If you could define #SocialMedia in ONE word, what would it be?!

I’ve asked this question of my Twitter followers for the past couple of weeks.Why?! How incredibly simple and great would it be if we could walk into meetings with the C-Suite, and when they ask us what social media is, we can just answer with ONE word. Boom.

Granted, that one word most likely lives in a world of marshmallows and rainbows, but even narrowing it down to a few specific words would help us, right?

Beyond comparison, some version of the word ‘connect’ was #1. This was closely followed by ‘networking’. While these undoubtedly define an aspect of social media, I was highly impressed by the following answers:

  • World
  • Pivotal
  • #YourVoice
  • Crucial
  • Spiders
  • Lawless
  • Innovation
  • Interaction
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Nodes
  • Flirting
  • Impossible

As a social media professional, how many different relevant emotions did you experience as you read through that list? As I saw these unique answers come through my feed, I was amazed at how many point of views there are to social media. NO WONDER we can’t explain it to the C-Suite in one word.

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What’s my word? –> Engagement. It is the number one word I use when pitching, or teaching, social media. I love this word for social media because it includes BOTH sides. We, as brands, have to engage our consumers, but our consumers also have to participate in order to be engaged. If I could boil down social media to its rawest form, it would be to occupy, attract, or involve (someone’s interest or attention) –> The definition of ‘engage’, per Google. Before lives can be changed by social influencers, or brands can raise brand awareness through social media, everyone needs to be ENGAGED. It is the ultimate foundation for social media. If you have not attracted, or involved your consumers, then there will be no further ‘social’ part to your ‘media’.
However, after taking a look at all of your words, I would have to say that my own question
is actually a TRICK QUESTION! How can you define something that is so powerful and expansive and touches so many lives?

While that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, it still leaves a blank when it comes to  convincing the C-Suite that you are necessary for your brand. There was a contest awhile back to officially define public relations, and I almost suggested that for social media. However, most public relations professionals I knew at the time completely disagreed with the winning definition.

So my advice to you? Define social media as what it means to you, and embrace the individuality of your understanding of it. Honestly, different perspectives of social media are needed for different projects. As a social influencer, of course engagement is highly important to me. Dealing with a global brand, engagement is also incredibly important to me. However, if I were working for a financial institution and could barely breathe a word on social media without the fear of getting sued, I would probably also say ‘Impossible’. The social influencer side of me would also lean towards ‘#YourVoice’. If I encountered the negative side of social media being misused, I would also probably find it to be ‘Lawless’. If I looked at all of the holes still in the understanding of the reach of social media, and experienced the smelly side of it, as well, I would probably define it as ‘Swiss Cheese’.

So what is YOUR definition?!

– Marji J. Sherman

6 thoughts on “If you could define #SocialMedia in ONE word, what would it be?!

  1. Marji so enjoyed your ideas on Social Media and describing in one word. It is a lot like describing how love feels, so many different ways of feeling love. I really like engagement as it takes two to create a spark to grow into 3, 4 then more and more. As spark alone fizzles out, but oh when it hits a viable source to ignite with watch out! Many people are like the circus act of a man blowing fire from his mouth, big flame but nothing to ignite no target to engage. In the end it is like So What! When we can engage at the WOW level with people, customers, etc. We create What Others Want, which is engage them to want more! Just a little Pasta Thought against the wall of life and ideas. I so enjoy your style. Yes I am engaged.

  2. I as wrote on twitter. I think “relationships” would one of the best words to describe social media, or at least, your goal on social media. Relationships includes identification and trust, which makes engagement much more meaningful.

  3. I agree with Sarah. It’s always about relationships. All communication is marketing. All marketing is about relationships. Whether you’re working with getting your kids to do their chores, communicating effectively in your marriage or trying to sell your product. It’s all the same energy. How can I get my message across in the best way, help the people I’m here to help, respect them like I want to be respected and make sure they feel heard too. I pay attention to this in business. I’ve been over this at many a PTO meeting too. “Why don’t people read the notices on the website,” or volunteer more, or whatever. Because you’re not putting yourself in their shoes. You’re not communicating clearly. You’re not making it easy to get to know you, or work with you, or understand you. You’re not listening. And you’re not investing in your relationship, or the relationships the entity you represent has, with that end person you’re trying to reach. Invest in that, and things work pretty well. But if your relationship skills suck, you’re not going to get far. Same goes for having a chip on your shoulder or taking things too personally. IMHO It’s not that unlike dating. All those basic beginning relationship skills. And as I’ve told my customers before, when you’re thinking about marketing and social media, think about what kind of date are you? A fake is easy to spot, make sure you’re not that.

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