Understanding social media, influencers, and personal branding are important topics for everyone working in business. However, using social media to achieve business results requires specific skills, strategies. and tactics.

Our guest, Sree Sreenivasan, is Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and previously a professor of digital journalism at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He teaches social media workshops around the world and is a fabulous communicator. Join this special episode!

Social Media in Business with Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Michael:

(00:02) We’re all on social media. We’re on Facebook. We’re on Twitter, but from a business standpoint and a professional perspective how should we view these social media outlets, and all of its time. Is it a good thing or is it a waste of time and how should we be doing?

(00:20) Today, on episode number 126 of CXOTalk, we are speaking with a master. I’m Michael Krigsman and my co-host is Vala Afshar, hey Vala how are you?

Vala:

(00:36) Michael I’m doing great and I am super excited to learn from as you said truly a master in social media and business, so please with the introductions Michael.

Michael:

(00:48) The Chief Digital Officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sree Sreenivasan, Sree how are you?

Sree:

(00:57) I’m great and I’m absolutely delighted to be back with both of you on your show. It’s just an amazing platform. I have done a lot of different things including lots of television, but (a) you get my pronunciation of my last name right, and (b) you also get a lot of eyeballs to whatever it is you do which is pretty amazing.

Michael:

(01:22) Well with guests like you, so Sree, let’s start, please share your background. You have a really interesting background, so please tell us about your background.

Sree:

(01:31) Sure, I was a professor for 21 years at Columbia University, teaching digital media and then came to the MET to work here as the Chief Digital Officer. I had been the Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University, thinking about the future of education, and here I’m thinking about the future of culture and they’re both wonderful institutions that have at their core the idea of connecting with their customers if you will or their stakeholders through a physical place and great expertise. Those are very much in common that they both have. And here we take that and see how we can kind of make it more connected between the digital world and that physical world, and see how we can expand what we’re doing and extend what we’re doing in the museum.I like to think I run a 70 person startup inside a 145-year-old company.

Vala:

(02:31) Sree, talk to us a little bit about your work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sree:

(02:37)Wellour work here is to tell a million plus stories about our million plus pieces of art to a billion plus people. And on your show, I set the future of business as storytelling and you guys took that quote and blew that up, and you know this will be on my tombstone now because of you guys.

(02:55) And what I have learned from that, first of all is to see how you’re able to bring eyeballs to things you’re doing. But also take out nuggets that people care about, and that’s what we try and do here at the MET, to keep the expertise, the scholarship, the knowledge that we have but make it more accessible.

(03:14) So we don’t want to dumb down what we have here, we want to capitalize on the expertise. One of the things that I’ve learned here is that in the world where everybody is a storyteller, a trained storyteller stands taller in a world.Where everybody is a journalist, a trained journalist stands taller, a trained photographer stands taller.

(03:34) I mean I’m just looking at the videos here. My video doesn’t look very good, but Mike’s video looks fantastic because he invested in some good lights and it just made the system look better. Made that advantage, and by the way that’s also one of my favorite sayings, make your own luck, and that’s what Mike has done here.

(03:53) So at the MET, what we want to do is to see how can we take what we’re doing here, in these physical buildings. We have two physical buildings, the Metropolitan Museum on 81st Street, and fifth Avenue, the world’s largest encyclopedic museum, New York’s largest tourist attraction.

(04:09) We just announced record attendances of 6.3 million people. We have another location called the Cloisters, which is Upper Manhattan. It’s a mediaeval garden and someone said on Instagram the other day, I love going to the Cloisters. It reminds me of Game of Throne, and we’re now going to have a third institution, and physical institution. You might know the beautiful Whitney Museum on the Upper East Side, has moved down to a place called The Highline, which is a big new part of New York. And there it has built a 21st century, native 21st-century Museum. The MET is a native 19th-century museum, but they’ve build a 21st-century Museum as of the 911 Museum.

(04:59) We’re taking over their old space on 74th Street, so we have three physical locations but we also have, my boss, TomCampbell calls the fourth location which is the digital MET. That’s what we want to do, is to see can reconnect the physical MET and the digital MET and connect it with the world in smarter, better ways.

