I am honored to give so many presentations to so many diverse groups. For some reason, I get numerous requests from local Rotary Clubs. They are some of the most friendly, giving and fun people that I have ever met… but they are hungry to learn about the hot topic of Social Media and I had to learn HOW to better communicate with them. The first Rotary presentation I did, I thought I knocked it out of the park! Then, I had only one question at the end of that… “WHY?”! What became obvious to me is that these mostly retired 50-80 year old people were incredibly relational with life long friendships and a desire to make the community better, but the new fangled Social Media tools are just not making sense to them. It's not that they didn't understand the principles… it's just the technology and why it's important escapes them. They want to do a coffee, or call, not tweet or text you!
In the last two blog posts we discussed What is a Brand and how to Brand your Business via Social Networking. In this post we will explore how your personal brand in Social Networking is the most important ingredient in building an on-line brand.
Personal Brand Reputation
Have you ever Googled yourself? What comes up first? Well that depends on you! If you are using Social Media tools like Linked-In, Twitter, Google Plus to their potential, then your name will come up first. If you have a fairly common or famous name, then this becomes a bit more of a challenge… (but most of us don't). LinkedIn is often number one because of the amount of traffic it gets. This is what makes Social Media so important to your personal brand.
Authors know this. You can have the best book in the world and a slick website to promote it… but get it listed in Amazon.com and your name or book title jettisons to the top of the Google search. That's because you are associated with a website that has millions of visits a day and your name can be found on it!
Personal vs Business Posting
I often hear people say “I just want to post as my business… I don't want to do anything as myself”. What they are really saying is “I just want to advertise my business” and that's a big mistake. People don't network with your business… they network with you! People do business with people. Your business is a vehicle for commerce. When people Know, Like, and Trust YOU… they are comfortable doing businesses with YOUR business!
People are connected through emotions and life events. Connections can be initiated as family, friends, business partners, your kids friends parents, and in so many other ways. The strongest connections are through associated interests; kids, pets, high school or college, church, music, movies, or something that has an emotional component. Relationships devoid of passion and emotion are transactional… like the difference between buying a cup of coffee from McDonald's or a neighborhood barista.
Building a Personal Brand
So creating that connection takes a little risk and effort. That means you have to share and connect with people all around you. What's important to you? You and your likes, hobbies, talents, passions are the reason that people want to connect with you… not your products or services. If you volunteer, have pets, restore antiques, play sports, eat bacon… people can relate with that!
By posting pictures, text, articles, and things that are important to you on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or in a blog or website, opens the door for conversations, interactions, comments, and relationships. If you post about you products and service or business all the time, that tells people you care more about their money, than them!
My dog Buddy Guy does not have his own website, Twitter account, or Facebook group, but when I post a picture of him… it's an immediate connection with people who have pets. People walk up to me and ask me about him. I even have some friends that bring him treats who have never met him. It's a connection that endures!
Building personal relationships is the cornerstone of building business! So why would you not want to invest in others who can help you? That takes commitment, because relationships are a two way street. You laugh with them, you cry with them, you help them first without expectation of reciprication and you invest in them by being a resource, a sounding board, but mostly a friend.
So What's In It For You?
Everything and Nothing. Ultimately… It's Not About You!
In a prior post I described a book by my friend and mentor Al Ritter (a business coach who works with the best of the best) who generously gives me time and advice while expecting nothing in return. People and relationships are your greatest asset in business. Think about it? Your best customers recommend you because they believe and evangelize your efforts.
What's In it for you? Being you and connecting on a real and emotional level, will help to create lasting relationships, referral partners, evangelists, and eventually… business.
I know this is the antitheses of what we are taught about building a brand… but in a small to medium sized business, relationships are priceless!
Social Media starts with SOCIAL for a reason. It's about relationships. The internet has changed everything. I love and respect those Rotarians who have the right priciples and expectations… but the technology is the NEW methodology. People Google everything and read the testimonials and reviews to determine right choices. They value friends opinions more than strangers. Being you, human and accessible is a challenge, takes effort, and maybe even risky… but it's what people have come to expect!
I know this is semi-against the grain and I would love to hear your thoughts and insights. Comment Away!