Improv and the Social Web

Some people are born with a natural ability to favorably interact with people, either in person, online, or both.   Much like the quarterback position in football, there appears to be an “it” factor in play.  No one knows exactly what “it” is, but we all know that you need “it” to attract and influence an audience. 

When you’re looking to hire someone to manage your social media profiles, it’s important to keep this in mind.  For instance, a person with a rules-oriented personality that is well suited for IT networking may not be the best person to interact with customers and clients on a daily basis.

Although your life can be made easier by hiring someone with the right personality, there are things that can be done to ensure that your social objectives are met no matter what type of person you’re working with.

For instance, a lot can be learned from the world of improv comedy.  Many of the same actions that make a group successful in improv will also yield great results with social media interactions.  Here are five traits of a great improv team that you can learn from:

Be Willing to Fail

Failure is a part of life, and business.  Those that see failure as an opportunity are positioning themselves for success.  Your team must be willing to take leaps of faith, knowing full well that, many times, you will step on each other’s toes or land flat on your face.  There are no rules to social media, so be willing to try new things and build upon your successes and failures.

Stop Thinking, Start Acting

Many times, we find ourselves thinking too closely about each step we take.  We get caught up in our inner monologue, and sometimes avoid acting altogether.  An idea is worthless unless it acted upon. Like improv, you must hone your ability to act on a good idea without hesitation.

Listen Up

An improv team is destined to hear crickets if the members aren’t listening to each other.  The biggest laughs come from individuals playing off each other, rather than trying to steal the show individually.  The same can be said for social media interactions.  Listen to what your audience is saying and create conversations that originate from them.  This generates a sense of community, which is what it’s all about!

Be Prepared

Improv teams don’t rehearse their skits, but they do prepare themselves for their time on stage.  They get their mind right, go through exercises, and create a broad scope of what the skit will be about.  It’s important to sit down with your social media team and ensure that everyone has this mindset before implementing any strategy.

Forget Your Plans

It’s important to develop a broad strategy for your organization’s social media, but you have to be willing to let go of the reins every once in awhile and go with the flow.  An improv team can decide to do a skit about life in an office, but somehow it morphs into something like, say, a pushup contest.  If you fight the flow of the skit, it becomes very awkward for the audience and loses it’s comedic appeal.  If your social media plan calls for one thing, but something random starts working, just go with it and ask questions later.

Implementing these improv comedy techniques will vastly improve your interactions with people on the social web.