Michael:

(05:21) Well of course the MET is a venerable American institution, and today we are going to do what we call a lightning edition, and we are going to ask you a series of rapid-fire questions and you’re going to give us a rapid-fire answers back, and during the course over the next half an hour or so, we’re going to learn how to do social media better. How’s that?

Sree:

(05:50) That sounds great although I’ve got to tell you, you guys really know what you’re doing on social, so I don’t know how much you’ll learn from me but I’m happy to share what I know.

Michael:

(06:01) Well we’re going to learn a lot from you. Vala, said you want to kick it off?

Vala:

(06:04) Sure, let’s do this and for the kind folks that are following us on Twitter, we are going to do this rapid-fire. Hopefully this time at the end of the show for you to ask your questions and we’ll follow our normal CXOTalk after the rapid-fire stuff. We’ll start with the questions, Sree, what is the role of social media in business?

Sree:

(06:25) Social media is so important for business, but it is something that I think people only understanding in kind of slow dribs and drabs. You would think people get it now, you know its 10 years of the world understanding the importanceof social media. But it also took a long time for people to understand, even the value of the web, of email. And now, we’re seeing that social media can help you connect with audiences better, with stakeholders, with customers.

(06:54) It can help you listen for trends, ideas, and where things are going. It can also help you build out your brand, and it can also bring attention, traffic, sales to the work you do. So depending on the industry you’re in, social media’s absolutely critical for everything you do in business.

(07:15) It doesn’t replace your traditional ways of doing business. What it does, it adds another layer of let’s face it, complexity, but also opportunity.

Michael:

(07:26) How can we social media to build relationships?

Sree:

(07:31)What social media allows you to do is to build relationships through the idea of listening, connecting, engaging. And what that means is, that traditional companies have been all about this kind of sending out broadcasting what they’re doing.

(07:48) Now, you can connect with people. You can be part of their lives without actually trying to make a sale. We find increasingly there’s so much skepticism among customers and the public about kind of the things there about corporate advertising, about messages where you’re trying to sell things, that it’s much better to be part of their lives by by being useful, relevant, interesting in their lives. And then they will see your content and if you’re posting and say, oh, maybe I do want to buy that would go to that or whatever it is. So that’s how I think social media can help you, by connecting with people when you don’t need them, so that they can be there for when you need them.

Vala:

(08:37) Sree, can we use social media to help us sell more?

Sree:

(08:45)The answer is absolutely. You can use social media to sell if you don’t start out by saying you’re going to sell. Instead what you should be doing is to say, how do I raise awareness, how do I show people that this is something really cool, really useful. It’s a game changer that something people want in their lives, and then you can see that people want to buy.

(09:06) You’ve got to build that demand, and that’s what we have seen in so many companies that understand this, that if you want people to be interested in what you’re doing, rather than saying we want them to be interested in buying what you are selling. And this applies to products, to services, to ideas. If you’re in the business of selling anything, you want to be in social, but you want to be very careful about how you do it. And the way you can think about it is let me make content that’s engaging and interesting. And then when the time is right, I can sell because people will want it on their own.

(09:44) Another way to think about this is from an earlier digital age is that Google, when it first came out was the opposite of all the other search engines. You might remember that search engines were like portals filled with all these other things that you could do.

(09:58) Instead, Google came along, plain white page and they just took you directly where you wanted. They didn’t buy advertising. They didn’t buy Super Bowl ad back in the days. They just did their work and did it really well. And people loved it and then when it came time to make ads and sell ads and all of that, they did such a brilliant job. And of course they’re a huge company today. That’s what we should be doing in the world of social as well. Let’s just make great products, and great content and we’ll be successful.

(10:27) Sometimes I’m asked by businesses, oh I have a product, can you think about how to get me more attention on social. Well, you’ve got to get a good product first, that’s the key.

Michael:

(10:39) Okay, now, to put more pressure on you I’m going to ask you, let’s do short answers.

Sree:

(10:49)this sort of tells you, I’m so old-fashioned that I thought those were short answers. So…

Michael:

(10:54) No, those answers were pretty perfect, but let’s go. Now, we’re going to ramp it up. So, how should we create a social media strategy? How can one create a social media strategy?

