I was giddy and excited to be at a conference last year that had tons of social media strategists that did exactly what I did. Finally, it was my opportunity to be around people who understood what it was like to field thousands of tweets, Facebook messages, etc. from fans while staying cool under pressure. Finally, I was around my peers that I could not find within my own company since I was a social media department of one. Then, a lovely attendee heard about my blog, turned to me and said, “I don’t have a blog because I actually do work.”
My eyes widened. Looking back, it’s a pretty damn good thing that I had a million other things going on during that conference (like a real-time crisis on social with the brand I worked for). Otherwise, I probably would have been more on the ball to just shoot something snarky right back at him.
A year later, I think his statement is even more asinine than I thought it was then after reading an article that said true social media experts don’t have time to manage their own social media profiles and don’t respond to social inquiries because..dum dum dum...they are actually doing work. WTF?!
It is imperative to network in social media so you can learn from others in the industry. Through networking you’re able to get new ideas around social media and see how other companies are structuring their teams. If you’re in a box where you think you don’t have to have a public presence, you are missing out on a plethora of opportunities to enhance your brand’s social media presence through other’s learnings.
By having a consistent online voice, you gain credibility in the industry. You create a rhythm and tone of voice that is unique to you that people will come to expect and (hopefully) love. This will be incredibly handy if/when you need a new job, or when you are seeking new clients. Trust is everything in social media.
With social media being such a new industry, it’s imperative that knowledge is shared within the industry so we can all grow and solidify it as an important medium. If you are selfish and keep your star strategies and learnings to yourself, you are doing your own industry a major disservice.
One of the #1 reasons to be heavily involved in personal social media is so that you can have the insider’s view of how fans use social media networks. How can you possibly write an effective social media strategy if you don’t have the fan-view of all of the networks? When I first started in social, there were few how-to’s out there as it was a brand new industry. I learned a lot of what jump started my career by playing around on the networks and becoming a consumer.
Fueling Your Passion
Let’s face it, posting for a brand day-in and day-out can become monotonous and not everything that goes out for the brand is representative of what you, as a person, would have wanted to do with that content (especially if you work for a large corporation). Having a personal brand allows you to express yourself and stay passionate about social media. You are able to test out strategies, fearlessly write and try out innovative ideas that might not have caught up with your company yet. Owning your personal brand allows you to ignite a fire within yourself.
So, I imagine said conference-guy to be reading through this shaking his head vehemently ‘no’, and creating some rather compelling argument to each of my points. That’s fine. His opinion is based on his experience, and mine is based on my experience. Neither of us are right/wrong, but I can tell you that there are numerous advantages to putting yourself out there on social media, especially if that’s the industry you’re in. It opens amazing, incredible doors that allow to create even more compelling strategies.
-Marji J. Sherman