How Will You Speak on Social Media?

In our previous post, Who Will Speak for You on Social Media?, we talked about talking, and who in your enterprise will speak on social media. In this post, we talk about how to actually communicate on social media.

AttributionShare AlikeSome rights reserved by believekevin

How to Do It

To the First Rule, Be a Person that we added in the post, Think About Your Approach to Social Media: Be A Person, we add a few others, most of which are actually just variations of the First Rule:

  • Be authentic
  • Be transparent
  • Be consistent
  • Be patient
  • Be careful

This last one requires a little explanation. The use of any powerful communication tool such as social com­puting carries with it certain risks. As Spider-Man says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” When we say to get your staff involved, we don’t mean encourage them to engage without rules of engagement.

To this section, we add just two anecdotes:

  • A judge was reprimanded after friending a lawyer in a case, and engaged in ex parte communications about the case
  • A schoolteacher faced being fired after posting derogatory comments about her students on Facebook

If you deal in an area with regulations, ensure that all social media participants understand the limits on what they say and how.

You’ll for sure want to craft an acceptable use policy governing your enterprise’s use of social media. We talk more about this in the section Create Your Policies on page 408.

Online, Think Four C’s

You’ll find a lot of Four C’s on the Web. Most have a few of the C’s in common:

  • Content
  • Conversation
  • Community
  • Connection
  • Collaboration
  • Communication

But there are lots of other C’s out there:

  • Conversion
  • Consistency
  • Character
  • Co-creation
  • Collective Intelligence
  • Commenting
  • Context
  • Creativity
  • Campaigning
  • Caring
  • Change
  • Collective Action
  • Collective Consciousness
  • Commerce
  • Commitment
  • Competitors
  • Complaints
  • Compliments
  • Constant Adaptation
  • Consultation
  • Consumers
  • Continuity
  • Contribution
  • Contributors
  • Cooperation
  • Count
  • Creators
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Cumulative Value
  • Curators
  • Customer support
  • Customers

All of these C’s are important to the use of social media. For some reason, social networking pundits are drawn to the letter. Some have proposed Five C’s, and we even found one over-achiever promoting Seven C’s![1] And the guy doesn’t even appear to be a sailor.   ???

But snarkiness aside, there’s a long history of coming up with a set of alliterative words to describe market­ing and media concepts. You may be familiar, for example, with the Four P’s of Marketing, introduced by Neil H. Borden in his seminal 1964 article, Concept of the Marketing Mix:[2]

  • Product
  • Price
  • Placement
  • Promotion

Internet marketing company Eyeflow came up with a way to add Five C’s to these Four P’s via a Fifth P in the diagram[3] on the next page.

Figure 11 — The 5 P’s of Marketing, After Adding Participation

5 Ps of marketing

We’d put the participation between product and place, where a community may have more of an impact. It seems unlikely that a community could change price or promotion, although they could affect the product design and its distribution.

Despite the profusion of C’s and P’s out there, we kind of like the alliterative list approach, although our favorite Four C’s are:

  • Content — Yes, social media is all about content, and pretty much all of the Four C’s include this one
  • Context— This is not one of the more popular C’s in our survey, but we feel it is essential. The Web is awash in Content. Making sense of it requires Context, and we feel that’s what social media does.
  • Connection — This is one of the most powerful drivers of human civilization — the need to connect with others. We’re all connected to something larger than ourselves, and social media is very good at fostering Connection, primarily through our final C, Community.
  • Community — We stated earlier in the section  Engage Your Community on page 113 that community is one of the hardest things to create online, yet, paradoxically, social media allows communities to spontaneously form in the blink of an eye

In the posts that follow, we examine each of our Four C’s in turn.

How Will You Speak on Social Media? is the 53rd in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 180. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?, Social Sites Defined, Why Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1

Next up: Creating Social Media Content

[1] 7 Cs of Social Media for Participation:

[2] Borden’s Concept of the Marketing Mix:

[3] Eyeflow’s The 5 C’s and The Marketing Mix in the Social Media