Having a background in teaching technology and business education, I am often asked a wide variety of tech support issues.  As of lately, it is regarding social media as it relates to business.  I’ve seen a few people rush to these sites and systems with little regard to how to interact appropriately there.  The idea strikes them that they may be able to find lots of new business clients, and maybe even talk some of their former classmates into being their next client.

What’s not appropriate:

If you were walking down the street, and I bumped into you – though we’ve never met, would you want to buy my latest fat loss product because I spouted some web-address at you?  Well, that depends.

On occasion, this approach may work.  Maybe you’ve been looking for just such an answer.  However, you really are more interested in me, in what I have to offer, in the relationship – than you ever will be in what the product or service is.  Save your link for when they ask, or make is accessible, but certainly don’t shout about it from a megaphone (unless the blatent approach is your preferred style).

What is appropriate:

Social media is about relationships.  It is about connection.  It is about information and value delivered. How you show up in Facebook or any other site is a reflection of you.  I show up to connect with former students, roomates, classmates, friends I see regularly, new friends I meet online online, and business connections.  One account, different uses.  However, I am seamless throughout.

Great example of social media in action:

In the past two months, I’ve connected personally with some amazing people.  As a result, we are developing businesses together all built through an online connection.  Dave Saunders, who is a friend offline, has referred me on to assist several others:

  1. Paul Buskager
  2. Chris Vaz
  3. Brian Vaz

I’ve invested into this great crew to develop their social media skills, and am hearing great success already beginning.  Though they may not have landed the huge contract at this moment, the door is opening for new relationships to start.  As these relationships build, they will learn whether what they have to offer is of value to their connections, and learn from others in the process.

I was blown away by what Paul shared:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF4Uve9rY98[/youtube]

All of the current projects I’ve got my hands in are being built from my living room, with help from sites such as Huddle, Skype, Facebook, and Twitter.  The actual projects at hand:

  1. Assisting in the development of http://yoursocialbrand.com
  2. Creating content for a soon to be announced online classroom to train others in How and Why to use social media.  I’ve added in step-by-step instructions for beginners through advanced users for a variety of platforms, and Dave Saunders is leading the program in uses related to personal branding in genuine connections.
  3. Creating several personal websites and social media accounts for others, and training on how to make use of it all
  4. Business website creation
  5. Planning an extensive online classroom for a business equipping course in March

All of these projects are entirely collaborated online.  At no point has it been absolutely necessary to meet in person to further these items.

Social Media is learning from each other continuously, interacting, and giving value to others. How are you showing up online?

Photo by:

charles river police - can you hear me now?
Creative Commons License photo credit: Paul Keleher

Being a Go-Giver in the social media world has become fun. Last week, I had the chance to get on a conference call with my company, featuring Bob Burg and Thom Scott. Bob’s teaching in “The Go-Giver”, co-authored with John David Mann, has had a great impact on my life.

For starters, I felt comfortable as a teacher in my classroom, but not in the professional arena beyond those walls. Transitioning that perspective change has been an interesting challenge. While attending a national conference, I happened to be on the same shuttle bus with Bob Burg, and shared a story of the impact of his book. I’d given a copy to a prominent businessman in my community, who in return gave out over a dozen copies to men that he mentors. Bob was delighted to hear this. I then relayed the story on Amazon.com’s site as my review of the book. In return, John David Mann thanked me on Facebook publically, and used my quote in his monthly newsletter. I may be having coffee with him soon in his travels through my town.

Last week, I had the great privilege to give of my talents at our regional conference by co-ordinating the tech needs. In giving of my skills, I was invited to a lite night supper with our company leaders. This was a rare invite, and such a great opportunity to learn from them. The next morning, at the hotel, I sat down with Bob Burg for breakfast before the conference began. Authors and motivational speakers that are accessible and authentic really speak well of their training.

Just a few days later, I jumped in on a call about Facebook, and social media. I thought I should thank the call hosts, Dwight Havener, Bob Burg, and Thom Scott for their leadership in this call. I then learned a few of these hosts were online, and they chatted with me in Facebook’s internet messaging client. To my surprise, Bob thanked me on the call for all to hear, positioned me as one that knows Facebook and being a Go-Giver. This really is a shock to me, as I’m working through the transition into my professional posture beyond a classroom. What I’m learning though is that the world is my classroom, and I will give what I can for those that want to learn. As a computer teacher and tutor for all ages, I keep up with social media, and am assisting a social media online classroom that introduces how to set up accounts and get started. I am constantly connected, and love connecting with others across these systems, as well as helping them get the most of their experience there. The full class rolls out in about 2 weeks, but the introduction content is available on http://www.yoursocialbrand.com.

Today, I noticed in Facebook that Thom Scott, managing partner of Burg-Scott Communications was cataloging a list of books. I suggested the site http://www.librarything.com, and described why it is useful – giving value. Funny how normal this is for me. I’ve begun learning, finally, that as a teacher not in the typical classroom, I still have a way of giving resources and value in unexpected ways. Thom’s reply was: “Thanks Courtney. Why do I feel like you’re gonna be my new techie resource best friend? ;-)”. I love helping, and look forward to being a resource in any way I can.

While all this is going on – I’m using Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/courane01) to give value to other great connections, commenting in Facebook, and suggesting connections in various online and offline platforms and places. I’ve been listening to Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, and see that leading online requires a go-giver approach. All this to say, success comes not by fame, but by serving. In that – opportunity happens.

Places to check out:

Tribes, by Seth Godin, is a great listen. I’ve been watching my tribe on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, FriendFeed, or the countless other social sites so intertwined into my life – and wondering, when will conversion hit? How can I give more in value to the Tribe following me, and at which point do I see a conversion into building my business? How do we best develop that leader of the Tribe needed in social media, and practice being a “Go-Giver”?

Simply creating a large group of friends in any social site is not enough. This is no different than walking in to a crowded room and standing around. On some level, the mass crowd of people may be aware that you are there – but they have no connection with you, or me. To stand out and lead the tribe, it is necessary to engage and interact. Strike up conversations, share links, ask questions, and be yourself authentically. It is good to push the envelope some, be a bit over the top, and above all, step out in faith that you can lead this tribe.