5 Key Takeaways from Sree Sreenivasan’s Visit to Seattle

Sree Sreenivasan speaking at the University of Washington on March 18, 2013.

If you missed Sree Sreenivasan talk about social media at the University of Washington on Monday, then you missed a rare treat – his last visit to the area was more than 10 years ago – and some absolutely fantastic social media insights. Don’t worry, though. Curator was there to represent, and we’ve put together a handful of key takeaways from the event.

The focus of his talk was on how people can build and maintain a good social media presence, and while he primarily framed this around individual journalists, there was plenty advice that applied universally to communications professionals and brands.

 Here are five points you can take back to your newsroom/agency/marketing division today and get some use out of:

 1. “A.B.C.: Always Be Collecting.”

If you have your own social media presence and/or manage a brand, you should always be collecting things – links, apps, tweets, tips, best practices, advice, you name it. The thing you find kind of interesting today might be exactly what you need for a project a year down the road. Or maybe it’s exactly what someone else needs a few weeks down the road – that’s key, too (more on that in the third point).

2. Social media is your embassy; your website is your home country.

Sree borrowed this quote from Jim Rosenberg, who heads up social media for the World Bank. Your web presence should always be anchored by your website. It’s the one thing you have online that’s all yours. Your social networks are your embassies. You establish a presence in those places to keep up relations and connect with key leaders to ultimately benefit the people back home.

 3. “Almost everyone will miss almost everything you do on social media.”

There are more than a billion tweets published every 2-3 days, and yours are just drops in the ocean. The fact is, most people won’t ever see anything you post. That’s OK. It underscores the need to focus intensely on what your brand of social media is about and target your messaging appropriately. For Twitter, Sree suggested including an @ mention in your tweets as often as possible. You don't want to overdo it, but the idea is to make sure that at least one person sees your tweet. The same philosophy applies to your other networks.

4. Be an early experimenter, but a late adopter.

Don’t feel the need to dive headfirst into a social network as soon as it comes out just because it’s new and popular. Experiment, sure, but keenly observe how the power users on that network are using it, be a good judge of whether it’s something your audience is interested in, and then make it a fully integrated part of your social presence.

5. Be generous.

Sree’s “social media success formula” contains 13 attributes, at least a few of which, he says, should be included in every one of your social posts. The full list is at the link, but there’s one attribute in particular that everyone on social media should prioritize: generosity. Everyone on social media wants validation that what they’re doing matters. Social actions – Likes, retweets, so on – are currency. Become known for moving that currency, and people will return the favor. It’s the old Google formula: The more helpful you can be by sending people away from you and connecting them with the information they want, the faster they’ll come back to you for more. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Sree’s talk:

  • Go to his site and follow him on all his social networks (it’s well worth your clicks).