June 17, 2013

Learn to lower your social media inhibitions

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Gain support by letting people know the real you

This is the first of a two-part series.
Chris AbrahamHow much transparency have you shown today?

I bet you’re wondering why I am constantly begging you to stop being a nice guy, daydreamer, or introvert when it comes to being online and to put yourself out there. Well, it’s because I am trying to help you break down your inhibitions. I want you to be more willing to treat your social media followers the way they deserve: at the very least like allies, fans, and acquaintances; and, hopefully, like the friends they are or will become.

I know my methods are unconventional, but you really need a push. A chum of mine who will go unnamed picks at me on Facebook because I am getting to him.  He’s conflicted! He is fighting me, however, he doth protest too much. He really wants to enjoy a fair world: a world where someone who is as completely over-the-top talented at what he does should rightfully attract the sort of social and financial rewards that he fully and rightfully deserves.

Why be so shameless? Why expose yourself? I mean, celebrities and stars and whatnot don’t need to do that, do they? Right? Wrong. Everyone reveals themselves painfully one way or another, be it in a role in a movie, lyrics delivered with passion in a pop ballad, opening a vein in the pages of a novel; and, what’s more, all of these adored people who are “easily” and “naturally” followed, aren’t.

All of these people have publicists, marketing agencies, PR firms, TMZ, blogs, mainstream media, morning television, newspapers, and every place else.

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So, in the same way that acting schools work on breaking through shyness, stage fright, and the general inhibitions of being self-conscious, I want you, too, to realize that in order to be the best community manager, brand representative, or your social media face, you’ll need to take all of this social media stuff as serious as a heart attack.

I don’t want you to become a fool for social media; I need you to realize that you aren’t so much trying to become a cult of personality so much as you need to work hard at this.

If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. Even if it’s beautiful, charming or funny — not until someone (either a super-someone or a lot of someones) know it’s there will it begin to garner attention.

And it doesn’t matter how much money you’ve spent on ads or on an SEO consultant or even the way-too-many-tens-of-thousands of dollars you’ve spent on a gorgeous, perfect brochureware website.

TrustEven that eBook or properly published book of dead trees will mean nothing if you don’t have a prepared audience — a very large audience at that — then your brand won’t fly, your hours won’t be spoken for, your products won’t fly off the shelf, and your books won’t be read.

Just remember: There’s nothing inauthentic, duplicitous, untoward, skeevy, antisocial, or cultish about behaving such a way — unless, of course, you are those things.

So, please do work hard at building a lively congregation; that should be your goal. And, like a church, coming back to your social media pews is not mandatory at all — you shall always be competing with football, 5ks, 10ks, marathons, CBS Sunday Morning, and also a warm beckoning bed. You need to be better and more compelling than all of these things and more.

It’s time to get over yourself and do it now. While shamelessness and fearlessness might not be the right answer for you, it would surely be worthwhile to find ways of loosening up, lowering your inhibitions, and getting to know the online community you have and want. Do so openly, honestly, and with the goal of growing your audience and amplifying your own good message.

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Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

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