Social media gives you great insights into the people you communicate with–if you are paying attention.
It’s true that social media can drive you crazy. There’s just so much of it—if social media is part of your job, it can feel like you’re on the clock all the time. When business leaders tell me they don’t want to bother with social media, that they don’t have time, I totally get it.
Controlling your newsfeed helps with the time management end of things. We’ve talked about that in other posts, but this article isn’t about the feed. It’s about why you should be on social media in the first place—even if it’s not really your thing.
This post is about paying attention.
I am blown away by how many business leaders know basically nothing about their clients, their employees, or us. Not that we expect them to know about us, particularly, but the point is it’s beyond easy to learn about anyone who is active on social media.
Take this basic example: one look at my Twitter profile and you will see I live in Charlotte, I’m from Buffalo, I went to the College of Charleston, and I am a fan of Buffalo sports and the Ohio State Buckeyes. So how do you explain the entrepreneur I talked to the other day who was so proud of how much they thought they knew about their vendors, their clients, their people—and thought I was from Chicago?
It’s not just about funny little gaffes, either. What about the salesperson who, while chatting with a prospect, casually starts going on and on about how much they hate all those people from up North who have been moving here to Charlotte lately—one minute on LinkedIn would have told him that prospect was from Boston and just moved here last year.
I’m not talking about snooping into people’s personal lives, I’m talking about taking the time to look at the information people put out there because they want others to know—basic stuff. That’s how you show that you care about who you’re working with. It’s also how you find out how to connect. Like that new employee you just hired. Every picture they have of themselves on Instagram is at a coffee shop—you think maybe they love coffee? You think maybe you should offer to take them out for a cup next time you want to chat?
Now social media might not be your thing. Maybe you don’t enjoy it. Maybe you don’t want to use it to stay in touch with your friends and family. I get it. But those people you communicate with may be on social media and you might want to pay attention—you could learn a lot about a person that way without even going into the feed.
I can tell you how to make good use of the feed, too, but that’s a story for another day.