Sree:

(11:08)You do it by understanding your business really well, your customers really well, and your potential customers really well. And then you sit down and you think, what makes sense for them in terms of the platforms you’re interested in, that they will also be interested in. And you don’t need to be first on every platform, but you can be where your customers are, and potential customers are. You know the old saying, fish where the fish are. So you start by understanding that, and then you sit down and look at what kind of content will make sense for you.

(11:42) You don’t have to be on every platform, but you have see also which content makes sense for which are the kinds of audiences you have, and potential audiences you have. I hope that’s fast!

Michael:

(11:52) Perfect

Vala:

(11:54) It’s perfect. Sree, you have an incredible personal brand, you know, obviously you’re Chief Digital Officer, so your circle of friends are not only CTO, but CIO’s, CMO’s and many many executives in business thought leaders. How does someone use social media to build a strong personal brand, and why does it matter?

Sree:

(12:18) Social media can help you build this brand if you set out to be authentic, be yourself, and really know what you’re doing. One way I think about it is if you’re good in real life, you can be great on social media. This is something that Erica Anderson, who works at Twitter says, if you’re good in real life, you can be great on Twitter. I like to say, if you’re great in real life, you can be awesome on social media.

(12:44) So thinking about how you can take who you are, social media does not make your brand. Social media amplifies who you are, amplifies your brand. So if you’re terrible in real-life, you’re late all the time, you deliver bad products, bad service, you badmouth people. You’re boring, you’re irritating to people. Then, social media will take that and amplify it, and you’ll be awful on social media.On the other hand, you’re a great business executive, you do good work, people care about what you have to say, you can be awesome. And that’s what you need to do.

Michael:

(13:23) What are the steps to building a personal brand?

Sree:

(13:26) First step is understanding which of the social media networks make sense for you. I think depending for most people, you know there on Facebook and then maybe they can do one more thing. So you would join the platforms you want to be on, and then start posting content that’s useful, interesting, helpful, and don’t post about shoes all day unless you’re in the shoe business. Post content that will help other people.

(13:54) I talk to some political folks, who are very good on social media, and they say they make content not for the audience, they make content that there audience wants to share with other people. So that’s what you want. You want such great content that people want to take it, and share it with other people. And that’s what you want to do.

Vala:

(14:19) So Sree is there a balance in terms of personal related content versus company related content when your using social media? Let me be more specific with Twitter because it may vary from platform to platform, you know Instagram, Facebook versus Twitter but on Twitter…

Sree:

(14:38) …okay, and Mike I’ll promise to be fast. On Twitter what you want to do is – well, first let me just say that it’s very hard to spate out the personal and the professional. That was possible years ago. People would say Twitter’s for work, LinkedIn is for work, Facebook is personal.

(15:00) That’s no longer the case. What happens when your best customer asks to be your friend on Facebook, what happens when one of your board of directors asks to be your friend? It’s hard to separate that.

(15:15)So the safest thing to do is to presume that everything you see is visible to everybody. And find out who is influential in your circle and think about them when you’re posting. So on Twitter what I like to do is to think about is that I’m going to be on point with my work, the kinds of topics I’m interested in. Tell people in your bio. Be really clear about what you’re going to be posting about and then post about it. Occasionally you bring in your family, you bring in your vacation, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re on point most of the time. That’s on Twitter.

(15:52) On Facebook it becomes much harder, because we’ve so much personal stuff we post on their. Become a master of the Facebook ways in which you can control who sees your content. You can make lists of your content. You can direct it to the public, to just your friends, to specific business interest. You can do that on Facebook, but it’s a lot of work. Some people just make it all public, and make sure they don’t post anything really personal on there.

(16:24) On Instagram it’s a little different, and by the way my boss the Director of the MET, Thomas Campbell is on Instagram and not on Twitter, and the reason he’s on Instagram people say to me, hey Sree, your Mr. Twitter, why isn’t he on Twitter, he’s on Instagram because there’s less drama on Instagram. You can be there, you can be kind of be yourself, and I would love for you to see what he’s doing at Thomas P Campbell, and you’ll see he’s doing a mix of things about his own work about the Museum, but he’s also talking about other museums. Occasionally he has his family in there as well. And that combination has worked well for him.

