Peter Shankman spoke at the Social Media Club Salt Lake City (SMCSLC) event last night. The event was better than I expected, and I ended up taking a few notes of what he said and shared on Twitter. I decided to create a post with those notes to keep them at a spot that it would be easy for everyone (including myself, I hate searching my own Twitter feed) to read and share. The theme was mostly Networking and Self-Promotion, but he ended up veering into other topics.
One of the first things he talked about that really resonated with me was that work can be fun. Once I thought I was one of those lucky people that just happened to land fun jobs, but when I look at my jobs with attention I realized that it wasn’t luck, I just made the job fun because it’s the way I am. I don’t believe in just working for the money, and yes, I have bad days at work like everyone else, but I loved all of my jobs. So his tip is to do something you love, always. My tip is, if you are not as gutsy as he is, find things to love about what you do. You are the only person that can make your job fun or not.
I loved this one, though. Sometimes you are just stuck in life, in your job, and the people around you just suck. It happens, we’ve all been there. So his advice to just get new people to be around you, is one I most vehemently agree with. It’s a hard decision to make most of the times, because we feel like we owe certain people to always be around. But if someone is just bringing you down, then peace out. Learning to move away from toxic people in your personal and professional life is an important skill.
Then he switched gears to talk about a topic more related to Social Media. His example was priceless, here’s the PG version: if Peter Shankman himself approached a girl at a bar and told her how great he is, she’d laugh at his face, but if someone else approached the same girl and told her about Peter Shankman, it would be more likely that he would get the girl. Same applies for self-promotion, it will always be more effective if you let your customers/other people in your network do the promotion for you, and this will always be more effective. “If you’re offering great experiences, your guests will do your marketing.”
Another of his tips for self promotion was to simply be helpful. I almost whooped loudly at this. I’m a big believer of Social Media as a customer service tool, and that basically is being helpful. I was lucky to have participated in Walt Disney’s College Program and be trained by their people, because now being helpful is basically what I love most in life. Pay attention to the people in your network, if they are reaching out with questions that you can either answer or find the person to answer, then why not do it? It pays to be helpful, it pays to be nice. And remember to reach out to people even if they (or you) are not asking for help. Ask what you can do for them, they’ll remember you. There is NOTHING more annoying than people that only reach out to you when they need something, so don’t be that person. Keep in touch always.
Which leads me to the next thought:
I’m guilty. For a long time I would thoroughly trim my Facebook network, unfriend anyone I didn’t talk to. But once I started blogging, I wanted to increase my audience, so I started to friend anyone that I had even the faintest acquaintance with. His words ring true, though, if you’re not talking to the people in your network, why the hell do you have them there? His suggestion is to go and search for those folks you don’t talk to often, and reach out and say hello, ask how they are doing, scan their pages for any news and ask them about it… Just a friendly hello. If they’re not someone you’d like to do that to… chop chop. It’s virtual spring cleaning, and I’m behind it.
Shankman shared a cool tool to keep up with the people in your network: Newsle.com
This neat web-based app will connect with your Twitter and Facebook accounts and keep track of what the people in your network is up to. So when your friends make the news, they’ll make sure you find out about it. I just signed up for it, and really love it. So many of my friends on the news, and I didn’t even know it. Guys, share that stuff! :)
Since I’m a big social media geek, a lot of people wanting to start out on it come to me and complain they don’t know what to post about. One of my suggestions is always to post about things they love. People will follow you or your business not only to get the latest deals and news, but also to get to know YOU, this amazing shiny cool person behind that brand or twitter handle. So if you don’t know what to post, here are a few ideas from Peter Shankman’s lecture:
- “Talk about what you love… It’s infectious.”
- “Find stuff worth sharing. People love finders.” (here’s what he shared—warning: cuteness levels are off the chart)
- “If you dont believe it, why are you promoting it? Talk about things you love because you know it would be helpful and change lives.”
- “Create stuff that makes people happy/smile”
- Make and share videos of you doing fun things. ”Make people BE in your moments.” Your cell phone has a camera, use it (or buy a GoPro).
- Limit the number of things you post, say, type, or tweet that start with the word “I.”
- “If they find value in your posts, then you can post whatever you want.”
- “When in doubt, do not post. Live by that rule.” If you have even a millisecond of hesitation, don’t post.
Another interesting thought: everyone always tells you to have a plan B in case you fail. Peter’s advice was the opposite: have a plan B for when you succeed, because something you do will succeed/go viral, and you should have a plan to how to deal with the success. Brand everything you have, so if for example a video you make goes viral, your website/logo/name is attached to it so people can link back to you and find you. I thought of my designer/photographer friends with this too, we sometimes are so hesitant to put a watermark on our images, but after his comment, I have to agree. Brand everything.
I left the best for last, you can tell, right? I think we all fall in the “comfort zone” trap. Steady paycheck, health insurance, house payments… But is this making us not go after our dreams? If it is, then take a risk. Go do what you really want to do, and if all else fails, then you go and get a job. Just don’t get a job and then wait forever to actually do what you want. I think of people like Brody Leven (a Westminster alum) when he talked about it. Brody graduated from college and instead of looking for a job, he embarked in a life adventure, and now travels the world to ski and do other outdoorsy stuff. He makes ends meet even though his life is on the road. It’s inspiring.
Thanks for reading! Any thoughts/additions to this post are welcome in the comments section! Let me know how I can help (I mean it!)