I published a book so I need you to read it
There’s something you need to read, so I wrote about it.
See the difference? Seth Godin called it the enthusiasm of commerce, not of belief and pride.
One has me-centric, the other you-centric motivations. With so many more individuals and organizations actively online, some days it looks and sounds like Times Square in New York City. Except for it's becoming harder to tell the billboards from the genuine desire to connect, when in a rush.
As Peter noted in our conversation on 90 minutes, things may end up not being timed right for some reason - but just for the author. For everyone else, the 90 minutes only starts from when they needed to know it.
And this is where the gymnastics of business comes in - being out there, embracing change in all its messiness for the sake of finding that one opportunity to make a connection before having a connection.
Is it in the way you position? How many people do you need to follow and be followed back by before you start promoting your stuff? Is it alright to promote, or should I just resign myself to talking about my stuff as little as possible? When I talk about my stuff nobody links to it or retweets, why? How come there are some who can talk about their products freely? Why are people interested in what they have to say? How do I get there?
This is the first in a three-post series that will address some of the most frequently asked questions I get about marketing and social media.
Actions do speak louder than words, and, in digital environments, you have the ability to observe individual and group behavior. When you see someone who is able to promote their activities in your view effortlessly, you don't consider that they are balancing self-promotion with community building.
If you take the time to note what they do, you will find that often there is a direct correlation between working on a project that benefits an industry, giving back to the community, or organizing great experiences of learning and networking for others, and the attention they are earning.
You know that a testimonial provided by a third party is much more powerful than something you'd say about yourself. You also know that getting those nice testimonials from others is directly tied to the experience they have if you - your work, your services, and your attitude.
It's no different in digital spaces and social media.
Businesses, like individuals, need to get to the point where they can justify adding involvement in new ways as part of their marketing and customer relationship efforts. The ability to promote what you're working on is part of that - and ironically, part of the sustainability of the very tools we hold in such esteem as to dedicate endless posts to using them.
Believing in what you do matters
A couple of weeks ago, I shared more details about my experience explicitly in a post rather than in a bio page. I've been giving away tons of knowledge, information, and helping others make connections consistently over the span of my career, and visibly online in the last ten years.
That and what I know make me very valuable to your business. I have no problem saying that, as long as I can back it up with facts. The other layer is that I am passionately in love with connecting ideas and people - getting the execution part going, connecting the dots, helping businesses create, helping design businesses. These are layers where PR, marketing, communications are weaved depending on the type of conversation. The overall outcome makes up what we call brand.
These functions are never neatly packaged in a diagram, unless you're looking at them from the inside out as part of an exercise to parse resources. They are in constant flux, just like on a wave.
Whether you're a business or an individual, there are a number of ways you can broaden the context in which you operate and be generous towards your customers, colleagues, and friends without compromising your values, giving away the secret recipe - or the shop. It starts with clear communications and honest dialogue.
What kind of connector are you?
The difference really is in the call to action. Surprise, surprise. Asking for the order has its place in the mix and it's at the end of a meaningful journey - whether that be one tweet, or a thousand email exchanges, phone calls, and in person chats. The conversion depends on the other party.
Where are they in the buying cycle? By buying I also mean being alert for opportunities to refer someone for a project, for example, or for a job, both of which are very important. I think you'd agree with that. Honestly, much of the problem resides with the terminology being beaten down into the center of the earth.
Promotion is part of business. If you're a consultant, you are the product. The problem is another one entirely. The issue is that there is a lot of talk and so far many who are doing the doing are too busy doing to talk about it in social media circles.
The doing part is harder because it involves changing old habits and a lot more due diligence, research, lab thinking, and some failing, too. Self-promotion is bad when you're sleazy and have nothing to back it up - experience, execution, even passion and attitude count.
It's all in the performance.
I told you about my passion for speaking. Kim Wood backs up my performance publicly.
You should probably check out Jeff Turner as well. If you are in the Philadelphia area, and need to speak with someone knowledgeable about real estate, you should give Kim a call. She's good people. And I'm not just saying that to scratch her back. I've read her messages, heard her talk, talked to people who worked with her. You get the drift.
Doing something remarkable will make people talk about you. Getting results will prompt customers to refer you to others. When you help professionals in your network with business referrals, the network itself will consider you more valuable. The new (because of social media, more obvious) gymnastics of business require you to make your activities even more of a balancing act. That's because these tools are amplifiers - they will highlight what you do and magnify it.
Next post, we'll talk about the second part of the issue: scale.
How many referrals do you make in a day/week/month? When you meet other professionals, how do you engage? Have you found ways to balance promotion with community building? What's your story? Why do we need to hear about it?
If you'd like to read stories of people and what they are looking for, or want to share yours, we have a page for that here. It's here, so it can be all about you.
[image by Faeryan]