This is a repost of one of my favorite social media analogies ever. I originally wrote the post in May, 2008, but it’s still very applicable today so here it is…
"All right, stop! Collaborate and listen. Ice is back with my brand new invention…"
- Vanilla Ice, from "Ice Ice Baby"
Ever think Vanilla Ice had anything to teach you? Me either…but my friend Scott Mills jokingly pointed out at lunch recently that Vanilla Ice had a few things to say about social media marketing when he said to stop, collaborate, and listen. Scott was joking. I’m not.
Vanilla’s (Mr. Ice’s??) advice is actually pretty good for social media marketers. We have to stop, collaborate, and listen if we’re going to be good social media marketers. Checking out the hook while his DJ revolves it is optional.
Stop: If you’re dabbling in social media marketing you need to stop. Do you have a plan or are you playing around with social media because it seems like the thing everybody is doing these days? Do you have measurable goals? Do you even have goals? The worst thing you can do is not stop and figure out how social media will work for you and then how best to move forward within it. If you don’t stop first you’re probably going to create a meatball sundae…and nobody wants that…so stop first. Once you stop I recommend you begin to think about a content strategy to really take full advantage of the new marketing tools.
Collaborate: In some form or fashion collaboration is at the heart of every good social media initiative. It may be the type of collaboration that involves a wiki (which Google spreadsheets even does now) or simply allowing comments, tags, trackbacks, and other forms of feedback to your social media. Collaboration is both active and attitudinal. You must convey that you actually care what other people think…and not just that you care, but allow them to participate and contribute in some form. Mitch Joel does a great job of this by allowing audio comments on his podcast, Six Pixels of Separation. Mitch actively allows people to collaborate and also has an attitude that reflects this. Collaboration is one of the biggest shifts from web 1.0 to web 2.0. It was a shift in technology that enables collaboration and it was a shift is tone and attitude toward collaboration.
Listen: Social media is as much about conversation as it is collaboration. The two go hand in hand really, but did you ever talk to someone who was more interested in talking than having true conversation? The missing piece of course was that they weren’t listening. They were just looking for an opportunity to talk. Social media marketing isn’t about one way communication or disruption tactics. That was the old way to do marketing. True conversation, like true social media marketing, doesn’t interrupt. Rather, it engages and listens. The fact of the matter is these conversations are already happening. You just have to decide whether you’re going to join the conversation or not.
So there it is…wisdom from Mr. Ice. Word to your mother.