Several years ago while working for a global corporation, I faced an unfortunate situation by using social media in my professional life that caused a crack in my reputation.
It was incredibly embarrassing to me professionally as I had pushed for our business unit and staff to be more aggressive in the space thinking that we needed to be using the platform more both personally and professionally.
At the time of the issue, I had recently read a New York Times Best Seller book on "Building Your Digital Brand".
The book was actually very education and basically outline why everyone and businesses needed to be using social media to gain attention.
I thought I understood the basics and focused on the immediate attention I assumed I needed, looking back now, I really didn't know how to tell stories properly within the context of business.
It quickly caused a crack in my reputation which I worked so hard to establish.
It's very uncomfortable even now for me to write this and be open about the situation.
Mostly because it was a big mistake and let's be honest no one wants to admit mistakes publicly.
But at this point in my life, I realize mistakes happen that will not ruin a career if you are willing to take responsibility, accept the consequences, learn from them and then leave it in your rear view mirror.
I'm still learning everyday.
I choose to tell my story for others to use as a learning tool and to know that you are not alone with this love / hate relationship with SM.
It certainly was a hard lesson to learn and ultimately motivated me to put time and energy into learning how to properly use social media effectually within the context of business and regain the momentum I had lost which lead me to ultimately reinvent myself and gain skills in areas I avoided.
Before you judge me, it wasn't inappropriate personally, it was a matter of sharing information on a business I had invested in as a personal safety net knowing the current business unit I fell under was being divested from the company.
However my timing and approach was wrong.
I lacked patience, communication and confidence.
So let me get into lessons I learned and ways to avoid those mistakes.
Why executives and business owners don't maximize social media:
I understand first hand all of the above but also know the massive benefits to learning the tools and putting great effort into creating and sharing content the proper way will help bring positive attention to them and their business.
How Important Is SM in how we communicate in 2016?
I was recently in a Panera Bread in a retirement community for a lunch meeting and after the meeting I stayed around to get some work done and use their WiFi.
I notice around me there were ten people (I counted) all senior folks 60+ having a coffee or probably just wanting to be out of their homes and around other people.
Out of the 10, nine of the people were staring at their cell phones, the 10th person was napping (Seriously).
Based on my personal Facebook feeds, I know my parents, aunts, uncles and connections within that demographic are fully engaged watching and commenting to what their kids, grandkids and friends are doing all day long.
Most don't post their own content but rather share, like or comment on others.
FB I'm sure is still intimidating to them but keeps them connected to their friends and families more so than ever before.
That connection is what keeps them engaged.
I know my Panera friends we doing the exact same thing that afternoon, except of course the sleeping guy.
Benefits To Properly Using All Social Media Tools:
So what are the solutions for executives, business owners or anyone who needs help in this space?
There are certainly benefits to each option depending on how you like to learn and time commitment.
There are a lot more books available now that cover both the why and how which are great on audio tape as well.
"Likable Social Business" by Dave Kerpen is one of my favorites.
Online courses offered on Udemy have plenty of classes which are user friendly, can be taken at your own pace and can be used as a refresher as many times as needed.
Subscribe once and the class is yours forever.
The last option is a a lot more inclusive and a greater investment, think of it as a personal assistance.
Only you know how much your time is worth.
This option can costs anywhere between $100 and $5,000 per month depending on the services or length of assistance you need but will change over time as you understand and become more comfortable using the apps yourself.
How Can A SM Coach Help?
It's just the beginning.
We are part of the cultural shift in how people communication, watch live events, consume the news, book travel, buy products, etc.
Some of you will remember what happened when the TV came to market in the 50's and people stopped listening to their shows on the radio.
Most of you will remember what happen to ABC, CBS and NBC when cable was installed in your house.
Look what happened to the radio industry?
Today look at what is happening to cable TV, newspapers, magazines, home phones and direct mail.
Think about your daily routines on how you find out scores, local news, weather, events, entertainment or the new restaurant in town?
Chances are it's not from a newspaper delivered to your door.
It's All About Attention!
Attention is in our pockets and hands of the 14 billion cell phones in the world.
An average of 4 hours a day is spent on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Texts, YouTube,
WhatsApp, taking selfies or creating stories on SnapChat.
80% of websites are explored on cell phones
85% of 25 year olds don't subscribe to cable TV
When was the last time you even took a call from a number you didn't recognize?
What I Learned
The valuable lessons I learned turned a very negative situation into a very positive skill set, which has massively grown my network, brought more attention to my business and ultimately resulted in new revenue streams.
Revenue actually wasn't the goal at the beginning of building my "Digital Brand".
Once I learned and applied my social media personality, after some time of putting out consistent daily content, new business (And Job) opportunities came to me naturally.
Why? Because I wasn't trying to sell anything, rather my goal was to help connect people, share content I liked, found interesting or funny.
By deciding to not shy away from social media, which took some time to catch my breadth and watch, rather I went all in with my chips to avoid repeating that issue and learn everything I could about this universe and what influencers were doing.
What You Can Do Today
We are living through the greatest moment in our lifetime to the shifting of media, communication and advertising consumption.
So I implore those hesitant to become a "chips all in users", which may be some of you to take small steps but at least start walking.
Embrace the ever changing social media landscape and enjoy all the incredible benefits it provides.
You should allocate time and resources to learn more, experiment, read books, take online classes, hire a SM coach to help fast track growing a following and master the art and science of SM.
The beautiful thing is you're followers will immediately let you know if you are providing them with valuable or interesting content.
But most of all, understand how to use SM properly and don't be afraid to use in an appropriate manner.
Find your SM personality and have enough self awareness and confidence to share your knowledge with the world.
Your rewards will be plenty with building relations, helping others, growing your network and ultimately learn how to stay out of the dog house!
I'm a 25+ year sports, media and entertainment executive and start up investor and advisor. I have published eBooks on practical tools; Utilizing Social Media For Your Business and The Global Business of Sports.
I am a guest speaker at college Sports and Media programs and assist brands, start ups, pro leagues, media groups, NBG's, Retail Chains with personal and business digital media strategy, social media management, unique activation concepts and event generating revenue.
Learn more about my background and how I can help you and your business at the above tab at SM Services.
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