Description: I’d be thrilled to see your comments/suggestions for my new book: Social Media Changes Everything (for Business). Read on and reply…

Chapter 5: Social Media Personality…

One of the most popular videos of all time on YouTube is called “Evolution of Dance” (on, search for that term). It was created by an unknown “inspirational comedian” named Judson Laipply and has been viewed more than 125,000,000 times. Devoting six minutes of your time to watch it will almost certainly be an enjoyable investment. You’ll probably want to share it with others. And that’s how it goes…

As you prepare to engage in social media of any form, understand that Judson and his ilk are your competitors for mindshare. Knowing that, keep in mind the old radio broadcaster’s adage: “PIE”.

That’s an acronym to remind you to display some Personality, and to keep your content Interesting and Entertaining for your target audience.  Of course, what constitutes PIE will vary wildly depending on your medium and your audience. What’s interesting to the airline industry following the development of Boeing’s new Dreamliner on Randy’s Journal is quite different than what will attract your followers unless you work for Airbus.

Another attribute that’s very, very, very important in social media is Authenticity. Never before has a medium or its participants made it their purpose in life that posers be exposed. Social media is about people connecting with people. Don’t have somebody ghost write for you; it would be better to not participate. Do not risk becoming an exposed poser.

“PIE + Authenticity.” Write it on the back of your hands to remind you as you type.

When participating in social media and social networking for business (and personally too), I recommend avoiding negativity. Sure, you’ll see plenty of it out there due to the relative anonymity of the Internet (more so in blog responses and product reviews; less so in identity-oriented communities like Facebook). Which is not to say that you can’t argue your point of view; have at it. But rather than directly attacking a competitor, for example, emphasize your company’s or product’s strengths. And never personally attack anybody. The higher your station, the more likely this is to backfire and to propagate widely. Take the high road even with the detractors.

Yes, there will be detractors. To slightly twist Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote about fooling some of the people some of the time, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Social media is a conversation and conversations are messy.

BIG IDEA #3: It’s no longer possible to control the conversation

If the idea of participating in social media and sharing control of your message, your brand, your image, and your company’s reputation terrifies you, consider this: In a world of pervasive social media, the conversation is already happening (remember the earlier Avis and United Airlines examples?). Choosing not to listen will give you the illusion of control, but it’s no more than that; an illusion. The bottom line is that the conversation is already happening and it will be better if you participate openly and authentically even though it won’t be as perfect as a carefully crafted product brochure.

One final point: With so many choices in social media, it is the focused and concise content that is the most compelling. You should certainly keep personal and business exploits separate, keep your audience and their interests top of mind, and don’t stray too far a field. Consider having multiple blogs for different product lines and separate business and personal accounts. No, “consider” is not strong enough a word. How about “mandatory”? That said, even in business, remember that social media is about connecting with people.

To learn more about Dave Nelsen and Dialog Group’s consulting services, visit