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Social Media Narcissist or Just Out of the Loop?

Nobody Likes me. I want to be Favorited. Why won’t anyone Share my stuff? I want to be a thought leader but no one will Follow.

Companies have these struggles every day, even more than the average Joe. Most of them just want to get their content out there, but why is it so hard? Maybe you’re just not looking in the right places.

Do you Like yourself too much?

According to a popular article in the Huffington Post, “What Social Media Reveals About Narcissism,” a small study shows how exactly we use social media to feed our egos. The research, published in Computers in Human Behavior, shows that Twitter fuels younger adults’ narcissistic tendencies by acting as a megaphone for their thoughts, while Facebook fuels middle-aged adults’ narcissistic tendencies by serving as a mirror where they can curate images of themselves. 

Social Media Socialization Can Change This

I do believe many people and companies come across as self-centered on social media. That’s why so many companies’ marketing plans lack engagement and scare off success on social–because they don’t understand how it works, or they have lost sight of its intent. 

For example, I recently consulted with a company that was frustrated by the lack of comments and Likes on its many LinkedIn group posts. Its marketing coordinator told tales of social media woe. “I feel like I’m shouting from the rooftops and no one is listening.” I probed a little further into the situation and asked her questions like:

  • Have you “listened” first to various conversations in the groups?
  • Do you monitor the posts of the “top influencers” to understand why they get traction?
  • Are your posts directly relevant to the audience of particular groups?
  • Is your intent to share authentically helpful information or gain insight about a particular topic?
Her answers to all of these questions were “no.” While I don’t know this woman well, my first impression was not to brand her a social media narcissist. She’s just uninformed and needs a little social media socialization. She hasn’t had any formal training in social media or read many of the fabulous books that I have, like Born to Blog, Content Rules, and The Tao of Twitter.  She also doesn’t “listen” to thought leaders on Twitter, such as @markschaefer, @howellmarketing, @pammktgnut, @jaybaer, and @jeffbullas. 
The key is that social media is not about pushing content one-way for personal or professional gain. It should always be a conversation.

Listen First, Tweet Later

During a pre-conference workshop at Social Slam, Mark Schaefer shared that the measure of social media success shouldn’t simply be the number of “likes” you get but maybe the number of “likes” and comments you give. Sometimes you have to give before you get!  

Social media is not much different from in-person relationships. Not many of us enjoy being talked at or yammering on about ourselves endlessly.  Most of us strive for engaging conversations where there is a genuine interest between two people to learn more about each other. 

I’m sure there are some true social media narcissists out there, but my guess is that most of us just need some education about where social media fits in the overall marketing strategy. Learn more about marketing plans and strategy here. 

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