I really don’t intend to condescend my words, I really don’t. But there appears to be a major disconnect in the level of understanding among attendees about social media at social media conferences. I love newbs, I really do, and I love meeting rockstars; however, the disconnect is in the belief that we can’t build successful online brands and communities.
To better illustrate my seemingly harsh perspective on this, I will share a plausible story below from another attendee:
I have been told to learn this, “social media.” This is the place I’ve been suggested to go to to do it. I want to be able to sell these 1000+ widgets to my customers. I have no idea if my customers are on social media, but I think they are. So, my question is, how do you make money from social media?
The problem is quite clear. So many people are digging trenches in an effort to scratch the surface. Many attempt to find the big answer, the sly secret, the fast shortcut or the pragmatic approach to social media. It does not exist.
I totally don’t fault that person in any way for asking this question. If I was going to a real estate conference I would probably be caught asking the same thing to other professionals there. (This implies that I am professional, right? I digress…) But these isolated questions are a part of a growing trend. Many old-school marketers dance around this bush, of whom look for the one big secret … the same thing they’ve been chasing all their career.
I won’t tease you and say it’s buried in this blog entry, nor will I say you will necessarily find it at all. But I will let you know that there are best practices. There are multiple perspectives to a given scenario. There are many solutions. It is up to you, as a visionary, to see that. Absolutely nothing that Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Brogan, Chris Pirillo or myself can say which is a “right” answer. We, as social media and community leaders, have a different (but possibly similar) approach to addressing business questions.
The answer lies in your purpose. That is, if you want to hustle and deceive people, there are a multitude of solutions to accomplish that. For that, the experts will always happily advise, roll their eyes or sternly advise to “listen to your audience,” in an effort to steer you away from the industry. If you’re looking to inspire, connect and listen to your community [genuinely], then you can do that with the advice that the influential leaders share. Here is a secret you may not know … they all share the same advice, and it is working for them. It will work for you if you live, eat and breathe it.
In a future entries, I’ll share more insight about the good, the bad and the ugly in my experiences in social media. I think this will give you the perspective that you should know about me. I’ve made many gambles and risked many assets to do what I love, and I want to share the same passion I have with you.
While I think about this more introspectively, please share your honest questions or concerns in social media and I’ll make sure I address them. I am no expert, there is no expert in this field but I will be glad to share my qualified perspective for you. (Even as regular users, you can ask me just about anything, right now.)
[Image credit: E.Al-Sheikh on Flickr]