(17:02)There is no formula on social media. People always ask for a specific formula of guaranteeing success. What there are, are guidelines and you have to become a student of your own social media. Try something, see if it works, why didn’t it work, try something else. But it’s very important for you to be patient and work on it very very systematically and strategically.

Michael:

(17:27) How can we connect with influencers on social media?

Sree:

(17:31) I tell people it’s not who follows you on social, it’s who follows you on social meaning influencers. So make a list of the influencers who you want to connect with and then connect with them, and how do you do that? You retweet them – well, first you follow them, you retweet them. You answer their questions. You comment on their work, and over a period of time people notice and they start following you.

(17:58)They’ll also unfollow you because you might be boring. But you have to reach out one person at a time and decide who your following. I recommend a tool called Twiangulate, it’s like triangulate but with a W, that shows you who your most influential 100 followers are, or your top 100 followers, based on how many followers they have.

(18:22)So find them, connect with them, network with them, and over time they might follow you. But if you aren’t participating, you can’t expect people to follow you just like that.

Vala:

(18:34) Michael, I hope you and I are on that list.

Michael:

(18:39) You’ll be on the list, but not likely me. But followers, how important are followers as a metric.

Sree:

(18:47) Well followers are an important metric, but you know the problem is that if your boss comes to you and says, we need 100,000 followers, we need 1 million followers. You can buy a couple of hundred thousand followers for a couple of hundred bucks. Please never do that, because you will get caught out. There’s tools like statuspeople.com that will out you, anyone can go in and see how many fake followers you have. This happened the other day. Somebody emailed me and said, wow, how does this person have so many followers. I said, well let’s take a look. So we went in there and instantly we saw 84% of this person’s followers were fake. And instantly credibility is lost and we didn’t out this person, but we could have easily just tweeted that screenshot, right.

(19:29)So followers are important, but don’t get so obsessed with the number of followers. I can tell you at the MET, we recently cost 1 million followers. We are the seventh most followed art museum in the world. But we were named the most influential art museum in the world, and I would gladly give up hundreds of thousands of followers for influence, and that’s what you want.

(19:54)Are you a person that people listen to, that people care about, that people connect with, people take seriously, then you’ll do fine on Twitter. And you build out your base organically, slowly. Don’t worry about the numbers and you’ll be okay.

Vala:

(20:11) So Sree, if the number of followers is not a measure of influence, what can we used to measure influence and are there tools that you can recommend that allow us to check the influence of an organization or an individual on social media?

Sree:

(20:29) Yeah, I I’m not saying that followers are not important. You want to grow your followers on a regular basis. You know every day you have a lot of un-followers. I have a friend who has 1 million plus followers. Every time he tweets he loses 250 followers. The reason is that all those people are like who is this person, I don’t know and then just delete him.

(20:52) Every time you Tweet there is a chance for new people to follow you, but also current people that unfollow you. So that’s why you want to be strategic about your tweet, what are my tweeting, doesn’t make sense.

(21:05) I spent 3 to 6 minutes on every tweet I write, because it’s that important to me that I want this to be something that matters and that people can look at. So there are tools that you can find like Crowdbooster and others that will show you who, like Twiangulate helps you find your most influential followers, Twiangulate and Crowdbooster helps you find your followers, where your most loyal followers that maybe somebody only, only is a relative term who only has say 1000 followers but if he retweets you 10 times, then you know that’s 10,000 people potentially that could have seen your content.

(21:50) So I would rather be connecting and interacting with him and making sure he’s taking care of and not just ignoring completely. So while you need these superstar followers, those folks are rarely going to follow you, are rarely going to retweet you, are rarely participate. You need that combination of very influential people, and then the folks who are loyal and that balance you have to strike on a regular basis.

(22:17) I think many airlines are so focused on their first class cabins, that they’rereally doing great damage to the people in the back in terms of their interest in flying with them. And that’s that balance that I think we could think of for ourselves, do we want it, and do a really nice things for our folks in first-class. But we also want to make sure that we’re giving peanuts and more to the people in the back because you never know who is going to go in which direction. I think I’ve got to stop these analogies.

Michael:

(22:48) Okay, but of course it’s true what you say but everybody still want lots of followers. So, how do we get more followers?

