Is there no ROI in smiling?


Image by dotbenjamin

What are people selling most of the time? Why do people buy from some people and why some people network better than others? Just saying it’s an inner thing or got in mother’s milk, is fooling yourself and hiding from the fact that you already know: you could be this kind of person too, if you just wanted.

Be positive. Consider this: You spend time and effort [and money] in making yourself known to other people; to customers, to possible partners, to people that you like to know better, but in the same time choose not to develop the best marketing benefit that is, yourself, your persona.

Is there no ROI in smiling?

Go to other people instead of waiting them to come to you. Why should other people come talk to you? What’s there so special in you that outpaces every other person in the room? You go to them and make their time with you worth their while.

Don’t be apologetic, and in the same time fear of being arrogant or false. This in public and in the Web, everywhere. Some people think they can fool us, but most of the time, they can’t. Fool once and stand the future that it brings.

Still, just excecuting these things isn’t enough. You have to internalize. Reading a great book or going to a seminar can be a spark, but to have a burning flame, you need continuous nurturing.

Make these a habit, let these things control you, not the other way around. You’ll notice that these grow energy, not take it.

So once again: What are people always selling?

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No Matter the Field, It’s About Having a Map

Yesterday I read a post Socialgraphics Help You To Understand Your Customers at http://www.web-strategist.com when it hit me: no matter what are your interests, it’s not that much about them but taking concern the laws of social media.

In a slideshow shared in his blog post, Jeremiah addresses to five aspects of social media; Watching, Sharing, Commenting, Producing and Curating. This division is OK with this post’s idea, I’ve seen different variations, so let’s stick with it for now.

What’s important to understand here, is that it doesn’t matter if you are trying to use social media for marketing, self-development, making business or trying to find a job, most likely thinking with these following terms gets you where you are trying to go.

I’ve included two different example situations where you could apply the use of social media: self-development and getting a job. This time let’s forget the marketing aside and concentrate to these.

So, let’s see how those two fit in the previous thinking:

Watching

Self-development: YouTube videos about your interests (for example Photoshop tutorials), Twitter updates (useful links, insights etc.) from people you’ve found interesting, reading blogs from your peers etc.

Getting a job: Search groups and go through them, for example LinkedIn Job Search or if your in the mobile business places like www.wirelessjobs.com could be a good place to scan through.

So basically what you are doing is seeing what the web can provide and leave to yourself.

Sharing

Self-development: Let’s say you wanted to develop your searching capabilities in the web and found Webdesignerdepot’s ” How to Find Anything Online: Become an Internet Research Expert” post and you know people in your network would appreciate knowing about this: you’ll post it to Twitter or Facebook.

Getting a job: What, if you’ve searched out jobs at LinkedIn and just happened to find a job description for Developer Programs Engineer at Google London [a real world example], but aren’t fit for it but know a friend who would be? Well, you hit the “Forward this job to a friend” link, right?

Also another thing  is that the information you share through different service also defines you. If a possible employer is enlightened enough [and living in the social media era] he can see what kind of content you are spreading on your Twitter account. If the content is very much related to the job description you are applying and she sees you are an active in discussions, how would you feel that affects to her view about you?

Sharing, is actually what many people do very automatically these days – and companies and newspapers and everybody else in the world –  and there can be more in-depth use for this. For example collaborating with some project with Google Docs. The downfall with open to all sharing is that it gets more complicated to find good content in the web, but there are ways for this too.

Commenting

Self-development: I’d urge to think if one could always give back if one has new information about learning things. This includes commenting to a blog that you found very helpful, or asking more questions from the blogger about the subject. Also discussion boards go under this.

Getting a job: Pretty much the same idea here, than in the previous sharing part. If you comment with your own name, it may sometimes rise in Google search. If you have left a positive trail behind you in your fields discussion boards or blogs, most likely it won’t be a bad thing.

Producing

Getting a job: Are you a photographer? How about setting up a Flickr account and posting your greatest shots collection there? You can even blog about the photos. If you are finding a steady photographer job after this, you have always a good place to show your material.

Self-development: If you are still that same photographer, how about sending you Flickr photos to one of the gazillion groups out there? Most likely someone will comment at least something, sometimes even asking with what settings you took it and how much you Photoshopped it.

