The Business of Social Media and ‘The Power of Half’

Reading the book, “The Power of Half” reminded me of parallels to the business of social media and lessons companies can learn. The book poses the question, “What can you live without?” and chronicles one family’s decision to stop taking and start giving.


One of the challenges I hear from businesses is the lack of time they have to devote to social media. Much like the lack of time we may feel to dedicate to a charity or a unified community purpose.

While it’s easy and tempting to outsource social media, there’s no replacement for the authenticity that comes out of taking the time to participate in-house with social media. Whether it’s the company CEO’s blog post or a customer service tweet, the authentic touch points can be priceless in building social media good will and brand advocates.

Social media cannot be bought.

While it’s easy to write a check to charitable causes, true rewards come to both the giver and receiver when contributions of time and participation are pointed to those in need.


A client asked me today, “Why are we linking to websites other than our own blog?”

It’s a good question from a marketing perspective, but answers to the old adage “take less, give more” and the rewards will be greater.

Like in life, if all we talked about were ourselves, wouldn’t people get sick of listening and start tuning out? In social media I see businesses cranking out lots of content, both frequent and consistent. Only one problem: it’s too much me, me, and more me.

#FollowFriday on Twitter is so brilliant because it gives us a reason to recognize those we respect and recommend them to others. The #FollowFriday idea, spawned by Micah Baldwin in 2008, is to think of interesting people you already follow and recommend them to others. If you read Baldwin’s bio, you’ll see his sense of giving and building online influence via trust, branding, and expertise are cornerstones to his success.

Social media is about helping others in our social circle and sharing content most relative to them.

Sharing Is Caring

The introduction of “The Power of Half” explores how a family becomes empowered and confident through adventures together, in turn enabling them to relate more deeply to each other and communicate more effectively as a family. Businesses can adapt this same lesson with social media.

These same cool things adapted from the book’s introduction can also be applied to the business of social media.

Cool Thing No 1: The More You Give, the More You Get

In social media, it’s one big love fest. No time for the fake, spammy, and stingy. Paying attention from the inside out and being selfless through social media will deliver positive returns two-fold vs. having a third party control your social media networks.

Cool Thing No. 2: Just About Everything Can Be Replicated

And this can be done regardless of budget. Focus more on the how you do social media vs. what you do. Companies say, “Our CEO could never spend all day on Twitter!” Of course not.

Social media can be whatever you choose at whatever budget of time you set.

Cool Thing No. 3: Social Media Can Work for Anyone

Social media not only works for big names like Zappos’s Tony Hsieh or Oprah. Social media works for any individual or business, no matter what the size or status.

“The Power of Half” answers the question, “Why half?”

The answer? Because it’s measurable.

And so is social media for business. Set a goal and measure. Is it brand mentions, number of followers, website visitors, time spent on the website? Figure out the measurement and apply.

Getting expert direction and help in the strategy and implementation in social media helps companies begin the process and keep a steady course. But at the end of the day, someone from within the company needs to participate and be involved to deliver an authentic voice of the brand, a voice diverse in content and generous with interaction.

Meet Lisa Buyer at SES San Francisco, which takes place during ClickZ Connected Marketing Week, Aug. 16-20, 2010.

Related reading

Website landing page vector graphic