Teaching has always been a big part of what I do. Whether it’s the education of best practices for Getting Things Done or how to maneuver through the dense Internet jungle I believe in sharing knowledge. The smarter you are the better we can solve the obstacles in your path.
Getting Ahead Requires a Social Media Portfolio
Over the past quarter Tamela Rich and I, along with some other great speakers like Beth Griffiths and Ted Claypoole have joined to talk to various groups and professionals about the modern state of the web and how to balance their place in it.
My How Times Have Changed
It’s easy to reflect on the quick history of our internet culture.
- The internet, you mean that University network?
- We don’t need a website, our business isn’t online.
- Check out our website!
- Facebook? Myspace? Second Life? Waste of time.
- Twitter? Why would I want to know what Bob had for lunch? Waste of time.
- Be my (Facebook) Fan! Do you read our blog? I engage with Twitter!
My how quick we are to find something faddish–oh the sheer idiocy of the early adopters. Just to find out that there are diamonds in the rough that are later quantified and exhorted as the next greatest thing. Until the next greatest thing of course.
Over the past two decades the power structure and influence has been finding its way to the users, the individual. From little points of light to a highly woven web of interconnectedness the individual has become their own brand complete with their own way to market.
With over 7 billion internet users and growing we no longer seek how to bring our audience online. We seek ways to find our way into their communities; into their hearts and minds so that they may play for our team and support our vision as we try and support theirs. A combination of independence, transparency, authority, and loyalty.
All at the cost of interacting and engaging those who you wish to reach.
Finding Your Distinction
As the ancient Greek said ‘Know Thyself’ (inscribed in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi).
As we progress through a more transparent–or maybe more prismatic system of individuality we must find what makes us tick in order to find those who can more easily engage with us.
Take for a moment the idea that there were an infinite amount of people out there. Would you want to work with all of them or just ones who shared your ideals–your passions? Have you ever had to fire a client or customer? Now while there are not an infinite amount of customers out there we have an abundance and by sharing parts of you that you are passionate about you are much more likely to establish relationships with those that also share them and that is the foundation for great work, referrals and help along the way.
With those ideas in mind you join groups (both virtual and physical), foster community, and add your ideas to the stream.
There are hundreds and hundreds of communities and applications popping up to vie for your time and focus. You can’t, nor should you be a part of all of them. Here’s a good set of safe harbor places to begin your engagement and brand control. From these tools you can swap, add, and remove at your discretion.
- Your Home, Your Blog: WordPress
- Open source, free, and community-powered.Excellent for a multitude of uses (commercial/business/personal/community) and getting better and better.
- Start with their hosted solution to get your chops up. Then when you’ve grown comfortable with the format hire someone like me to migrate you to your own hosting and get you setup under your own brand.
- A Newsletter: Mailchimp
- If you are doing business online you have got to have a newsletter. People don’t read your site everyday and this allows you to easily get back in front of those who aren’t.
- Social Media: Twitter
- Tune in to your audience whether it is local or far away. Follow along with your favorite authors or just listen to the stories of the day. Pick an engagement strategy that works for you and be consistent.
- Personal Brand: Facebook
- You don’t need to expose a lot and you can lock down your profile to whatever limitation you are comfortable with. The point is expose a little to show you are human to those viewing and put more energy into your Facebook Page.
- Professional Outlets: LinkedIn, Facebook Pages, Your Industries Resources
- By this time I hope everyone who is a professional has some small outpost on LinkedIn. It’s easy to setup and maintain as you go through your professional career choices. Show what solutions you bring to the table, get recommendations, participate in groups that correlate with your specialties or interests.
- Facebook Pages are no longer the bastard children of Facebook but where FB wants you to put your business time. No longer to you need to pull everyone into you personally, show your expertise and value through a business page. Cultivate those you do business with and let them help you evangelize your services.
- Other Resources, this one gets quickly diversified but your core business will probably have an outpost somewhere that connects B2B or B2C or both. For Realtors, Active Rain. For Lawyers, Avvo & Legal Onramp. It’s good to shore up a connection with that which directly relates to your field for professional and consumer views.
- Media Connections: Flickr, Slideshare, Youtube
- Publish your media around at the community hubs. If you take pictures get them on flickr and into groups that associate your profession or the images context. Add a description and link back to your site or an article.
- If you do presentations often and you can share those SlideShare is a great resource for getting them further in use.
- Youtube’s acquisition by Google seems to have special favor with the search engine. Put together videos of your offerings, Q&A sessions, or interviews with your clients. Again giving all these well read descriptions and links back to your core site.
Making Your Content Work
Starting with your blog/Wordpress site you begin writing content. This content then fills up what Tamela likes to call your Content Pantry. From this you can begin recycling your content for other purposes whether it is newsletters, presentations, handouts, etc. All the while you can install plugins or add your RSS feed into other services helping syndicate your content on places like LinkedIn, Facebook Pages, Twitter, with the push of a button.
As always I encourage working smarter, not harder. While doing this is a part of your marketing time you should be as efficient as you can. Letting the tools do the heavy lifting and you go around maintaining the conversation is much easier than having to perform double data entry everywhere and keep up the discussion.
Lace Up & Start Running Now
There is no better time than now to start assembling and exploring these pieces and have them work for you. I liken the idea of the Internet and the tools therein to Legos. While the gestalt is a complete picture it is made up of a lot of littles and if you explore the pieces you will begin to see how everything interoperates together.
Remember if you let this pass you by your competition isn’t. You don’t have to outrun the bear, just your competitor.
If I can be of any help getting you started from the strategic to the runway let me know.