I must confess to being rather introspective this time each year. Perhaps more this year as I chose to go completely outside my comfort zone and utilize a new set of weapons that is social media.
There were three major lessons that I learned this year that shaped my online strategy
Lesson 1: If the old adage of “It’s not who you know . . .it’s who knows you” is true; I was screwed big time. I found that out the evening I decided to take my head out of the sand and run a Google search on Paul Castain. It wasn’t pretty! 3 results to be precise and nothing to make you say “Nice brand dude!” It sure wouldn’t sell the book I’ve wanted to write my whole life either. Quite frankly, the thought of that provided me with a roller coaster of emotions ranging from fear, anger that almost 44 years on this earth gave me 3 results, jealous of those who had the exposure etc.
I needed to change something, quick.
Among the many books I read in 2009, two helped shape not only my online strategy, but the philosophy which served as the foundation to build!
The First book was Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazi and the second book was Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.
Aside from numerous gems of information in both books, they both said something that I really took to heart.
Keith Ferrazi talks of a strategy the Clintons used brilliantly which he calls “Building your network before you need it”
At the core of that strategy is a simple philosophy that we set things in place BEFORE we need to leverage them. For the bulk of my career, I was quite guilty of building things as I needed them and even after I needed. As you can probably imagine, my results were less than favorable. Actually, lets be honest. My results sucked!
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith talk about a concept they call “Building Armies”
This calls for us building the trust necessary for people to want to not only follow us, but almost become our brand evangelists to their followers.
So, being the creative genius I am, I kind of morphed the two concepts from three rock stars to form
2) Build Your Army BEFORE You Need It: This represented a big shift in the way I’ve always done things. Because as much as I wanted that army NOW, and as much as I wanted to yell “CHARGE” I didn’t feel I had earned that right.
And how does one earn that right?
3) Patience! As in the patience to
Give people value upfront, unconditionally and without keeping score.
Taking the time to help people, introduce people, facilitate learning opportunities through:
My blog, my Linkedin Group, my “tweets”, my articles, my speaking engagements, my one on one chats with people who need some guidance (I never charge by the way)
For me, this is counterintuitive to say the least! Why? Because as a sales professional I want to “close” take the kill shot, reap the immediate rewards.
But that’s not how you raise an army now is it?
I believe in the online battlefield you raise an army by offering enough value and building enough trust that people become your evangelist. When that happens, a multiplier kicks in and you become more effective.
Think I’m wrong?
Let me ask you a question. Which packs more punch:
Me going into a group and basically “pimping” myself out by bragging about me, my company and how we help our clients. Or . . .
Reading about me, my company and how we help others from someone who has nothing but great things to say. And it doesn’t end there.
They have nothing but great things to say in front of their following and the online community where they are sharing the love. And it still doesn’t end there.
Their followers spreading the love to their community. Etc
I believe at that point you have earned the right, and have established the Trust to unleash that army to help you achieve your objective.
And as long as that trust is never compromised, that army will continue to help you .
Yell “Charge” prematurely as in the absence of trust and you will be fighting your war with about as much gusto as a guy with 3 results on Google!
So, in the spirit of complete disclosure, let me share with you, where we are today in building the army I need to accomplish a goal I set many years ago:
Linkedin: I have over 1200 followers. I interact with many of these followers and have focused on how I can make them look like rock stars
My Linkedin Sales Playbook Group: 6800 + members and we only started in March. Note: Part of raising an army is having enough trust in those who follow you to ask them for feedback and advice. My group has given me that and more!
Twitter: 2000 followers. I could have grown this more rapidly but truth be told, I have struggled with Twitter and had quite a bit of learning to do. I’ve seen others smoke me on those numbers in the same amount of time, some have artificially grown their numbers as I’m convinced the majority of their followers are so far removed from what they offer, its more of a “follow me, and I’ll follow you” deal. I have no interest in that.
My articles have been viewed by 10’s of thousands
My blog has several thousand subscribers.
And that Google bitch slap I received a year ago has changed somewhat. Today there are over 16 pages that come up if you care to Google me.
And this my friends is where 2009 became the year of patience for me, because I will tell you without hesitation, that I have a heck of a lot more work to do before I would ever become comfortable enough to call upon that army.
So soldier, let me ask you:
Are you building your army BEFORE you need it or as you need it?
What are some ways you can build that army more effectively in 2010?
Have you realized that new theaters of war have emerged with social networking? Have you at least given a try to Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook?
How ya doin in the patience department?
May you raise the army you need to conquer your portion of the world by harnessing weapons of mass kindness, inspiration and giving unconditionally!
That's how you become unstoppable!
To your inevitable success!
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