Where do I begin? Izeafest was such an amazing experience, I feel like I could write 20 blog posts about it! The location, the sponsors, the speakers, the attendees… All just fabulous. I’m sure there are 100 or more blog posts by now that can give you the day to day details about people, give aways, etc.
What stuck with me, and what I ultimately decided to write about, was the unanimous theme of giving.
@WarrenWhitlock, @LizStrauss, @PRSarahEvans, @ChrisBrogan – they all spoke about being yourself and being true to who you are in your communications and commitments. Don’t take on more than you can handle, learn how to say no and don’t forget along the way to just be yourself. This is the hardest part about marketing; so many people are anxious to sell, sell, sell! I’ll admit, I am one of those. I tend to be so excited at the prospect of talking about JobShouts that sometimes I forget the most important part of marketing, which is just being me. If people know you, care about you, like you – they are more likely to want to help you. Help can come in the form of a referred business contact, a product purchase, flowers on a bad day – whatever! However, if you come across as nothing but a salesman people will avoid you like the plague. Besides, if you’re just yourself no one can “upsell” you. Make sense?
Diving even deeper into the “just be yourself” message, let’s talk about what you have to give. This is where the inspiration comes from – the opportunity to inspire others! @LizStrauss talked about how she is painfully shy – yet there she was on stage sharing her knowledge with us, despite that handicap. This was by far my biggest inspiration moment! Remember that promise I made to myself after my thyroid surgery? (read about that here) I will conquer my stage fright/fear because if she can do it, I can do it. I admire anyone that can conquer a paralyzing fear, so @LizStrauss inspired me just by sharing who she is. How do I pay that forward and inspire someone else? By just being myself and giving what I can, of course.
So how does this translate to social media and marketing?
First things first -don’t just plow right into your pitch. No one will be listening. As @ChrisBrogan so candidly said, “Don’t be a douchebag. Don’t be that guy.” What people will be listening to are things you say that they can identify with. Doesn’t matter if that audience is Twitter, Facebook, your social network on ning, etc. What is your industry? Offer some expertise. What is your personal struggle? Share your thoughts & perspective. Encourage engagement and people will engage. Stuff your product down their throat and they will run for the hills.
This is a hard lesson to learn for some (including me). However, I can confirm that the moment I stopped being “all about JobShouts” with my social networks and focused more on being just me, I gained an incredible audience. An audience of engaging, giving, wonderful people! One thing is for sure, it doesn’t matter how big your audience is, it matters how many of them are actually listening.