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Closing out day two of Social Media Week at the JWT New York Advertising Hub, BuzzFeed laid out some guidelines about how to not be a creeper, a wallflower or a ‘party pooper’ at the social media party in “Genuine Appeal - Creativity and Authenticity in the Social Age.” We’ve all heard the “social media is a party” analogy before, but BuzzFeed’s Jeff Greenspan, chief creative officer, and Mike Lacher, creative director, put a fun and useful spin on it and explained achieving authenticity by avoiding these seven party fouls.
- Party Foul 1 - Just talking about yourself. You’d never go to a party and only broadcast information about yourself.
- Party Foul 2 - Interrupting. When two people are having a conversation, don’t butt in and change the subject, especially to you.
- Party Foul 3 - Begging people to like you. Unless you are as adorable as the puppy above, begging just won’t work (and you are not that cute).
- Party Foul 4 - Rehearsing. Don’t be a politician and repeating the same three, overly rehearsed sentences. In a world where everything needs 10 rounds of approvals, try to break that culture and be yourself.
- Party Foul 5 - Trying to talk to every person there. You’d never go to a big event and try to meet everyone there. Talk to the people you’re most likely to make a connection with and make the most of those conversations.
- Party Foul 6 - Asking people to ditch this party and come to your smaller weirder party. That’s what a microsite is. (Jeff and Mike were clear to explain the difference between a “single-serving site” which has a clear purpose and a confusing, ‘nebulous multi-media experience’ that so many microsites are.)
- Party Foul 7 - No upper decking. (Warning: unless you’re in the marketing world, this link is NSFW, but what would a BuzzFeed presentation be without a little bit of potty humor?) This basically means, don’t do anything that will ruin social media for everyone else. Their example was the “Please RT this! Every time you do, we’ll donate $5 to some random charity.” That’s not the right way to do it and it mucks up the whole social media atmosphere.
If you don’t have the ‘social savvy’ yet to survive at the social party, here’s how to remedy these party fouls. Sit down and listen. No, really listen. Not just to what people are saying, but the language they use. In BuzzFeed world, people don’t always use English. Digitaria staff emails, for example, often employ the same communication form as many of the most popular BuzzFeed articles: GIFs.
Once you’ve listened, put some real thought into your reaction. If someone spills a drink at a party, would you do the same as everyone else and move to clean it up? What makes the most sense for the brand you're dealing with? Maybe you go get the person a new drink or console them. No matter what you decide, react quickly and don't worry about being perfect. There will be more parties. If your idea is only half-baked, you might have another chance to reuse or retell that story in another way. Lastly, If you ask someone to leave the party with you you better have a really good reason. Now that you know how to hang, come party with me at @kreastham. I promise it won’t be crappy. Party on, Jeff. Party on, Mike.