Preface to Social Media: Confront who you are to your audience

Who are you in relation to social media?

representation of engaged social media audience

The very nature of social media is that it is a social interaction and not an advertisement. So before jumping in to new media conversations on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, your own blog, or the multitude of other social media networks, take some time to know your self and know your audience.

Who are you as an individual, a business owner, or part of an overall company? Who are you to your friends and family? Writing answers in a journal and reviewing your vision and mission statement will give you clarity in your communications and purpose. To add some entertainment into the mix, watch the film Julie & Julia and have a laugh as Julie starts her journey into the blogosphere.

Why go through these steps? I believe the following quote was made by Werner Erhard, though I’ve also seen it attributed to NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip. (If you know the answer to this or have relevant personal experiences relating to this truism, please comment below.) “Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.” In this case, you are about to start talking to the world, one person at a time, and also all at once. It’s wise to take time to review these questions before jumping in the deep end.

When you are well grounded within yourself, then it’s easier to create your social media conversation. Before you start communicating, consider your audience.

Who is your social media audience?

Based on all you know about yourself, and what you want to accomplish in the world, ask yourself this question, “Who would be excited to learn about my projects, services, products?” Who would absolutely love to talk to you until two in the morning about your vision and even participate in helping you accomplish your mission? These people are the first and best examples of your perfect audience.

There are additional audiences to reach. One audience includes all the people with a hobbyist interest in what you have to offer. Others may include investors, potential partners, employees, employers and the media who may want to report on these offerings.

This may sound strange, yet another audience is your competitor. Be sure that your competitors will be following you as a friend, fan, follower or as an observer. Make a list of them. How do they compete with you? What are their strengths and weaknesses. Know them well. Actually, in the spirit of healthy competition, if you learn to appreciate them for who they are, you can free up more energy to focus on engaging the audience attracted to your unique offerings. We will speak more about reaching that audience in another blog post.

What do you want your social media audience to know about you?

When you know who your audience is, spend some time determining what you want to tell them.

Equally important, list things you don’t want your audience to know about you. I say this for two reasons. The first is that it’s easy to bare your soul in social media, to talk about your family and personal life. Later you might regret that, so set your boundaries now. You can always expand them if you feel it is prudent, but it’s impossible to move them back.

The second and more serious reason is for protection of your own personal identity and your security. We will say more about that in our next blog post.

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