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Social is a Gift, You Can’t Force It!

By nature, I talk… a lot. It happened when I fell into my stride during my days in the Navy. Before that, I was very shy, I remember practically vomiting on the shoes of the very first girl I ever asked to homecoming. (It didn’t help that she said, “No!”) Highlighting these moments is important because social media takes someone who can adapt on the fly, they need to be naturally social.

I may have almost vomited, but in the Navy I learned to have confidence in unfamiliar situations, Additionally, I found out that I was capable of being surrounded by strangers, but still able to have a conversation with them regardless of background or persona. I can attribute my Navy days to helping me understand how big of a blessing it is to be able to chat with anyone. However, this gift isn’t for everyone. Introverts are known for assessing situations and reacting after they’ve made a calculated decision. Extroverts, we move fast. According to Psychology Today:

  • Introverts conserve energy, extroverts seize the day.
  • Introverts err on the side of caution, extroverts take risks.
  • Introverts focus, extroverts explore.

But the world wouldn’t survive without both. Both help us all flourish. This is true in marketing today.

In the world of marketing, social media has become the it tool. Ran side by side with content marketing and customer service, this tool is engaging, conversational, and extremely neighborly. You can learn much about people worlds apart. But, if you are inherently an introvert, this atmosphere might make you feel like you’re on an island… alone. Issues arise:

  • People say what online?
  • People actually engage with each other over similar topics in forums?
  • I’m not saying that on Twitter.
  • I will never post that on Facebook.
Saying this doesn’t make said person wrong, it’s just their persona. However, are these the right people for businesses to have wielding the tools of socialness? I wouldn’t say so. I’m not saying you have to be super social, as I clearly am (to the point that it may be frowned upon by most) however, you should be able to carry a conversation, and not just in a room.
Extrovert and…
They say that I talk a bunch
Well that’s how Oprah made it
– Hoodie Allen

Extroverts and social media make sense because you are trying to make conversation and participate in conversation in digital forums… or twitter… or blogging. But if the person has an issue with this type of stuff (there are many who do) it creates a problem. If the person has never experienced these conversational tools, how could they feasibly manage a business community online? However, they get put in these positions where they aren’t best suited. Which brings me to my next point.

Extroverts and… Their Lack of Social.
It’s like employing an accountant that filed bankruptcy… for the fifth time. I wouldn’t hire a wedding planner that hasn’t planned a wedding. So why do we put people in motion to use tools they are unfamiliar with? I am not suggesting their Twitter needs 1000 followers, I don’t even have that many. (This isn’t a numbers game – it’s about quality and actual effect. Such as the person who has 500 followers but creates more inbound traffic than the person with 100,000 followers.) What I have done is built a small, quality, awesome community around me. I show that I can use the tools I use in a professional world. Bakers understand their tools before they become bakers. They don’t wake up one day and become a master at the art of baking without ever using the tools. Yet, I see people employed in the aspect of social media but their presence is a ghost town, which sends up red flags. You work in social media, but you have never fired off a tweet? Yep, that makes sense.

My point is that there are people who fit in positions. There are others who work well in other positions. But what you shouldn’t do is try to fill the square hole with the circle, because in the end, even if you smash it in their, something is going to be broken. Hire wisely, and make sure the person you hire can actually talk the talk.

Danny Schotthoefer is the digital strategist/community manager at an advertising agency in Bozeman, Montana. He is also a TEDx event organizer and an avid Oregon Ducks and Portland Trailblazers fan. You can also find him running via Nike+ and cycling via Strava – he is highly social. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn. Forewarning: He Talks A LOT!

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