I had lunch with the ever-inspiring social media consultant Mark Schaefer yesterday. The hour was jam packed with all sorts of advice and really cool stories. He was kind enough to provide guidance on both the personal branding and corporate marketing fronts.
He said several things I jotted down in my notebook – when he speaks, you just listen and absorb. I tried my best to do both.
He made a few key points I’m going to share.
First, in the way of personal branding.
I confided in him that at times blogging scares me. Before I go to “publish” a post I become paralyzed and paranoid. Is there a typo? Am I writing something that people actually care about? Is this dumb? Does this even make sense? Should I just not post this? (is anyone else feeling me here?)
I spend a few minutes in this stream of thought until I finally talk myself into posting the darn thing. Whew.
Mark’s response: Be courageous. Blogging takes courage. You are sharing your thoughts/ideas/opinions – some people may like it, others may not. But, have confidence in yourself as a writer and marketer. If you never post it, you’ll never know.
He gave this example of a post that he wrote on his blog. It wasn’t anything profound, but one of the most read posts with over half the comments from people stating: “I thought the same thing – thanks for writing this!” Mark’s thought: “Why didn’t you? Why didn’t you write it?”
If you have a thought or feel a certain way, blog about it, because chances are others are thinking the same thing they just may not have the guts/time/capability to write it and get it out there.
Other nuggets of wisdom from Mark: Build your brand and have confidence doing it. Be you. Let your personality shine through. A blog post is not a PhD thesis. Be consistent (post once a week on the regular).
In short, he encouraged me to — go for it!
Second, on the corporate marketing front.
In our convo yesterday, he reiterated a point he makes in his book, Social Media Explained (do yourself a favor and read it), and asked “does your company have an ‘Only we…’ statement?”
To take an excerpt from the book: “This is probably the hardest task in all of business but it’s absolutely essential because it unearths your points of differentiation, the nature of competition, the needs of your customers, and ultimately, your strategy.
Only we…are the biggest, smallest, the fastest, the every-day low price? Do you have the best service, the most experience, the largest selection, or the best location?”
Defining your “Only we…” statement touches every aspect of a business, including the social media strategy/approach. If a business can’t fill in the blanks of that sentence … yikes. (Side note – finishing this statement can be done on a personal level too – I think I’m still in the process of defining mine.)
If you’re in a company where that isn’t clearly defined – don’t give up hope. Continue to pitch and persuade senior leadership of the importance of starting this task. That’s where a third-party consultant can come in and help with the process.
I saw this quote on LinkedIn the other day: “The company without a strategy is willing to try anything.” (Michael Porter)
And with that, I am going to publish this post and not think twice about it. See, I got this.