10 Things Our Grandparents Can Teach Us About Social Media

Your grandmother hasn’t logged into her Facebook account since you set it up for her in 2009 and your grandpa thinks Twitter is a TV channel for bird watchers. What could they possibly teach you about social media? The answer… A lot. Hear me out.

We all know social media is meant to be “social”. But in our rush to scroll through our feed we forget the reason we logged on in the first place – to connect – to each other. We need interaction. It’s good for the soul and for business. And, in our efforts to be noticed we often forget to be polite, kind and gracious.

This is where your grandparents come in.

Remember when they taught you the value of being polite. The phrase, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” comes to mind. Remember how they interacted with their friends and neighbors? Recall how they interacted with the grocery store clerk, their pastor, and their business associates? They didn’t shout “Look at me, I have the most interesting, cynical, and wise remarks!” They certainly didn’t expect anything from people they hadn’t even gotten to know yet. They built relationships based on trust and mutual interests.

So, let’s take a few lessons from our grandparents and put the social graces back into our social media interactions.

10 Things We Can Learn from our Grandparents About Social Media:

1. Make A Good First Impression

What’s the first thing people see when they find you online? Your profile. Take a few minutes to review your profile images and descriptions on all your social channels. You may not have touched your profile on some channels since you set up the accounts. Update your photo and add some new information about yourself and your business. Now go a little deeper. Does your profile reflect you in a professional light? Does it reflect your brand? Check out this great article with 10 Elements of a Successful Social Media Profile for practical steps for improving your profile.

2. A Handshake And A Smile

When you meet people online, an introduction – a virtual handshake and a smile – can go a long way to establishing a relationship. Thank your new followers for taking the time to follow you. It’s the first step in becoming more than just an anonymous account. Now you “know” each other and name and profile image recognition will start to happen. Your followers will start looking for your updates because they feel a personal connection with you. All because you took a few seconds to introduce yourself. Sound too time consuming? Plan 15 minutes a day to send quick introductory messages to your new followers. Then see what happens!

3. Listen More Than You Speak

How many times a day are you posting vs. how much time are you spending reading other people’s content and interacting? If you’re pushing a lot of content, but not giving back by interacting with other people, then you may want to reconsider your approach. The way to build relationships on social media, as in life, is to listen (or watch/read in this case) and engage. Let those you follow know that they are being heard and understood. If you take the time to react to people’s content, you’re going to get noticed. You have to be a friend to get friends.

4. You’re Only As Good As Your Word

Before you hit “share” or “publish” take a few seconds to think about what you’re sending out into the world. THINK… Is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and Kind? Post with integrity and honesty, and be known as a source of helpfulness. That goes a long way to building a positive online reputation as a thought leader and influencer.

5. Never Air Your Dirty Laundry In Public

Social media is full of rants, public temper tantrums, and hurtful content. And, once you’ve vented publicly you can’t take it back. Social media has become a place for people to put a spotlight on their bad behavior. Putting the hashtag “#nofilter” after a rant has become the norm. As if the world is supposed to just accept rudeness and disrespect because we’re all just “being ourselves.” My grandma didn’t raise me that way and if grandma doesn’t approve it’s not going on social media! Keep your social image clean so you don’t have any regrets later.

6. Patience Is A Virtue

So, you have been following the above and now you’re waiting for all the followers and likes to roll in. Give it time. Social media relationships take time to develop. It’s a long-term strategy built on authenticity and mutual gain. Look for opportunities to be of service to your followers, then offer your services or help. Let it build naturally. This workbook will help you.

7. There Is Such Thing As Too Much Of A Good Thing

We all love chocolate cake but wouldn’t eat the whole thing in one sitting! Social media can be very time-consuming. It’s so easy to get lost down the rabbit hole scrolling through your Facebook feed or pinning organizational tips. Be mindful of how you’re spending your precious time. Set a limit on your daily social media consumption. You’ll feel less full but more satisfied.

8. Check In On Your Neighbors

Yes, social media is amazing at helping us reach an audience wider than we can even comprehend. However, are you relying too much on social media for your marketing? Are you forgetting to develop relationships and nurture leads using other avenues that are more personal? Sometimes you just have to pick up the phone and say, “Hey, I was just thinking about you.” In an effort to reach all of the “potential” online customers that are in our extended network, we sometimes forget those that are not online. Believe it or not, there are still people that prefer to do business the old-fashioned way – in person or over the phone. Good customer service never goes out of style with those folks so connect with them personally and treat them like gold. You’ll be richly rewarded when you do.

9. Share And Share Alike

There is no better way to say that you care about something you’ve read or watched on social media than to share it. Spread the good news so others can benefit from the information. Be generous in how you share your own talents and knowledge as well. Creativity and wisdom are infinite and grow the more they are shared. Abundant thinking leads to a life of abundance. So, if it’s good quality info that others can benefit from don’t hoard the information, hit the share button!

10. Don’t Forget To Say “Thank You”

Those 2 simple words go a long way in building relationships online. Thank your followers for the shares, likes, follows, retweets, and repins! They are doing a lot of the work for you and a simple acknowledgment and show of gratitude will set you apart from the thousands of other accounts in your niche.

So, take these life lessons with you into your social media interactions. You’ll make your grandparents proud.