Identifying and empowering social media naturals within an organisation is often more straightforward than you might think.
Some time ago, I started referring to ‘social media naturals’. Here’s how I define them:
A social media natural is someone for whom it comes naturally to communicate via social networks.
Now, social media naturals are not to be confused with influencers1. Sure, most online influencers are also social media naturals — but not all of them. Some are influential online not because of their capability for social communication, but for their general charisma or fame.
A social media natural doesn’t really need to have a massive social following; they use social networks not as a vehicle to elevate their personal brand or to gain business; they use social media to communicate their passion. And some passions may so niched that it simply doesn’t warrant a massive following.
Why does social media come natural for some people?
Having done my fair share of media trainings, I’ve learnt that most people have their preferred means of communication. Some people are just stellar on a big stage in front of a lot of other people. Some people are the most comfortable in smaller groups as networkers. Some people can get anything to happen by just picking up the phone. Some people are at their best in one-to-one conversation.
Some people just finds it easy to communicate via social media; some via short tweets and others via long-form blog posts. Other prefers to take pictures and others to post videos of themselves. In many ways, social media has opened up a whole new array of human communication forms, thus increasing the chances for each and everyone of us to find a particular style of communication that suits our individual personality.
Why social media naturals are shaping public opinion
Hiring a social media influencer to execute the digital strategy for a business can truly be a hit-or-miss enterprise. I’ve seen this several times from a close-up perspective. Influencers tend to care mostly about their own brands; for them, it’s always about how to position themselves in the market place. A niched social media natural, however, can find an organisation with matching passions.
Identifying social media naturals within an organisation is often more straightforward than one might think. This is because they simply can’t stop themselves from constantly interacting on social media within the topic of their interest. Many organisations have experts who are already using social media to discuss and connect, but no-one might have thought of inviting them to contribute professionally to the organisation’s social media strategy.
A framework for empowering social media naturals
When looking for a community manager, I always investigate their personal social media presence. I’d look not for massive followings, but for ease of use, for passion, and for willingness to experiment. I’d look specifically for someone who doesn’t have any problems whatsoever in finding the right tonality for various social media situations.
Once within the organisation, I’d suggest creating a framework well suited for social media naturals: