How social is social media?
It’s safe to say at least some of the people we follow on social media are people we really would like to talk to. People we believe can positivley effect our lives or business. We follow their accounts on multiple platforms, make purchases due to their suggestions, and even boast to our friends when we catch an important post before them. These people are our social contacts. We use their social feeds to learn of breaking news and to agree or disagree with their opinions on everything from Black Lives Matter to Donald Trump. Yet when do we ever get to speak to them? My friend Ryan told me it was a social acceptance among some people. “You just know you aren’t going to get a reply from a celebrity.” I asked What about non-celebs? Does a CEO position or 100k followers make you a celebrity? Maybe not replying to messages makes you a celebrity? Who knows. A few weeks ago after commenting on my brothers corny DM about a dancing baby I sent Genius CEO, Tom Lehman a message on Instagram. He’s yet to respond and this isn’t the first time. When I talked to my same friend he assured me that this was fine. “It’s socially accepted that he doesnt reply.”
Hmm? Should not getting in contact with someone be socially acceptable?
Unresponsive social contacts.
I call these social media users unresponsive social contacts. Even in high demand (with hundreds to millions of followers) unresponsive social contacts decide not to be social with the people who support/follow them. Who’s to blame? Tom? Me? Instagram? Lets’ not play the blame game. The truth however is this lack of interaction benefits neither party and is overdue for change. When does the amateur photographer with 10 followers get a response from the LA photographer with 500k followers who took awesome concert pics of Drake last night? Never? When can we get in contact with the CEO of our favorite company? Never?
“I give up.”
Is that what we are supposed to say? Are we to just give up? Is that what you would do? For any persistent entrepreneur, student, or fan, that is the wrong answer. We will continue breaking barriers and trying to speak with unresponsive social contacts until we are either successful or reported as spam.
Contacts as currency.
It’s been a long time since I gained my first follower ever. It was around 2012 and I was so interested to finally have someone who cared to read what I had to say in 140 characters. Back then I was and gaining followers gave us teens an awesome feeling of social establishment and peer recognition, not to mention whatever we said felt like a fact after about 20 likes. It took a while for my small teenage brain to understand that followers are more than just users or data. More than some sort of weird social status symbol. They are people who follow you for a specific reason. Capitalizing on that reason can be of extreme value to both parties. Once you realize that followers are people and these people are potential contacts holding value, then you can actively turn them into currency.
Money is not the only value.
When you read the word value, what comes to mind? Money? YMCA core values? The corner store Valu world? For most the answer is money and although that answer may pay the bills quickest, it is important for us to know that monetary value is not the only value we can apply to a contact. Let’s all imagine I am Sam Smith and I took some time to meet and befriend a follower from Instagram who is also a painter. Maybe after one small conversation I could now get a discount when I’m ready to re-paint my imaginary foyer. What if a fan told me about a new merch idea without requesting any royalties? See how value works now? A supporter or fan holds value to a simple conversation like the following.
“Omg I’ve been following you on social media for a while now and I must say, I’m a huge fan. I’d really like to talk to you about...”
We all hold value to certain people and conversations. For the sake of being a better communicator try holding value to every conversation you have. Cut the conversation short if you must, but try finding value.
Why hold value to conversations?
The reasons are endless, but let’s stick with these 2
- Everyone has something to offer, it’s up to you to seek out and determine the value of that offer.
- Because you don’t know everything.
*Btw (disclaimer) — Tom and Sam are probably really great people; this piece has nothing to do with their character.
Tom Lehman and Sam Smith may have a difference of 4 million + followers, but like so many other unresponsive social contacts they do have a few things in common. There is a steady rise in the demand for their attention which has not been scaled nor supplied for fans and supporters.
Also… neither of them have replied to me on social media so thats cool. :)
Whether you are an unresponsive social contact, a follower on social media, or both. Have better conversations and revisit the value of your individual contacts. So how do we contact our unresponsive social contacts?