We’re not off to see the Wizard, but the movie is pretty relevant to business today. You see, Dorothy’s home city of Kansas was deep in the Great Depression, where folks were struggling to make ends meet, and although they wanted something better, the landscape was changing so rapidly that it was unsettling.
Today we’re slap bang in the middle of the worst recession in living memory, and the business landscape is continuing to change rapidly, thanks in great part to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It may seem daunting to begin your journey on that yellow brick road of Social Media Marketing, but with Dorothy’s help you’ll get there.
Beginning the Journey
When she lands in Oz, Dorothy’s wary of just about everything. The place is unfamiliar, she feels stuck, and hears a lot of chatter. If you’re new to Social Media it might it might, at first, seem unfamiliar, you may be stuck, and there will definitely be lot of chatter.
It’s clear from her startled encounter with the talking Scarecrow that Dorothy’s trying to apply the rules of the real world to this new world. The problem is that they don’t fit, and that’s the same with Social Media. It’s a new landscape and it requires a different mindset. Think “We” rather than “Me”, because it’s about the people you meet along the journey, and the information you share and learn.
Adopting a Change of Approach
Dorothy’s taken aback at the talking Scarecrow, but when she listens to him she realises she can help. So, she stops focusing on herself, and shares her knowledge with him, inviting him along on her journey, in the hope that the Wizard can give him a brain. She does it for no other reason than to help him.
The next encounter isn’t nearly as startling for Dorothy because the landscape’s becoming more familiar, and she has the Scarecrow as her companion. When they both hear that the Tin Man wants a heart, they invite him to join them on their journey. Again, no hidden agenda; just a willingness to share knowledge and experience.
The final companion is the cowardly lion, and this time we see Dorothy act with confidence. She insists that he comes along with them and shares her knowledge of how the Wizard can help.
Just as Dorothy had to change, you’ll need to change your mindset and daily habits, but soon you’ll feel comfortable using Social Media, and it’ll become quite a natural process.
How not to do it
Some people think that all you need to do with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is gather Followers, get lots of Likes and make Connections. But it’s not that simple: you don’t want to turn into some megalomaniac, like the Wicked Witch. She had plenty of Followers, but they weren’t loyal followers. They were Following her out of fear and as soon as she melted, they rejoiced because they were free. That’s not what I want for you. Just like poor winged monkeys, people don’t respond well to being blasted with egotistical statements or meaningless information. Make it interesting, make it entertaining, make it relevant. Don’t gain a Following as a means of gaining power. Do it to gain respect, and post useful information.
The Benefits of the Social Approach
Without her companions Dorothy would’ve struggled to fight off the Wicked Witch of the West. Likewise the collaborative nature of Social Media fosters people working together to achieve success. This is especially important if you’re a one-man or one-woman band. Even if your network is virtual it still makes you feel like you’re not alone. You can throw around ideas, learn from other people, and just make friends. Dorothy didn’t think of what she could get out of her companions when she met them: she offered support to them and they gave it back without question.
Don’t make claims you can’t substantiate
As we all know The Wizard was all smoke and mirrors. An old man behind a curtain, pulling levers, but when Toto exposes him for the fraud he is, he actually comes good and helps Dorothy. If you use Social Media to make unfounded claims or promises that you can’t keep you will be exposed as a fraud. But, if you offer people useful information you’ll be rewarded.
You have to be creative when using social media, to get the attention. If you’re a big fish in a little pond right now, welcome to the ocean. But don’t be put off by the vast landscape in front of you. Embrace it, just like Dorothy did and you’ll find that there’s no place like your Social Media Home.
Finally let’s put this Social Media Landscape into perspective. Dorothy had 4 companions and look how much she helped them and they helped her. Social Media offers us slightly more scope than 4 connections, but just how big is the landscape? Well, there are:
- 75 million people on Twitter
- 80 million people on LinkedIn
- And a staggering 500 million on Facebook
All of them work in different ways, but with common goals – connecting people and sharing information. Use your brain, your heart and your courage, and follow, follow, follow, follow, follow that yellow brick road of Social Media.