Sree:

(22:54) Right, so the way you think about followers is what can you say that will help you find more followers. What are the things you can do? So one of the things I’ve learned is from watching people who are really successful, and one of the things is great content gets you great followers. Great content gets you great followers, meaning are you posting things that people care about. Is it interesting, is it things that will drive the conversation, are you contributing in some way, or do people read your stuff and go, oh God, what a boring guy.

(23:30)So that’s the first step in making sure the people will want to see. Identified by the way of those two or three influential people that will follow you. Every time you tweet, think about them before you tweet, because if it’s boring, they’re going to unfollow you and it gives you something to latch onto. Is this pursing following me, are they going to get bored?

(23:51)The next thing you do is tell people you’re on Twitter. Tell people you’re on Instagram. Is it on your business card? Is it in your email signature file? Are you once a week on Twitter, telling people you’re new Instagram handle? On Instagram do you have a link to your Twitter account, that kind of holistic approach where you got to tell people this. A lot of people think well I’m just going to tweet,everybody is going to see it. it is just not true.

(24:19) Another way to build an audience and build followers is by networking, just the way you build your physical network, you want to build your digital network. Go to events and there, make sure you tell people you’re on Twitter. Participate in as many Twitter chats as possible, but remember, people will see your work, but is that tweet interesting, because if the tweet is boring, it’s just a waste of time.

(24:48)Whenever you participate you’ve got like 10 seconds to make an impression. Also, please put a clear recognizable recent photograph of you in your bio so people know who this is.

(25:03) And spell out your bio really clear about who you are, your background, and what you’re going to be posting about and then people follow you. You’ve got a couple of seconds when people say, I wonder who this person is. Click, they see who you are and they click out. But they might follow you if you’re interesting, if your content is interesting.

(25:22)And now on Twitter they have that extra Twitter profile section above the kind of header background. You could put things in there that makes it clear that you’re an interesting savvy person that people will add to my content and my info stream, and not dilute it and not pollute it, that’s what you need to be clear to everyone about.

Vala:

(25:45) I totally totally agree with you, I think for me it takes less than 10 seconds to determine – probably less than five seconds to determine whether I’m going to follow someone on Twitter, you know the avatar, the bio. You know, if you have a locked account forget about it. I’ve really no interest in joining accounts that are locked, so you’re spot on, that first impression you really have only a few seconds. So we talked about avatar, bio, and obviously I look at the four or five tweets in the screen to make sure that hopefully it’s a like-minded person.

(26:26) Let’s talk about the type of content, what are some of the types of content that you would share to grow your network and really build good solid connections.

Sree:

(26:36) People love content that is self-shareable with other people, so making sure that your posting things that are relevant, that are newish to the stream. It doesn’t have to be brand-new, but newish, and you have unique take on something that’s going on, that would be important.

(26:57)The other thing I’m urging people to do is every time you post something, think about using a photograph or a video when you can. Because what people do is they’re just constantly scrolling with their thumbs on Twitter, so like this when I’m looking at the feed, I’m constantly going – I’m sorry I know it’s hard to see, but I’m just going like this with my thumb, so I say to people create thumb stoppers. A piece of an image or a video is a thumb stopper, and your thumb will stop on it and you’ll take a look, then you’ll keep going. And you will see and you will notice your stopping more on something with an image than without an image.

(27:39) So put in an imageswhen it makes sense, and there’s so many good tools that allow you to do this including places like canva.com and other tools that help you design social images and social graphics, so I would think about that.

(27:58) I would also show people the kind of access you have to unusual things. People love unusual things, access to things they can’t see and tools like Periscope and others show people that access that you have. But nothing really substitutes for smart, intelligent, and interesting, and occasionally fun and occasionally funny content. It doesn’t mean you have to be boring on social media, what it means is be strategic and think about what you’re posting, and if you do that you will have great success.

Michael:

(28:35) How should we use hashtags?

Sree:

(20:38)So you know how on Tedx Talks, people talk about saving the earth and saving the planet, and feeding the poor. I did a Tedx Talk about hashtags and why we should use them better. So now I’m giving the lightning part of this. You can use hashtags in order to build a digital fence around the content and the conversation that you want to have. If you’re organizing an event, you want to have a clear, recognizable, unique hashtag that then you can use to build that fence and get people inside the conversation, and then track that conversation.

