The more immersed I am professionally and personally in social media, the less I self-identify as a social media professional. It’s interesting because when I left my last job in the book world, I advertised that I was “social media curious” and was aching to do something in that space. I had no idea what that would look like, but I knew that I needed to be there.
Fast forward to now. You all know that my major concentration at Jolkona is social media—it’s so core to my position that it’s 50% of my title. But social media is also part of my “non work” life. You can see an example of that right here on my blog and how you can always find me on Twitter.
So here I am, sitting on the top of my social media empire. Someone who learned the skills and is making an impact in the space, and yet I don’t want to self-identify* as just a social media person.
Why? Because social media is a tool—a channel, a platform. What is more important than the tools you use is what you do with them.
Here’s what I do through the content that I write and share across social media channels, personal and professional: I promote, I market, I provide customer service; I connect, I network, I build relationships; and I show up virtually and in-real-life. More importantly: I write, I edit, and I share. All the time.
Social is inherently social
Last night I started reading The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith. I barely read through the introduction before the authors blew my mind with this quote on page xiv:
It is clear from our research that, in contrast to what you may think, promoting a personal goal is inherently social. To be successful, you must translate your passion into a powerful story and tell it in a way that generates “contagious energy,” so that your audience reflects on your tweet, blog post, or email, long after they leave their computers.
Read between the lines: your audience is your friends on Facebook/Twitter/YouTube/the-next-great-social-network, etc. and your friends in real life.
Remember the giving campaign I launched back in December? Through the help of you, my readers, and my friends across Twitter, Facebook, and real life, we blasted through that goal in 3 weeks and EXCEEDED the goal by supporting 6 moms and newborns in India. (My goal was to only support 5 mothers and newborns–which reminds me, I will write a blog post to recap that soon.) Yes, I could have reached that goal by promoting my campaign offline, and if doing so, I would have used the same strategy and techniques to promote it that I did online.
Social starts with you
One of the best pieces of advice that I received during my first internship is that everyone has to learn how to market themselves. (Thank you, LRC.)
You are the only person who knows what you’re passionate about, who can help you reach your goals, when to approach them, and how to deliver the message. You know what your motivations are and what the motivations are of others that will help turn a conversation over coffee into action.
But you have to start with knowing who you are and socialize from there.
Everyone can be is his or her own advocate and social media is another medium that can help amplify your message.
Questions for you:
If you work in the social media space, do you self-identify as a social media professional?
Or, if you use social media in your personal life, what role does it play? Do you even know why you have a Facebook profile or are on Twitter?
I’m with you. I think that if you’re a Gen Y’er and you use social media in your job a lot, you can just assume that everyone is. Thus, there’s no need to self identity as a “professional” in this field. I think more jobs/businesses are headed that direction. I’m sure you type each day, but you’re not a typist.
Very good points all around. nnI like the idea of an open leadership model, one where every one is empowered to “type” and therefore feel comfortable “typing” on behalf of the organization. It’s a perspective and approach that is new to be and encouraging a shift in what I manage professionally. We’ll see how this works in execution 🙂