The One Thing in Social Media

In the movie City Slickers, Billy Crystal’s character is told by Curly (Jack Palance):

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [holds up one finger] This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.
Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”
Curly: [smiles] That’s what *you* have to find out.

(Update: YouTube won’t let it be embeded, but the clip is there.)

I was on a client call, and they were asking for that “one thing” they could do to start in Social Media. I knew it immediately. And, unlike Curly, I’m here to tell you the one thing for Social Media….
Be helpful.

That’s it. If you start a blog, and you listen to your customers and provide help, that’s one thing. If you are on Twitter, and like Frank Elliason from Comcast Cares, or Southwest, or Jetblue, or Richard Binhammer, and you are helping customers, you’ve found the one thing.

What is that one thing that your customers need now? Are they confused? Do they need a discount? Is your site hard to navigate? Do they just want to tell you that they want a change in your product or service? What is the one thing you can do to help them – and not just help them to buy your product. Robert Scoble tells how he worked in a camera store, but sent certain people across town to a competitor if his store didn’t have the product. This gave him credibility and increased business overall. He was helpful.

Find your One thing and it will start you on the road to success. People will tell other people about you (that’s the Viral Marketing thing you’ve heard about.) Customers will reference your services in other posts or on Twitter with their friends. Like @Zappos, you will become a rockstar and people will make case studies about your company. Chris Brogan will let you ride his pirate ship. Robert Scoble will put you on Fastcompany.TV. (If you don’t know who these folks are, no worries. Find your one thing and they will find you).

Before you start your Social Media effort, or hire your consultant, or open your twitter account, find your one thing. If you get stuck, let me know if I can help. That’s my one thing.