I went to a Sade concert here in Austin last week and it was amazing. I have been a fan of hers for a long time and am always floored by the sultry, sexy quality of her voice. This time, though, I also noticed real life examples of great social media attitude that I maybe didn’t connect with many years ago. I get a lot of my inspiration for posts from my day to day life experiences, so I figured I’d take the opportunity to talk about the intersection of real life and virtual social today.
Real Life Example of Great Social Media Attitude #1 – Quality Over Quantity
At several points during the concert, there was little on the stage except Sade and a microphone in a stand. Yes, that beautifully exotic woman with that amazing quality voice and a microphone. Even when her band and back up singers were on stage, the visual effect was minimal and uncluttered. The instruments all dropped below the stage between sets to change it up a bit and the interactive video stage backdrop was tastefully supplemented with video screens on each side.
Instead of the side video screens simply capturing the performance documentary style, movements were choreographed, performers’ costumes were styled, and camera angles were orchestrated to appear as a fully produced music video being created as we witnessed it. Sade sang the best of the best of her songs and although there was dancing and some lighting special effects, those extra things never got in the way of the great sound. She left space in the experience for you to truly absorb and appreciate the music.
How to do this in your virtual world: Make sure what you say is on purpose and on point. Do everything you can to amplify and feature your core message. Focus on what you do best. Edit, edit, edit as much as you can. There is a fine line between adding sparkle and distracting with fluff. Know where that line is for you (and your audience) and respect it.
Real Life Example of Great Social Media Attitude #2 – Customized Experience
Like every music performer, the requisite “Hello, Town X that I am in tonight!” kicked off the show. But, Sade did it just a little bit differently. She related back little memories of her actual last concert in Austin nearly a decade before, making references to things she did then that clearly many in the audience, based on their reaction, remembered. She referenced the cultural things that were going on at that time to validate those memories as to time and place.
Later in the show, as part of the ambiance backdrop for her mega hit Smooth Operator, a marquee in lights dropped down and it read “Sade Live Tonight in Austin.” Obviously she changes that with every show for every city but the point is, she does it. She took the time to customize the experience in subtle ways throughout the entire performance. Serious points for her. It was like she was singing just for us in that unique time and place.
How to do this in your virtual world: Become distinctly aware of how your audience self identifies. Don’t rely on broad sweeping assumptions, caricatures or stereotypes as shortcuts to building fan rapport. Demonstrating engagement, connection, and sincere respect is not a superficial or frivolous endeavor. Customize your interactions when and where you can. People will notice and appreciate the gestures, no matter how small.
Real Life Example of Great Social Media Attitude #3 – Gratitude and Sharing
John Legend, a performer worthy of being a headline in his own right, opened the show for Sade. And, he opened the show with a version of Adele’s hit Rolling in the Deep. Adele is one of the next headliners coming soon to the same concert hall. Many in the audience probably already had their tickets and felt a personal affinity and increased musical validation from this move. Nice nod, right? Points to Sade for sharing the stage with someone who personifies the same world class social skills as herself.
Finally, for me, the piece de resistance was the way Sade introduced her band. At the end of the show, the stage was cleared of gear (by it dropping seamlessly and practically unnoticed under the stage) and the performers all came out on stage to stand in a line with her. No one’s personal worth was tied to the idea that they were just a hired gun whose value came from playing the guitar or the drums. No. They were simply standing on stage, unadorned as people, first and foremost. One by one, she held their hand while offering a sensitive, emotional, heart-felt and affectionately effusive soliloquy about the personal greatness of each person. She then gave their name and bowed down on one knee to thank them. When she was done with all 7 members of her band, they moved forward in a side by side line together and she quietly said “This is us.” Wow, Wow, WOW!
How to do this in your virtual world: Can you even imagine what your employees and/or clients would do if you introduced and thanked them the way Sade introduced her band? I’m thinking you’d have to carry around tissues and an extra credit card processor because you’d be touching hearts and increasing sales faster than you could manage.
For all we talk about branding, SEO, headlines, timing of message, and thought leadership, truth is that Love is what sells. When your fans and clients and neighbors and employees love you, there is nothing you can’t accomplish. Say thank you, recognize others, share the stage with people as great as you are, and reap the rewards. Fully integrating gratitude and sharing into your social is crucial. Seriously, this stuff works!
Social IS Real Life
In my world, you can’t be good at virtual social until you embody the social ethos in real life. Sade brought that with grace and power. Yes, I am biased. Yes, it is quite likely that my personal bias adorned the actual intent that was in Sade’s mind. I probably have given her credit for doing things on purpose that she did by accident or without regard. But that’s how this whole social thing works.That’s what all of us can’t help but do.
Every person engages their preconceptions of every sort, mixes it with their experience and emotions, and ends up making a decision about what they think of you. With practice, awareness, and compassionate forethought, you can better increase the odds that the final view they hold of you is in alignment with the real you. Those moments are golden – go make some of your own, ok?
Vicki @Smartwoman Flaugher