Substitute the word blog with Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, etc. Now that we got that out of the way, what's your business?
Some version of this conversation has been in my head for a while.
In the last couple of years I've gotten many questions about my participation in social media by people who thought I marketed myself successfully and wanted to figure out what it would do for them.
As an important aside, this is a question I often get from women. Because let's face it, women tend to be less self-promotional and activities like blogging, tweeting (or twittering), LinkedIn networking, the Facebook community, etc. are seen as a solid step in the self-promotional department.
The question they're really asking is: how do you not only gain exposure with the blog through awareness building... how do you actually drive business?
To answer it properly, I'll let you in on a secret.Why I do it
My first answer when someone asked me years ago -- why do you blog? -- was "to connect ideas and people." That's an outcome of the activity, it's me meeting part of one of my declared goals, not the reason.
The reason why I blog is that I'm a pragmatic, purpose-driven thinker, and I need a place where to hone my craft and grow professionally -- I do it for me. I could keep a log somewhere. If I did that, I would lose your perspective -- in the comments, reactions (links, tweets, email questions) -- my learning from it, and my accountability. Sharing has a way of upping the ante. I like that.
Like everything else I do, this activity has an objective, a few SMART goals attached to it, and a strategy.
To recap, in simpler terms: I'm passionate about sharing (intent) what I know (motivation), and with it who I am (core values) to become a better version of myself (big audacious objective), which leads to opportunities for the business I'm in (goals), through the activities I participate in (strategy).Outcomes of how I do it
On the path to becoming a better version of myself -- mind you, I like me just fine now -- I create opportunities to let situations and people inform my thinking.
I use speaking engagements, choice articles, eBooks, this blog, #kaizenblog chat on Twitter to help people and businesses think through the steps they need to form their own strategies and succeed -- talk does change our lives. Connecting ideas and people is the broad term I use for commerce.
I'm most interested in spreading more ideas, connecting more people, so they can drive more action for their business. These are the results I seek. My own outcomes are more opportunities to speak, write, share -- speaking, writing, sharing begets more of it, and in turn more business.
I built one of the first social networks with Fast Company as a lab to test ideas and get them done. I experimented with content to get the right mix and balance of professionals -- corporate, consulting, service providers -- to make it work.
How to drive action with social media without chest thumping
Contrary to common belief, you don't have to spend all day on Twitter or your social network of choice talking about yourself to drive action. It's not about the tools. It's about proper alignment.
You do the work, master your craft, and communicate the benefits of your project, product, or service in the places where your likely clients are. Mastery and communication -- in balance. The best work you can do, plus the clearest path to signing up for it, so the people who want what you have can opt in.
That's how you drive action without chest thumping.
With social media, you engage the social aspects. Which means you integrate and connect everything you do, share across channels (preferably where your likely customers are), test things (formats, messages, incentives, timing), and build on what works.
Think about ways to capture testimonials while you share your narrative. Let others recommend you.
I use the blog as my hub and integrate other outposts as needed. Because I have a strategy and align the content to drive action around it, other blogs and networks that pull this content for their own uses don't get the same benefits I do.
Meryl Streep received 16 Academy Award nominations, winning 2, and 25 Golden Globe nominations, winning 7. Her work has also earned her 2 Emmy Awards, 2 Screen Actors Guild Awards, 1 Cannes Film Festival award, 4 New York Film Critics Circle Awards, 5 Grammy Award nominations, 1 BAFTA award, 1 Australian Film Institute Award and 1 Tony Award nomination, amongst others.
What does she work on?
Do you have a hard time tooting your own horn? Why? What would help you get passed that perception? Do you invest time wanting to deconstruct how someone else is doing it and wanting to be like them?
Next week we'll talk about a case study on how to use social media to get your message out to the world.
Bonus reading:Meet 5 Entrepreneurs who Run Circles Around Social Media Gurus
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.