Focus on the Trade Not the Tool

construction worker

For those of you who don’t know, I am slightly addicted to Twitter.  I recently began following Lindsay Manfredi, a rising star on the Indianapolis blogging scene.  Today she shared a rather interesting article she wrote stating her grievances of all the “rules” of social media.  Her post got me thinking about the current state of social media and how people obsess about it in silly ways.  Everything from the self proclaimed social media gurus to the Twitter/Facebook workshops often seem contrived.

It’s really just comes from a loss of perspective.  If social media is what they say it is, a tool for communicating with customers,  then it’s clear to me that these gurus aren’t really practicing what they preach.  We spend too much time focusing on the tools of our trade instead of the trade itself.  If social media is merely a tool for marketing or communications, why do we place such a high emphasis on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, or Foursquare?  I think that a better, simpler “plan” for approaching communications or marketing is to find something, whatever it may be (the details are not important), and use it to sell products.

We complain about our congress spending half a day debating a minute detail in a bill, yet we spend hours blogging about how to use Twitter effectively!  It’s time we the people of social media stop worrying about what tools we’re using and start focusing on the overall goals of marketing and communications.  I know this can be difficult, but it begins with recalibrating our perspectives.  Don’t ask yourself, “How can I tweet better?,” but instead ask, “How can I connect with this potential customer as if they were in the same room as?” or  “How can I help this person as if they just walked into my store for the first time?”  Try it out and let me know how it goes, I have a hunch that it will help.

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