The 5 C's of nurturing the Human Element in Social Media

Do you remember that chemically fueled commercial which states, that good ol’ Hu (as they refer to it on quick little graphic during the beautifully shot marketing video) is fundamental? Hu is the Human Element and is the main element to social media.

Yes it’s greater than Facebookadium, more essential then Twitterloride, and far more important than Wikipedialine. It’s why social media exists, it’s why it continues to grow and it’s without a doubt the most vital part of any social media plan. To help with this here are 5 C’s that will help nurture the Hu of any endeavor.

1. Create – Don’t write your replies, or anything else that your customers are going to interact with on a constant basis, like you’re writing a text book (unless it is a text book). We suffer through automatic systems that dispense generic info on a daily basis. So please, don’t add to the mess by creating something that would be more at home in a complex IVR than a social media plan.

2. Connect – This is so important and is truly why social media exists. However, it’s not just the social aspect that you need to connect on. When it comes to business you need to connect on the same level as your customers. For example, don’t sit and preach about the virtues of your product when they come looking for tech support. Also, meet them where they’re at. Don’t force them to visit your Facebook page when they hang out on a forum or message board. Meet them at their level and their location.

3. Communicate – Don’t speak above or below the level of your customers. People will leave your conversation if it’s too confusing or if they are angry because you are talking down to them. Find the voice of your company based on the audience you are connecting with. Communicate with them the same way you would like to be.

4. Care – When people bring up concerns, worries, ideas, etc don’t just brush them off. Create a way for people to give you feedback and a plan to address that feedback and show your customers you care about them and their opinions. Show them you really do care.

5. Cultivate – Once you have a relationship with a group of people or even just a single person you need to cultivate that relationship through dynamic conversation, follow up, and interaction. If you make a friend and stop calling them they soon think you don’t care. The same thing applies in social media. You can’t have brand advocates if your don’t cultivate those relationships.

These should all make sense to you, but if they don’t then spend some time on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or your favorite message board and try reaching out to someone you don’t know. See how they react when you talk to them and experience making that organic connection based on mutual likes (or dislikes) and see how people respond to genuine honest answers.

Above all else don’t forget that when you boil it all down social media is all about the Human Element. It’s a volatile, unpredictable, chaotic, and amazingly fun element and using these 5 C’s you can get the most out of it.


Thank you for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters
photo by CodeZero




  • http://lava7.com/ Jack Hadley

    Thoughtful post, Josh. Your thinking reminds me of the David Armano article in the Harvard Business Review last year called, “Debunking Social Media Myths” where he talks about “being” a social business. Gone are the days when companies simply wrote a check to their ad agency (or yellow pages rep), then sat back and watched marketing “work”. Social media marketing for business isn’t fast or easy. Tools do not make a business “social”—but your five “C’s” above will. I’ve told a number of prospective clients that unless they’re ready for the mindset shift toward BEING a social business, they shouldn’t spend their money developing the tools. The “organic connections” you speak of are the difference that make a difference. Thanks for always sharing your insights.

    • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters

      Thank you Jack, I appreciate that compliment immensely. From doing my current #TwitterSays project, I've found that a lot of businesses aren't making that shift and people are really noticing their lack of attention and care.

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