What Vanilla Ice can teach us about social media …

When it comes to social media, many organisations often fall for the trap of making heroes of the people who do it more, rather do it better. We look at people on Twitter such as Ashton Kutcher who has one million followers, an achievement which is universally trumpetted by the media.

But it gives us a completely different – and in my perspective – wrong view of social media. It gets us thinking that in order to be good at social media you need to be popular. What we actually need to do is be effective.

There are some people that we can learn from in terms of our social media efforts – heroes if you will – and by taking on board some of their input so we can improve our own social media efforts.

My first social media hero  when it comes to being more effective is … Vanilla Ice.

Those of you with longer memories will cast your minds back to the 1990s and recall a very white rapper by the name of Robert Van Winkle.   Or, as he was better known while on stage wearing the parachute tracksuit pants and a steely haircut that you could have used a chisel sandstone, Vanilla Ice.

So why is he a hero to me in terms of social media? It’s not because of anything he has done the social media space… rather it is from one of the lines of his one and only hit “Ice Ice Baby.”

Many organisations I work with in terms of social media approach social media from the point of view of broadcasting. So when they sit down to put something into the social media space, the first thought is what ‘we have got to say?’

Let me answer that question with the opening lyrics from the song ‘stop, collaborate and listen.’

That to me is why he is a hero in the social media space. He has given us all the advice on how to approach social media in four words, backed by a beat and Queen’s immortal bassline from their song ‘Under Pressure’.

In social media, we need to spend more time stopping to think about what we are adding to the space, more time collaborating (perhaps with other organisations, our staff or even our audience group itself) and, perhaps most importantly, we need to listen to what our customers are telling us about their good experiences, their bad experiences – even their ideas in terms of why they’d do business with us.

When you approach social media, do you just simply talk or do you stop,  collaborate and listen? If it’s the former, you may need to take on board some advice from a 90s rapper. If it’s the latter, then you are well on the way to social media success.

Oh, and word to your mother.

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