So I had a very interesting conversation with a group here in Atlanta today. I had been nominated to be on a panel discussing Social Media and had an evangelist really trying to get me on the panel who happens to be the moderator. At the end of the day I was not selected to be on the panel and wanted to find out the reason why. Being who I am and always wanting to improve, I really needed to find out so I called the chairperson of this event and asked. I am not going to tell you the name of the organization, but they have a somewhat large and loyal following.
The answer I received surprised me, but brought home a really valid point for every business, organization and person that is in any industry and wants to have Social Media work for them. The answer was that I did not have a big enough presence on the web and the other panelist had a larger presence. What can you and I learn from this answer?
One of the things that I learned is to be thought of as an expert it really does matter how you are perceived in the digital world. This person went on to say that the other members of the panel had more videos posted, more comments and seemed to have more going on than I did.
Now I first want to state that I do not consider myself an expert in Social Media. Social Media is so wide and diverse and continuously changing on a daily basis, I don’t think that anyone can call themselves an expert. One of the great themes of those “in the know” in Social Media is beware of someone calling themselves a “Social Media Expert”. This should be a Red Flag for any organization that is looking to consult with someone regarding Social Media.
If you are a business or an individual, your brand is very important but more important is your presence online. The funny thing is for me is that I teach seminars on helping others develop their Social Media Strategy and speak to clients every day on how to improve their brand. My company helps them focus on: who their audience is, what is their objective, what is their strategy and which technology is the best one for their needs in creating a Social Media Strategy. I am a firm believer that if you don’t know why you are on Twitter then you may not need to be there.
I am a big believer in focusing your energy in Social Media to having a conversation with your audience where they are. This encompasses employees, customers and prospects and having a dialogue with them to build your brand as a Trust Agent.
I know there is a lot of noise out there in the world concerning this thing called Social Media, and I will be discussing this a lot in the next several blog posts but for now what did I learn. I learned a valuable lesson. In order to make sure that the right message is being received, and in this case it was the perception of my brand, is that there must be activity. But to use an adage that I learned in corporate America, “activity for activity’s sake is wasted time and effort”.
Where does this leave me? There are many that would recommend that I increase my activity in order to gain a larger presence and perception of more activity. I say nay! I will increase my activity but it will be focused on my audience, my objective and my strategy. There will be other panels, and other opportunities. But I do owe a debt of gratitude to this person because I learned the following:
My beliefs on Social Media are that it should help you in your endeavors and add value to human kind. Brands can do this, businesses can do this and individuals can do this as well. There are a lot of businesses out there claiming to be “Social Media Experts” and maybe some of them are. When you are working in a new world and a new way of doing business you need to make sure that you are doing everything you are teaching others to do, take the time to build your own brand while helping others. The old saying of the Shoe Cobbler being so busy that he did not have time to make his own children’s shoes doesn’t cut it in this new digital, social world.
I need to practice what I teach and this blog entry is a great start.
CEO Social Media Solutions