6 Secrets That Will Bring Focus To Your Social Media

by Chris Giovagnoni on Jul 19, 2011
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guidepost on a green field, blue sky It was good fortune that got me into social media three and a half years ago. I was in the right meeting at the right time and I raised my hand to say,
“I’ll do it.”

I launched and now manage the Compassion International blog and am a student of social media relying heavily on several of the blogs nominated for the Social Fresh Top Corporate Blog awards.

When Compassion came in third in the awards, the only non-tech company represented and one of two non-profits represented among the 29 finalists, it was tremendous validation.

Now I’m sharing the six points which serve as social media gospel for me each day as I run all of Compassion’s social media efforts.

1. Don’t Worry About the Other Guys

Obviously you need to be aware of what your competition is doing with social media but no more so than what any other company is doing. If your focus is on the competition, or anywhere other than your audience, you’re out of focus. Don’t let your competitors dictate what you should be doing and how.

2. Give ‘em What They Want

Your job is not about you and your opinions and preferences. And it’s not about your company. Obviously, you must balance out your company’s PR and marketing machine. But the audience is what should be top of mind. I run all my publishing decisions through this simple filter.

  • Who benefits when I share this information?
  • How does this add value to my audience?

In most cases, if I can’t find the value for my audience I don’t publish it. As far as giving the people what they want, keep in mind the people reading your blog, following you on Twitter, liking you on Facebook, etc. don’t necessarily want the same thing from you, which leads to …

3. Get Some Old School Social Skills

The notion, outside of social media circles, that anyone can do this job, “It’s Facebook for goodness sake,” is wrong. Success is not a matter of being able to figure out how to create a Facebook page or of being brilliant with digital tools in general. Success doesn’t just come to the great writers able to deftly turn a phrase. Success requires good judgment. And to exercise good judgment you need these old school social tools:

  • Tact, to handle difficult and delicate situations
  • Discernment, to recognize the unasked question or to get to the question behind the question
  • Intuition, to immediately recognize an opportunity without having to smother it in thought
  • Astuteness, to turn situations to your advantage
  • Ingenuity, to make the most of your resources

4. Don’t Sell the Wine Before Its Time

There are times to act and times to be patient. Knowing when to push your leadership or other business areas to accept an idea, adopt a course of action or use a tool is highly valuable.

5. Get Comfortable With Missed Opportunities

There is only so much time, money, staffing support and capacity that you have. Establish your priorities and then be flexible with them.

6. Declare Your Independence

Don’t let the job consume you. Work hard. Indulge your passion. But make sure you have balance in your life. It’ll add depth and perspective to what you have to say, which will allow you to zig when others zag and will keep your social fresh.


What guides your use of social media each day?

Post Author

Chris is the Sponsor Engagement and Social Media Program Manager at Compassion International, a Christian non-profit focusing on holistic child development....

  • Chris! Love the don’t sell before it’s time thing. So true. Simple, but too often people try sales when you’re hanging by a thread. 

    Ya know, I really align with your point on old school social rules. That is the bottom line! It’s good real life communication translated to the online world. It’s such a critical part of successful social business anything. Solid post man. 

  • Thanks Ryan.

    I think all of these are simple in concept but hard to actually do, at least that’s been my experience. I’ve wrestled with most of these six things quite a bit over the years.

  • Chris, some serious gospel here, and I appreciate the general sentiment of being as thoughtful as you can as you manage your networks. I especially take your second point to heart, to step back and really ask yourself what the value of your current post is and it is aimed toward. I think this idea plays well with your third point on old school social skills. We are very near a point, but not quite there I think, where the technological aspect of social media, even the idea of it being on the internet, becomes more of a minor context for it than its central premise. When we talk about social media integration, I think we mean simply having a Facebook page, or having widgets, or whatever, when really it should mean our skill at relationships as they happen in the faster paced and media-abundant world of the internet. The integration is about that skill, not the technology that allows it. 

  • I agree, Chris. It’s always simple to talk about it, executing then becomes the game. 

  • Exactly. We often get hung up on the tools and forget that it’s not the tools we should be concerned about but why we wanted to use the tool in the first place. I just started reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, The Thank You Economy, and he mentions that when you spend money on social media, you’re not actually investing in a platform, as you may think, you’re actually investing in a culture that you’re bringing to your organization.

  • This is from Chris Brogan’s blog today. It’s relevant to my first point.

    “Competition is “real” to most people. They worry that I (or you, or Google, or the other plumber) will steal their customers away . . . Competition, to most people, is about fears of an outside source affecting their plans and intentions.

    “To me, competition is to remember to stay focused on my community and my buyers (not always the same people, by the way) . . . My competition is with struggling when I’m not succeeding, and finding the belief within myself that I’m going to succeed, if I can keep my community first and foremost in my mind when working on things, instead of worrying about myself.”


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  • Hi g9ine,
    I totally agree with your comment,”if I can’t find the value for my audience I don’t publish it.” I will not suggest, what I will not buy…. for myself.

  • Don’t worry about the other guys.

    “I don’t care what anybody does in the beverage industry. I really don’t. They’re going to do what they’re going to do. We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. You have to know what they’re doing, but you don’t have to follow what they’re doing.” 

    – Peter Van Stolk, Founder of Jones Soda

  • Anthony Coppedge

    At the risk of being presumptuous, I’d add a 7th: work on measuring, qualifying and quantifying engagement as it relates to your goals for social media. Likes are good, comments are better and shares are great, yet what impact we’re having (that we can know – scientifically or anecdotally) and how we define success are vital.