Want to know how to take better picture? Find a picture you see is perfect and ask about. And remember to comment other peoples photos  too – it’s good to understand the concept of reciprocation.

Curating

Self-development: Start your own world of self-development like Henrik has done with The Positivity Blog.

Getting a job: Invest your time to a community that may become your job. Find one you’re passionate about  [maybe you already are there] and involve yourself more strongly. I’ve seen it happen, it may support you.

These are all of course just samples, the reality can be much deeper and complicated sometimes, but these could be a start. Once again, it’s about having a map and not going in blindfolded.

My Social Media Isn’t Your Social Media

The greatest thing in going out and meeting new people is that they are always a wonderful reference in showing you where you are with your thoughts, and teaching you that their thoughts aren’t your thoughts.

This is something that we all of course know in the basic level, but don’t often remember it before we again find ourselves in a situation where someone is acting differently that we usually would.

This is crucial for us so-certain-of-everything social media professionals to understand. People tend to use social media services differently and there’s really not a one real way to do things. It’s also creative and refreshing to speak with different people about them using social media, because you always hear about new ways you haven’t thought before – some are ‘good’ and some not that good.

So, instead of telling people how, we should make them more often ask the question why. Why do you do certain things with certain services in social media? And the reason cannot be simply “because one has to be there”.

This eventually comes to the need of having a strategy, which I think is as important with one’s personal success as with company’s. In these speedy times we tend to forget the reason, the goals behind our actions.

Here’s a simple checklist of thoughts to think while surfing in the wave of social media. These aren’t specifically social media related. I believe these are things that everyone who wants to achieve something should once in a while to ask themselves.

What am I trying to achieve with my current actions?

If I’m posting to my corporate Twitter account about how I’m “Doing a project”, does anybody care, really?

But posting “Contemplating a project for teaching #e-learning in rural schools in #Africa” instead [and maybe even using hashtags for helping people easier to find these topics], tells much more about you and your intentions and people who might be interested about e-learning and Africa might find you and start follow you – and if you are lucky, want to ask you more about these things. So remember to tell more about that issue in the future.

How’s my message?

We tend to sound different to ourselves than to other people. Ask someone, your friend, your partners, your customers or your mom; How do I seem/sound/feel like to you?

But once again, it’s up to you do you listen or not. Not everyone’s opinion matter and if you feel like your doing the right moves, stick with them.

Continuity (i.e. sticking with the story)

We are living in a story based society, or at least that’s what they are telling us everywhere. In a way that’s true and has always been with human beings from the dawn of times, but one has to really think what’s the story to tell.

One of the biggest benefits of continuity in your messages is that people tend to remember patterns better, instead of just single portions of different information. Also message that is lined with the previous ones “adds up” to the story being built – with a word “story” I don’t necessarily mean something fake or invented by the Creative Department.

How does being social benefit me?

What is the benefit of you blogging? Does it relieve your creative ambitions, is it just for fun, do you want to share your thoughts about your field of profession or show how good picture you can take?

If you can’t find any reason at all, you should really ask is blogging for me? But, here one should be cautious: It doesn’t necessarily mean that blogging is useless for you if you can’t think why to do it.

Search the web, what other people in your field of interest or profession are doing, ask your friends who are “socially fluent” so or ask a professional.

Use common sense

If you don’t know what to do in the web in some situation, ask yourself, how would you act in real life?

I’ve now faced a couple of times questions like “Who should I recommend in LinkedIn?” or “Should I go comment to someone’s blog if they have said something about me or about my company?”.

Think these in terms “Would I recommend this person in my normal life, is he or she worth it, do I really know her enough?” or “Do I want to show as a company that I care what people say about me?” and if it’s something good they’ve said “How would I feel if a company that I have praised in my blog would all of a sudden thank me directly in my blog?”.

Be polite

The web is currently a place easily get kicked in the head for small things or even nothing. But those who will answer to this kind of behavior with politeness and reason, are those to eventually survive another day. The web has a long memory and people are often more forgiving than people even consider themselves to be.

Like I wrote in the beginning of this post, if you can invent X variations of how to use social media tools, listening to others may get you to a whole different place, 10 times. So why not learn from others.