I am often asked how I benefit from using social media, what it is and how it came into being in the first place. As we speak, it soon becomes clear that the questioner has a specific goal, for example getting into account XYZ or winning a specific blogging or speaking engagement.
They see that I have some credible blogging gigs including Oracle, Miller Heiman, Maximiser, and CloudTech; get invited to present keynotes and am featured on lists such as Top Cloud Computing Blogs and EMEA top 50 influencers in Data Centres and Cloud & Data 2017; and they hope I can give them the golden key that opens the door to similar opportunities.
But when I answer, it’s not always what they expect to hear. I did not set out with a specific objective of getting onto Blog ABC, or speaking at event DEF. Instead, I set out with the overarching goal of expanding my reach and making selling easier. There was no specific goal.
What I have learnt on my journey is that one action often begets another that you were not expecting or planning for, and the degrees of connection that lead to this can be wide and far between, and often quite random.
You get out what you put in
For example, I may follow, like and share with a social contact who then becomes a connection. They then share my content on and others see it and perhaps follow me. They notice something I have presented at or a list I have been on, and reach out asking if I guest blog or speak at events. That then leads to a new gig.
Another example is I write a blog for a site that gets shared through its social channels and gets noticed by someone in the cloud community who then reaches out and asks for advice. I give out some value and two months later I get a call from someone else asking for help on a cloud project to whom I was recommended by my initial contact.
One thing you do begets something else unexpected and unplanned. Through this work I get more valued connections which raise my profile, and boost my social sharing in a more valuable community. As a result, a list is published on which I appear, but that I had no idea about. Through that you then get approached by others and the circle of social continues expanding.
The harder you work, the easier it gets
It gets easier and easier the more you contribute and put in, the more you focus on being known for a specific thing and staying true to the course!
So, is it easy and effortless? No. Is it worthwhile? In my experience, certainly yes.
I now receive outreach invitations for blogging, speaking, contributing to panels, commenting in the press, being a judge for a competition, and for non-exec positions. It has not happened overnight and if you expect to set up a social account and start getting easy results, unless you are already a celebrity it will not happen. It takes consistency, effort and ‘putting in to get back’. You need to contribute, to build your value, to get ‘known’ for something. You need to be consistently persistent and patient. Over time you will find it gets easier and easier, and you reap the benefit of your efforts.
Start by identifying what you want to be known for, something you are passionate about, where you have knowledge, experience and skills. An area where you can provide good commentary, where what you say can be of value to others. Start by following, sharing, commenting and contributing, and as you progress you will find you get followers, likes, shares, comments and opportunities of your own.
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