From my upcoming book, Strategistics: Practical principles for viral success

The humanization of social media should be upon us, but yet, too often the approach of many gurus and consultants is to go immediately for the tactics of social media and not the heart of it.

We can always get to the tactics, but why do we not always seek to go for the heart? I think if we can take the heart by humanizing social media, we have a much better chance of conquering the use of social media in the long term… and not just the short term.

As I have had the distinct privilege to travel the world and speak on social media, I get a chance to hear a lot of reasons why not use social media. What is interesting is that really, for the most part, the reasons not to use social media are quite frankly internationally in sync.

This is why that when I speak in radio interviews, conferences, or in my day long workshops that my approach is to put the humanizing of social media before the tactics of social media.

When you seek to humanize social media to others, it has the power to awaken something the audience had no idea existed. If I can awaken that, then the rest will follow. And not just follow, but continue on sustainably as well. What this does is push buttons the audience did not expect to be pushed in that setting or on this topic.

In one recent presentation, I was blown away at the response as I surveyed the audience and saw that not a dry eye was in the room.

In this, we must distinguish between the power of the how versus the power of the why.

Certainly, none of it matters if you don’t know what to do with it. But, without a why, why bother? Otherwise, you simply will become noise.

Recently, I traveled to Surabaya, Indonesia to take part in a global conference. While there, I also had the distinct pleasure to keynote the banquet for this conference. To give you an idea of the attendees, most of them were active in disaster response and preparedness as well as sustainable development in key regions around the world.

With my keynote, which was on the power of social media, my objective was simple… humanize it.

I did this by telling real stories of real people in real situations impacted by the use of social media. There was no strategy in those stories or tactics offered… just heartbeats. In this, we then tell the story, without telling the story.

It is my belief that if we fail to humanize social media, we fail to set sail to something that is sustainable. What this looks like is a deep down understanding and belief as to both the power of it as well as the why of it.

This is why my approach will always seek to weave into the presentation the humanization of social media before discussing the tactics of social media.

The “Why” then becomes the infrastructure that is built to last. Tactics then become the application. Reversing the role of the infrastructure and application is never a good thing, unless you plan to build not to last.

Too many people crash and burn too early on their quest to conquer social media for their cause, brand, message, or product. Certainly this can come from not understanding the tactics of it, but I would suggest that primarily it comes from not having a why for it.

To get to the why we must humanize social media. We must make it real. We must share stories of lives changed, impacted, and in many cases… saved. We must not allow the frozen perception that people using social media are not real people to persist any longer.

The humanization of social media should be upon us, if we let it. Once we get this down, we can move on to tactics, I promise.