If you haven’t seen a 2010 prediction post in the last two weeks, welcome back from your coma. If you don’t see a wad of New Year’s resolution posts this week, we hope you come out of yours soon. Nothing against those who have produced such entries. There’s some search and link value to those types of posts this time of year. I guess I just prefer to think of the topics everyone will be writing about, then write about something else.
I’ll stray from my chosen path a bit today and share with you some of my goals for 2010, But these aren’t resolutions for the New Year. Rather, they are focal points for my professional and personal success in the year to come. As social media thinkers and tinkerers yourselves, I encourage you to consider the following as what we should all do in 2010.
Don’t Follow The Crowd
The “me too” syndrome is almost an epidemic in social media these days. Few people have the wherewithal to push the thinking. Maybe we’re afraid we’ll piss someone off. Maybe we just want to do what everyone else is doing so we don’t get in trouble. Blog comments are full of, “Well said! I agree!” echoes and companies are demanding Facebook pages without having a single clue as to what to do with them. For some, it’s natural to follow the path of least resistance. I prefer to take a machete to the kudzu and see what’s ahead. It wins you more respect than it does friends, but that’s not always bad.
Look at your strategies and tactics for your company or clients. Are you just playing it safe and following the best practices or are you really thinking about your audience and how you blow them away with awesomeness? Remember, we don’t all have to be sheep. (Reference to my favorite The Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson. See it at the bottom of the linked post.)
Have Laser Focus
I’ve been scurrying to build my own business for the last three or four months. In that frantic race to meet payroll (namely make my wife stop being nervous), I lost focus on a couple of projects, one for a client and one for myself. That won’t happen in 2010. I’m going to be laser focused on my clients and their success and on building a more long-term revenue stream for Social Media Explorer. If I fail, I have only one person to blame.
Think about your social media strategies for 2010. Write them down on a note card or the back of a business card and carry it in your wallet or pocket. If it frays, make another one. Or perhaps laminate it. Pull it out every day and remind yourself what you should be focused on. Dismiss the rest. No excuses.
Move The Needle
I’m going to take each of my client’s primary goals for my work and put it on my white board. I’m going to benchmark, then measure the indicators that supply that needle’s direction. If I don’t move it in the right direction in a reasonable amount of time, I’m going to advise them to find someone better suited to do so. Hell, I might even refund some of their fee. (No promises. Man’s gotta eat, ya know.)
You should too.
Flee The Bubble
I’ve argued before that people in the social media space are a bad measuring stick for the rest of the world. Sure, the mainstream is consuming blogs and sharing information on social networks, but they don’t know or give a shit who Chris Brogan is, they don’t want 50,000 Twitter followers and traditional marketing doesn’t make them run and hide. If it makes sense to develop a client initiative that makes mommy bloggers happy, then I will. If it makes sense to focus on all moms, then I’ll filter my work differently.
If you think relying on your Twitter followers to drive engagement on your company’s project is all you need, then expect low returns. Focus on integrating your social efforts with traditional marketing strategies so you serve all of your target audience, not just the ones who don’t think RSS is the radio station with the dorky morning show.
Remember Why You Do It
Professionally, I do what I do to help my clients achieve their goals. Getting sucked into doing something cool on Twitter or poking around with my hobby side projects is easy to do. But without happy clients, I can’t afford the hobby side projects. Personally, I do what I do to provide for Nancy, Grant and Katie – by far the more important reasons I was put here. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and lose site of why. I plan on reminding myself daily.
Perhaps you too get caught up in the daily routines of meetings and paperwork and fiddling around with Facebook or Twitter. But just like the advice in the Have Laser Focus section, remind yourself everyday why you do what you do. Your clients, your company, your cause … do the tasks but stay focused on the goals and you’ll be successful. And don’t forget why you do it personally, too. We take far too much time away from our loved ones in our business world today. We should start taking a bit of that back.
My 2009 was spectacular. I imagine my 2010 being even better. I learned in 2009 that it only happens if you make it happen. Nobody is going to give it to you. Five years ago, I was a nobody PR guy working in a dead-end position in an industry with the most asinine business model known to man. I was making $30,000 a year. Today, I own my own business, am financially successful (knock on wood it stays that way) and know the future is what I make of it.
Those ideas above are what will help me make the most of it. The other point in that thought is that if I can do it, you can too.
Let me know how I can help. And thank you for helping make Social Media Explorer successful and fun.