningful, positive communities among your own followers, and you will lay the foundation for a very successful platform whether it be for your career or personal reasons.
For those interested in the sermon I referenced, you can find it here --> http://lbcc.org/portfolio-posts/cultivate-your-wealth/.
Looking forward to sharing even more than social media insights with you in the future :)
- Marji J. Sherman