As I was prepping to interview someone a while back it dawned on me how powerful social media is as a research tool. With more and more people and companies connecting to social media everyday, it’s creating a whole new level of transparency. For example, with Facebook, Twitter, Linked, and blogs, I can learn so much about an individual that it makes me feel like I actually know them. In fact, there was a quote I heard awhile back from Carrie Wilkerson @barefoot_exec that states: “It’s not what you know, or who you know, or who knows you, but who feels like they know you”.
Transparency Fosters Authenticity
It’s is because of this transparency that we are seeing great things happen as it relates to how folks leverage social media. Many individuals and companies are hoping to build their company and personal brands. They are sharpening their skills, reading books and blog posts to source content, and most importantly, leveraging their social influence to do good. With so many folks trying to develop a strong personal brand and companies exposing more information about how they do business, it can only be good. Of course, folks could abuse this and misrepresent themselves as we have seen in the media.
5 Ways Social Media Builds a Better Community
1) People are Becoming Better Speakers: Everyone recognizes the power of public speaking to build their brand and to educate the noobs. With so many events, meetups and professional organizations looking for speakers on social media marketing and case studies, there has been tremendous opportunity for folks to sharpen their skills. Although, I have seen my share of bad speakers and presenters here, for the most part it seems to be improving. Not only is this great for those individuals and their companies, but this is also better for the overall digital marketing profession as folks look to create innovative topics and experiences. Toastmasters is your friend here if you would rather get a root canal than speak to a group.
2) Written Communication Skills Are Improving: Both the young and old are becoming citizen journalists or just using it as a medium to talk about their day to day lives. As a blogger, it can be time consuming to generate content, test topics and keywords against the Google Wonder Wheel and Adword keyword tool, and then proofread and edit for clarity. For those that are actually creating video and podcast magnify that times 5-10x in terms of time and complexity. This is why I have such respect for those that blog on a regular basis. I encourage you to purchase a copy of The Elements of Style as well.
3) Generousity and Positivity Abound: To borrow a line from “Jerry McQuire”, it used to be “You Had Me At Hello”. Now it’s you had me at “Retweet”, commenting on my blog, or actually letting me guest write on your more popular blog to help me get awareness and subscribers on my blog. Granted some of these transactions offer benefits in return to the one who is being generous,but it still helps the overall community. I have always been a big believer in self development and the Power of Positive Thinking. Thanks to social media, I can just login to Twitter or Facebook and get motivational and spiritual quotes from hundreds of Tweeple, all thanks to the power of TwitterFeed and TweetLater.
4) Social Causes Are Getting Much Further Reach: It appears everyone wants to be associated with helping out a charity by either retweeting it, blogging about it, speaking about it or personally championing the cause by put a Twibbon on their profile image. Fortunately charities are recognizing this and creating blogger outreach campaigns and innovative widgets and profile badges to let folks showcase their cause. The increased level of the social web is also fostering creativity and innovation as it relates to national debates such as healthcare, middle east political issues, and awareness of fishfood like Joe Watson and Kanye West.
5) People are Becoming Community Builders: While I have always felt I was somewhat effective at rallying people around a cause and soliciting their help and or resources(funding), this skill is critical in bringing professionals together around a common goal. Social media enables anyone to build a community. Organizations such as LaidoffCamp, BarCamp, WordCamp, and Social Media Clubs, demonstrate how volunteers and leaders are coming together for something they believe in. These groups offer education and networking and tend to be very inclusive.
My Personal Brand Tenets
What do you all think?
Mike D. Merrill (@mikedmerrill)
Mike Merrill is Professional Speaker, Digital Strategist and Passionate about Business Growth and Product. He serves as an Enterprise Account Executive for Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. Mike also found the Social Media Club of Dallas.