(29:16) If you’re on the outside and you’re interested in participating, find the hashtags and participate using the hashtag, and by the way if you’re at a conference or anything like that, please print the hashtags early – I mean decide them early and put them on the invitations, put them on name tags, put them everywhere so that people know what they are. You got to be semi-obnoxious with your own hashtag.

(29:40)You have to tell people what it is, and kind of hit them again and again so that they will use it. I did a piece ones that you can find and I compared how the Grammy’s use the hashtags, where the Oscars used the hashtags in the same year. Grammy’s trended because they were using one hashtag and they told everybody. Oscars were using multiple hashtags and it got diluted. Pick one hashtag and be on it and you’ll be great.

Vala:

(30:10) Sree, we have a question from Frank Scavo on Twitter. Frank is a prominent industry analysts, and he states that following everyone back seems to be one way to build more followers, but it doesn’t seem that you practice that. Can you talk a little bit about your methodology in terms of you know following people back in terms of a strategy to grow the size of your network?

Sree:

(30:33) Frank, thank you. You know there are a lot of people who play these follow back games, where I’ll follow 100 people hoping that 80 people will follow me back and then I’ll unfollow people, and that’s a lot of work, and I don’t think it’s an authentic way to follow people. I think if someone is interesting you should follow them. And if they’re not interesting it’s okay to not follow them.

(30:50) Your followee list, the people you’re following should be in constant flux. You should be unfollowing people, adding more people etc. but also there’s a point beyond which Twitter becomes useless because there is so many people that you’re following. Decide what that comfort level is for you. For some people it’s 200 folks, for some folks it’s 200,000 folks, and you see that 20,000 followees etc.

(31:23) But let’s find the thing that makes sense for you and then you can participate, and that’s why Twitter lists are also really important. But at the base level I don’t have time to follow back everybody, but I’m using tools that tell me who am I’m following, who are not following. I love a tool called crowdrise, which tracks on your phone and can tell you who your recent followers are, and when I re-tweet then I’ll see that it’s better laid out than on Twitter, then I keep following people, and I unfollow people when they’re boring and so that’s what I do.

(31:56)Others who follow a lot of folks, I just looked the other day and there was about 500 people I follow, but they don’t follow me back. I don’t take it personally, the people who unfollow me and I don’t get upset about it – maybe a little upset, but not too much.

Michael:

(32:14) Sree, let’s compare, when I said let’s, that’s like sort of the Royal we meaning you. Let’s compare Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram

Sree:

(32:28) Boy! LinkedIn is the most underappreciated social network in history. It is more important than it’s ever been and people still don’t get it. Everybody who I know who is on LinkedIn but they barely use it as well as they could, they think about LinkedIn as a job hunting site, which it is, but it’s really a career management, a life website that you can use that can have a direct impact on your future, and the futures of your people in your network but people just don’t understand that.

(33:04) A a lot of business people do understand that, but even they’re not using it properly. So LinkedIn if that’s the kind of comparison that you want to make, I would say LinkedIn is something that we could all work on. LinkedIn has recently opened up publishing, so that everyone can publish content on there. If I was starting a blog today, I would make sure I was posting on LinkedIn, rather than just posting on another platform.

(33:30) Why not be on the network where your colleagues, your competitors, and your future colleagues are all working already are using it every day, and they’re looking for good content. So that’s why I encourage you to use LinkedIn. I’ve recently started posting on a more regular basis. I need to do better myself on LinkedIn and I urge you to do that. My wife, who post on LinkedIn she finds a lot of traction and it’s a good place for her for business leads and other things. So I encourage you to do more on LinkedIn.

(34:06) Instagram, a place where it’s surprising it’s so successful considering it has zero traffic. Right, we always think everything is about traffic and there’s zero traffic, meaning you get zero traffic to your content. It’s all about being great on the platform itself.

(34:24)Twitter we’ve talked a lot about, and Twitter is for quick, short content and short bursts of information back and forth. You have to have a lot of patients to use Twitter and be smart on it and to have success on it.

(34:43) You know, one of the cofounders of Twitter Biz Stone, used to say that he is surprised how successful Twitter has been, considered how complicated it is to use. And so that’s one of the problems on Twitter.

