It's such a beautiful day and the sun is beckoning me for a long walk. I'm going to listen to it but first I want to share some thoughts with you.
I've had writer's block this week. I had trouble fixing on something that inspired me to put digital pen to paper. I've had flashes of ideas (you should see the started posts on Blogger) but I've not been able to crystallize the "aha!" in a meaningful way... Until I came upon that RT by David Alston (aka @davidalston), the VP of Marketing and Community at Radian6 (a nifty company).
I've a funny little story to tell you. I started following someone on Twitter some time ago. I liked her tweets and RT on some of the same webinars (and simultaneous tweets). She'd always start the day with something bright and shiny and then fire off content through the day and into the night. Staying power is an understatement! One day, in response to a cheery note, I thanked her for her bright sunshiny-ness. A few minutes later, she invites me to connect on LinkedIn which I accepted with a request to chat live "in the spirit of multi sensory connecting." She quickly responded that while that would be lovely, she's in the middle of buying and selling a home, extremely busy and not available for two to three weeks. I said I understood and wished her well in her house adventures.
Since that day, I have continued to build a network, meet new partners in person or over the phone, connect new partners with others, share information and land some great opportunities at the same time. Since that day, I have watched her tweet constantly from morning through night (love TweetDeck). Very few of those tweets had to do with an impassioned selling of her home. Lest you think I was obsessed, it was impossible to have TweetDeck running without seeing at least one of her tweets in a fifteen minute block of time. It got to the point where I wondered how she was tweeting and eating, doing laundry, maintaing personal relationships, etc. It also got to the point where I realized that she was either quoting some inspirational speaker or retweeting someone else. Not valuable to me but maybe to others and I've stopped following her.
I just re read that paragraph and it seems like my feelings were hurt. No, I really do think this was comical. Truly. I've learned, late in this career game, the difference between the "me" story and the "you" story. There's so much pressure to get this social media thing right, to tweet at the "right" time, the "right" way to get others to RT your 140 character tome, to use hashtags effectively, to get your "personal brand" out there, to create buzz, to create buzzworthy social objects, to be a Chief Editorial Officer (quoting Brian Solis), etc. It can border on obsession especially for people who are perfectionists and need to get everything right the first time.
Sometimes, I feel that Twitter is like a room full of hundreds of people shouting stuff at the same time not unlike commodities trading pits of yore with paper flying everywhere and people growing hoarse. And, this is what I feel this woman is doing to elevate her profile and develop a following. You've got to tweet and retweet (and make sure it's good!) to get some momentum. Hey, she's running a business and this is absolutely a part of it and which is not unlike this blog.
I may never be a Mitch Joel, a Joseph Jaffe or a Jay Baer and may never have thousands following me on Twitter or reading my posts. I've made my peace with that. They have the luxury of speaking to many now based on their many hours of hard work and their excellent insight and value they've brought to clients. To get to where they are now tweeting to many, they made it a "you" story. As I mentioned in my last post, just because it's online, doesn't mean you cut in line to get there. And I think many of us forget that very salient point.
Which brings me to the title of this post. The personal and the brand story I deliver should always be all about you the listener and/or customer to truly be successful, to truly be meaningful and, to truly earn a role as a "trusted advisor" in the long term. I may be cute and I may occasionally deliver a bon mot but none of that ever matters if my focus isn't laser honed on the person with whom I'm having the conversation.
The personal touch matters. The listening matters. The focus matters. The authenticity matters. What you bring to the table as a marketer in response to the listening also matters. Relationships are not one sided; they are borne of the value shared and the trust earned by both parties. If I am effective as a marketer in delivering what you need and I treat you the way that you require to be satisfied, I earn your loyalty as my customer and maybe, if I'm lucky, you'll tell a few friends or strangers.
Which is why I've got no choice but to pound the meaningful networking/connecting pavement beyond what I write here, tweet or RT. I've no choice but to speak via either email (but preferably phone) and then in person to see how I can be a good partner to someone. Sure, it takes work and time. But, I'm not complaining. The road to being seen as someone's "trusted advisor" is paved with these steps. And, the scenery is great!
What's your take? Please send me your thoughts.
p.s. Some footage of a trading pit to illustrate my point!