Too many people live to blend into the woodwork, to be middle of the pack. Not outstanding enough that people try to knock them off balance, but not mediocre sufficient that their heads are on a chopping block.
These are the words I wrote in a LinkedIn post two months back, and it got me thinking. We need to take ownership of our future, and lurking in the background certainly will not do it.
In his monthly column for Insurance Nerds, Richmond-based employee engagement and internal brand communications expert Ben Baker shares his insights into how to communicate value effectively. Hence, people want to listen and engage. In the end, it’s about creating influence through trust.
In a recent online conversation about leadership and social media, multiple comments were made to the effect of: “if people do not take ownership online and show leadership, originality, and creativity within social media, why would we hire them in a leadership role within our company?”
Social media today is how you communicate your value. Whether as a person, a company, or an organization, people look to see how you act and react online long before they connect with you in person.
Social media is how we build credibility and trust; however, most people and organizations are doing it wrong.
They are either shouting from the rooftops, “look at me,” or they are lurking in the background, feeling that this is not how they want to engage or be noticed.
Both are a recipe for disaster.
When all we do is talk about ourselves and how wonderful we are, no one cares. When we lurk in the background and do not contribute, do not express opinions or ideas, the same thing happens.
What is needed is an approach where we demonstrate our knowledge while adding value to others.
There are many social platforms, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s focus on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the defacto social media platform of choice of business to business communication today.
With over 675 million members with 310 million of them using the platform monthly, 94% of B2B marketers distribute content through LinkedIn. Click on the link to find out why.
The big question is if LinkedIn is such a powerhouse, why do people and businesses lurk in the background? Why do they not develop content that is valued, shared, commented on, and leads people back to you for more discussion and action? The answer is relatively simple. Most people are afraid that their opinions are not as valuable as others.
This could not be further from the truth.
Social media is the great equalizer. Whether you are a business of one or one thousand, your opinion holds the same amount of weight online. Every person and every company have equal opportunity to add their thoughts to the mix, and with very few exceptions, all content is judged on its merit and not based on brand status.
All meaningful content is consumed, shared, commented, and acted upon because a specific audience values it and because those who put the content out there care enough to it to respond to comments and continually engage with their newfound audience.
This takes time, effort, and consistency to do well. It cannot be automated and remain consistent. Automation is viewed as contrived and not authentic. It is seen as a way to make more noise and does not build trust. Trust has developed one conversation at a time.
So why should you care?
Because billions of dollars of business happen through trust and engagement that is created every single year, and the numbers are growing. You do not sell on social media, but rather qualify buyers, enabling them to know you, understand your value to them, and inviting them to engage with you elsewhere.
Now is the time to create an authentic content creation strategy. It is a long-term play that will have dividends for years to come. It takes effort, and it is not easy, but in the end, those who do engage are the ones who genuinely want what you have to offer, see value in it, and have a desire to purchase it from you.