(34:56)And finally Facebook is bigger and more important than it’s been, and there is a lot of talk of Facebook fatigue. People aren’t as interested and it’s all about snap chat and these other tools. The things that Facebook has done in the last couple of years, I call it be empires strikes back. And you are seeing the role that Facebook plays in the world, and between Facebook, which also owns Messenger, and also owns WhatsApp, and it also holds Instagram, you’re seeing the total domination of Mark Zuckerberg and company.

(35:34) So much so that when Twitter grew by 2 million people it was considered to be in deep trouble, and that’s where I think Wall Street and others need to give Twitter a break and say, this is not going to be Facebook. It has its own place and its own success metrics.

Michael:

(35:55) How can we avoid being obnoxious social media?

Sree:

(36:00)One of my favorite sayings, what’s common sense in real life is common sense on social media. Don’t be obnoxious in real life and you will be obnoxious on social. Be yourself, think about everything that you post. As I said I spend between 3 to 6 minutes on every tweet I write. I write every tweet as if it’s my final tweet, as if I’m about to get hit by a bus. And if I get hit by a bus, I know that the last tweet is what they’re going to use in, you know my friends are going to pull that out, what was the last thing he said, so I think about that.

(36:34) If your last tweet, if you pay attention to your tweets and say I’m not going to pick fights with people, at least publicly, then you will be much more careful and less likely to get in trouble. And less likely to get in trouble, and therefore less likely to be obnoxious I hope.

Michael:

(36:54) You know, it looks like we’ve lost Vala, Vala where you, you’re out there in the ether somewhere. And we’re just about done with this lightning round – ah, there’s Vala back. So let’s just say our last question in the lightning round is, if you’re tweeting at an event, how do you balance live tweeting an event without annoying all of your followers and dumping all of this stuff on your followers that are not present.

Sree:

(37:22) I have that exact situation. I was at the code conference, which is run by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher and the hashtag is #codecom. And you know Mary Meeker, every year she unleashes her state of the internet slide there, and this year she had 197 slides in 30 minutes. So you would imagine everybody in the world is kind of tweeting that and everybody there is tweeting that, and then it’s being amplified, it’s on CNBC etc. what can you do, what can you bring to it.

(37:55)So what I decided is I’m going to take pictures of just a few of the slides, and focus on the topics that I know my audience may be interested in. So I picked out the China slides, I out the India slides, and only tweeted like three things there. I wanted to say not what I’m doing is unique or special, but is it less likely to be the 5000 tweets about the same thing, then rather may be the fourth tweet about the same thing. That’s how you do it.

(38:25) You also want to be very clear, you could even apologize in advance to some people do when they’re live tweeting and you say, hey folks, I’m sorry for the next hour, I’m going to be tweeting from this. No one I’ve ever seen has gotten upset if your contents going to continue to be true to you, meaning it’s useful, helpful, and adds value to the conversation. If that’s the case, it’s going to be fine. If it’s boring or it’s the same old same old, then people are not going to pay attention.

Vala:

(38:59) Sree, do you have any advice…

Sree:

(39:05) I’m sorry I missed that, what was that Vala?

Vala:

(39:10)…for Twitter I mean there’s rumors about companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft should buy Twitter to boost their social presence and you know if they it seems that 350 million followers, there’s a bit of a slowdown in the US in terms of folks getting on Twitter, any advice as a super user for Twitter in terms of how they can grow.

Sree:

(39:33) Yeah, I’ll say that I am very bullish about Twitter and its potential, but I’m only worried that Twitter will overreact to these ridiculous valuations that people want it to have. I said that only in today’s world, where you get 2 million new customers over a period and then you are told you are failing and you’re in trouble. That’s the problem. It’s Wall Street, it’s the venture capitalists, it’s their fault that they have taught us that it has to be unlimited growth forever otherwise you’re in trouble.

(40:10) It has never happened in history that you need this kind of scale. I mean Wall Street always want growth, but not with this scale. So I think if twitter says, we’re not Facebook, but we’re so integrated into the lives of the people who do use us, and we are going to continue to be useful, but they have to be able to take care of the spam problem, the bot problem. They are trying new things for the user experience in design to make it more relevant, more useful. I think they’re taking it before photographs, and allowing you to tag up to 10 people in a single tweet. I think that’s a great step that they have taken.

