Monday, May 19, 2014

Social Media Monday—With Social Media, Nice Guys NEVER Finish Last

by Edie Melson

I spend a lot of time speaking with people about social media, and in almost every instance the same three concerns come up.

First, the person I’m talking to shares his belief that social media posts are irrelevant and inane. This statement is then followed by the infamous example of how so-and-so posts updates about trips to the powder room and/or coffee consumption.

The second is directly related to the first. I hear complaints about how social media is all about—me, me, me—and the person I’m talking with never wants to be seen like. (Newsflash, neither do I!)

The third is frequently voiced by those new to the medium. They claim they have nothing of value to share.

Today I want to address all three of these issues.

The First Concern
In answer to the first, I must confess I’ve never actually seen one of the infamous potty posts and if I did, the person posting would no longer be part of my social media circle. It’s important to remember you’re the one in charge of who’s in your network. While we all want our networks to expand, that never means we have to allow others to waste our time with irrelevant chatter.

The Second Concern
Unfortunately, the second concern does crop up. Many people have the mistaken idea that because social media can reach millions, it’s just another way of mass marketing. In reality, social media is on the opposite end of the spectrum from mass marketing. When done correctly, it’s all about one-on-one relationships. These digital relationships are formed the same way they’re formed in person—through mutual friends, work-related activities, online recreation, and by frequenting the same places.

It’s those who participate in these relationships, and don’t spend a lot of time talking about themselves, who wind up with the most adherents. That’s the beauty and the dichotomy of this medium. It’s completely counterintuitive. The more we promote someone else ahead of ourselves, the more people are interested in what we have to say.

The Third Concern
It’s this promotion of others that alleviates the third concern. These days, writers have almost unlimited access to website and blogs, as well as books. It’s impossible for anyone to keep up with everything and that’s where social media comes in. We can help each other improve our craft by sharing valuable resources.

When I began social networking, I was wary of becoming a self-promoting boor. To avoid that, I developed what I Edie’s Unbreakable 5 to 1 Rule. It’s a rule I NEVER break.

For every five social media updates—and that includes everything—I only then allow myself one update about me.

After very little time, I discovered this rule not only gained me steady growth in social media, it also gained me more mentions on the networks. While I worked at providing my followers valuable content—promoting others who were valuable to me—those others were going out of their way to promote me.

The Basics of Providing Value
Providing value to those who interact with us on the Internet isn’t difficult, but it does require some deliberation the way we approach social media. Here are the basics:
  • Promote someone else. This give you credibility. Don’t be afraid of the competition. It may seem counterintuitive, but the relationships you build with those offering similar products or services can advance both of you.
  • Don’t waste someone’s time just to get your name out there. Make certain the things you share online have value.
  • Keep it positive. Don’t ever forget that what you say online may well outlast you. Take it from someone who made that mistake—don’t say anything negative about a person, product or service—ever.
  • Don’t be a social media hog. This means allow yourself no more than a couple of updates in a row. Otherwise you’ll be hogging the stream and quickly become a nuisance.

With these tips and tricks in mind, you’ll be able to navigate this new paradigm smoothly. You’ll provide solid content while building lasting relations, and prove once and for all that nice guys don’t always finish last.

Now it’s your turn. How has social media provided value to you? Be sure to leave your comments in the section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation



  1. You're one of my favorite people to promote, Edie. You give such great advice. :)

  2. I was following someone on Twitter a while ago. All their comments were to promote their new book. It didn't take long before I unfollowed them, just like your comment on always promoting yourself. Once every 20 seconds is a bit much and there's no point in reading the same thing over and over.

  3. I agree with all three points and am happy to say I've never posted (or wanted to post) a potty update! I find humor (positive humor) works well to engage readers- I enjoy finding it and sharing it. And it keeps this whole social media thing in perspective.

  4. I was looking for articles on uses of professional social networking and I came across yours inspiring read. Thanks man!