I’ve made a commitment to make this the year in which I take my social media skills to a whole new level.
I came to this conclusion after reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s excellent book Jab, Jab, Jab Jab, Right Hook (I haven't been paid to promote it - I simply think it's great).
Before following Vaynerchuk, I thought I was pretty savvy about social media.
After a few weeks learning strategies from his book and keynotes, I realised I have an incredible amount of room for improvement.
Jumping At The Opportunity.
It’s an exciting discovery for me, because I now see new possibilities for reaching people through social media and making a difference to their careers. In other words, I can see new ways of delivering more value to my niche.
Today I want to share some of the lessons I’ve learned with you because I want you to be effective at reaching your crowd.
Executive roles are intrinsically social and, if you’re a career executive, social media platforms now provide a layer of digital plumbing that you can use to make yourself more effective at your job.
1. Wrong Context.
It’s tempting to think of social media as an unpleasant, time-consuming and yet necessary activity which is an add-on to your “real” job.
Social media activity, framed within this context, is usually relegated to a series of self-centred and irregular posts which are done “when I have the time”.
What I’ve found to resonate with me the most is Vaynerchuk’s idea that in 2014 and beyond, any executive can think of themselves, first and foremost, as a small media company.
2. Wrong Purpose.
The purpose of your little media company is to become a voice for an idea that you stand for, are intrinsically passionate about and which forms part of your core competencies in your job.
For example, a project manager can look at solving leadership problems within the building industry and a senior account manager can be an expert in B2B sales to Fortune 500 companies.
In this context, creating and posting valuable and shareable content is an organic (not to mention interesting) extension of your job.
3. Not Listening.
If you’re like me, you grew up in the era ruled by TV ads, billboards and email marketing. It was an era of push marketing. People were bombarded with promotional information and some of it converted.
Social media is a pull (i.e, listening), not push (i.e., talking) platform and using it as the latter will get you ignored. Sadly, most people (I’ve certainly been guilty of it!) jump on to social media just to talk AT people, not to people.
4. Ignoring Rules Of Engagement.
It’s critical to understand that people are walking around, staring at their phones. And what are they looking at? Their social media feeds. Increasingly, that’s their entry point into the world of news and media.
That’s where you begin to spark the relationship and tell your story or solve someone’s problem. From there you might earn their attention to follow your blog / YouTube Channel / guest posts on XYZ Industry Blog.
From there, they might choose to share your content, which might lead to an opportunity for you to connect and work with people in their social circle.
5. Inauthentic Storytelling.
Social media is humanising the Internet. In the past it was a land of experts who were telling you how to live your life.
It’s quickly becoming a place of humans who are sharing their life stories with you in the hope that they can connect with and make a difference to you. In the past, I’ve found it confronting to put myself out like this - it’s quite comforting to hide behind the “expert” label and not have to ever share anything about oneself.
6. Short Sightedness.
Before social media the Internet prized quick results. Social media is not a short race; it’s a long marathon and completing it requires having a long term view. What do you want your little media company to look like in 3 years' time?
7. Not Doing Great Work.
Social networks have created a layer on top of the Internet which amplifies ROI on good deeds.
In the past, if you were doing exceptional work, the news mainly went as far as your team and your boss. Occasionally, the ripple would spread beyond your company into your industry through word of mouth and awards.
Social media allows the news about your work to spread exponentially. The more relevant your contributions are, the more difference you make to people, the more your influence, reach and exposure can grow.
Irene Kotov runs Arielle Careers, a boutique careers consultancy which specialises in executive resume writing, LinkedIn Profile writing, interview coaching and personal branding.
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