Or is that you I'm talking about?
We talk a lot about how your approach to social media needs to cede control and be transparent, conversational, crowd-sourced, and responsive in real-time. But we don't talk much about how to approach your own responses to the process of that adaptation, and it's a big change to make. I've seen speaker after speaker at social media sessions essentially tell the audience "Just do it! Trust me! You don't have a choice!" -- none of which makes the recalcitrant, reluctant or rigid traditionalist feel much like trying.
So let me reframe it for you: I want you to approach social media like Gumby. You know, that 1950s green claymation character with the slanty head and the pony sidekick. And before you laugh too hard about that, know that Gumby's television show has been on YouTube since 2007. The next time you (or someone else) starts resisting social media too strenuously, humor me and model your approach after Gumby, making it:
- Fun. You can't help but laugh at Gumby, and the same's true with social media. So have some fun. Before you start to earnestly sweat the details of how this will work, find out about the fun features in social media--and use them. A sense of humor goes a long way, not only in creating a deft corporate touch on social media, but in helping you adapt.
- Flexible. The ultimate Gumby trait, you need to display this in abundance--not just in trying social media in the first place, but later, when new applications pop up and replace the ones you just learned. Think of your resistance like the law: You don't need to break it...just bend it a little. Flex, stretch and wrap your arms around a new approach.
- Imperfect. Between his mishaps and his slanted head, you might want to run from the Gumby role model for your social media forays. But, if fear of making mistakes is holding you back, take a deep breath and know that virtually no one avoids them. It's how you recover and learn from those mistakes that counts. (And the social media community's pretty helpful and forgiving on that score.)