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As a social entrepreneur in the BeNeLux my focus lies on a holistic approach for helping companies mature their social media exploits, externally and/or internally. Rogier is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 45 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

What 2 puppies taught me about social media

04.02.2013
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Absolutely nothing, they’re puppies. Other than using social to tell people about them, they have no sense of my social networks.

But.., because the “what did [whatever] taught me about social media” is so often used (and the puppies demand so much time), I started to look for parallels. And quelle surprise.., there seem to be plenty.

What 2 puppies thought me about social media

Be Prepared

For starters, prepare yourself as much as possible. These little tyrants will run havoc on everything if you’re not prepared for them. And I do mean everything. We had to modify the living room to make it puppy proof. Bought leashes, food, toys, made a place for them to sleep, build a pen outside for them to play in and read up on how to train a puppy.
And you know what.., we’re still a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing. But, we adapt, we change our behaviour, we learn. It’s as much about their upbringing as it is about ours.

In social you need to know and understand what you get yourself in to.

Set Goals

Oh, another thing.., have a plan, a goal. Know where you want end up, what your targets are. We want to be able to take them out walking in the woods. Good for us, good for them.
This means they have to be trained to be able to walk with us for a long period of time. This calls for a lot of maturity and discipline.
Two things that look impossible at the moment. But with enough patience, care and love we will all grow into our roles and add to the pack.

In social you need goals in order to have a strategy and a ROI.

Be Ready for Crisis

Ah.., and yes.., be prepared for crisis. One inevitability is cleaning up the “accidents”. Eventually we’ll reach a point where routine prevents the bulk of things that can go wrong. Until then, we train and deal with the challenges.

In social you need to be able to handle a crisis in order to protect your reputation.

Spend Money

And lastly, now that I think about it.., spend some money. Good food might be a bit more expensive, but the benefits are there too. Same goes for toys. Buying cheap might, or probably will, backfire.

In social you need to monitor and advertise (i.e. invest). Social media is NOT free.

Commitment

Boy, once you start seeing parallels they keep popping up. Being committed to the program is mighty important, it’s the only way to see it through to the end. We could not, in good concious, send these little beasts back to a shelter. We chose to walk this path, now we are committed to stay on it.

In social you need a long term commitment. Social media is NOT about quick wins.

Customize

Just one more then… I already wrote about social being a custom business, but it does make sense when you take the puppies into account. They’re from the same litter, brother and sister (Luke and Leia are their names, cute huh?). But they respond differently to many things in different circumstances.
Sure, there are similarities and in general the same rules apply as far as their upbringing goes. But.., they do have their own characters and need to be treated accordingly.

In social, no business and no customer is equal, treat them accordingly.

Why is that?

OK.., so yes.., once you start looking for parallels and metaphors is not that difficult to see them. But now I start wondering why that is.

And I even came up with an answer.

“Social”, the magic word. The keystone, the crux.., the answer to life, the universe and everything.

Being social in any situation asks for a few basic skills. Skills we need to survive in society, skills we need in order to function normally and acceptably in society.
All these skills are transferable to our modern on-line life too.., and therefore we can relate a tremendous amount of situations from our off-line world to our on-line world.

Do you agree?

Published at DZone with permission of Rogier Noort, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)