(40:54) I love this feature where you can shoot and edit inside a tweet. Up to 30 seconds, you can shoot and edit inside a tweet. I think it’s a game changer. Those are the kind of things that they can continue to build on, instead of overreacting and being forced by Wall Street and their funders, and others to do things that they don’t want to do. I think they should be confident about who they are, they’ll do great.

Vala:

(41:21) I agree with you 100%.

Michael:

(41:24) You know, Frank Scavo, who’s a great industry analyst, he comments regarding what you’re saying earlier about tweeting at events, not to use Twitter as your notepad. Rather offer some interpretation and insight.

Sree:

(41:40) I think that’s brilliant, if that’s okay I’m going to use that Frank as a great way of thinking about it. So not regurgitating whatever has just been said, but giving an angle, giving explanation, context, I think that’s a great idea and something that people will value.

Michael:

(42:02) You know, we’re just about out of time. That was pretty fast.

Vala:

(42:09) That was a lightning round Michael, and again as usual, Sree dropped a ton of science on us and beautiful content for us to share with our audience.

Sree:

(42:18)Yeah, well thank you, I’m delighted to be of help. I use a hashtag, #learnsocmedia and I’ve been tweeting up to 85 different things I’ve posted. So if you go online and you search my name and learnsocmedia, you’ll see that I’m trying to build a kind of useful content around there. I also want to tell your folks that I’m always happy to answer questions and my Twitter handle is @sree and my email is sree@sree.net , sree.com it’s a chain of motels in Florida, and you may want to stay off there or maybe not and maybe get a place in Florida. But I’m delighted to be here and I encourage all of you to check out what we’re doing on @metmuseum , and see how we as a business, a small but important business are trying to keep up with all of you, we’re doing all of this great stuff in the digital world.

Michael:

(43:13) So you’re the Chief Digital Officer of one of the most venerable museums in the world, and you don’t mind giving out your personal email in public, why is that?

Sree:

(43:25) Well, now you’re making me feel bad. I used to do a lot of TV and used to give out my email address on TV. And one thing you learn is not a lot of people are watching TV with a pen in their hand, so that was one thing. But also I have in my email inbox a million plus unread email messages in Gmail. I’ve always wanted to be a million, and I tweeted this the other day. I’ve always wanted to be a millionaire. I didn’t know it would be a million unread Gmail messages that I would be a millionaire.

(44:04) But seriously, it’s about the content you write to somebody and if it’s interesting people will open it. You have to be good at being really clear in your subject line, same thing like the tweet. If it’s clear in the subject line, I’ll open it. I’m here because of Gmail because I responded to you guys on email, right and that’s how this kind of stuff works.

(44:22) Email still counts, everybody is like, oh Slack is the only thing that matters, snapchat, whatever. Those are all important and useful, but email still makes the world go round and still makes business happen. On the MET we send out 55 million emails a year, so we understand the value of email.

Michael:

(44:41) You know and I actually I’ll say also that I get a lot of emails and my inbox is not quite 1 million unread, but we get a lot of emails as well. And every now and then an email comes through from somebody you don’t know, that is so insightful and short, and to the point and useful that you respond. And genuinely you can build a relationship off of that just by sending a short email.

Sree:

(45:10) Yeah, I totally understand that and I just want to mention one thing if you haven’t seen it, this website called Crystalknows.com and what it does is it takes as you’re writing to somebody, it will study there email personality and give you feedback of what kind of email to write to them. It is either the greatest thing I’ve ever seen or the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. So check it out, crystalknows.com. Have any of you guys seen that yet?

Michael:

(45:43) Not yet, but we will. And episode number 126 draws to a close.

Vala:

(45:53) Sree, thank you so much for your thought leadership and thank you for being not only interesting but also interested.

Sree:

(46:00)Thank you

Michael:

(46:01) We have been talking with Sree Sreenivasan, who is the Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Thank you everybody for watching and we are going to be doing two CXOTalk shows next week, so check the website, join us and sign up for the mailing list. Thanks so much everybody, and Vala, will see you out there in the ether soon.

Vala:

(46:28) You’ve got it. Thanks Michael.

Michael:

(46:29) Thanks everybody. Bye bye.

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