Your World Isn’t “The World”

If you want to know the value of social media and social networking for business, you need to be able to agree that your world is limited. That without social media, you live “in a box” – maybe it’s your box, but a box nonetheless.  Don’t believe me? Keep reading.

You need to understand that to be the best at what you do, you need to be educated and knowledgeable about what is happening in your field, in the world, with your consumers and your competitors. Surely, you agree with me here.

Take a few moments with me right now, in this post I am going to share with you exactly why social is critical to the leaders in your company. Why taking advantage of the opportunities in social media is critical for you. I am not going to discuss the marketing aspect here. What I am talking about here is personal development, innovation and the tools to always stay on top of your game.

Social Tools Enable Excellence

For those of you who do not realize this, I work in financial services. I also work in Social Strategy for Business (you can check out my slide shares here, and youtube videos here). Often people ask me, “What does one thing have to do with the other?”

From my slideshare on employee engagement, Presentation from #Impact99 “Bringing out the best in your company : Social Media in the Workplace”

It’s a valid question, and one that may not seem obvious at first, however I think the answer demonstrates very clearly the value in reaching out and being involved in “The World” vs “Your World”.

When I started in Social Media, I was looking to explore how Social networking could add value to my business. I manage a department of brokers working in Personal Insurance. My responsibilities stretch from HR and hiring, to marketing, customer service and all the procedures and guidelines that go along with running the business. Fortunately in my job, every aspect of business is relevant, not only for me and my business, but for my clients.

I take a lot of pride in being the best at what I do, this is my goal always. Like most directors, I manage myself. In my own organization there are not several of “me” – there are not others who perform my role, or have my knowledge base, nor are there others who I can dialogue with about the various projects, challenges or concepts that I have to deal with. As with any business, you need to stay on top of trends, but you also need to pay attention to the relevant aspects of your company, build your internal strategies, and so much more.

How do you do this when you are your own strongest resource?

Building Bridges

I went to an amazing networking event last night. Organized by Kai Design, Kai recognizes the value in sharing business stories and creating an environment where like minded professionals from all fields can get together and talk about business. It’s not the first time I mention them on my blog, or the information I get inspired by from their events, and I am sure it will not be the last – the reason is because I see the value. A lot of people think that networking is about pushing your business card. About selling your product. What about expanding your mind? What about learning more about what other people are doing, and the challenges they face, how they dealt with them and their success?

What about having the opportunity to talk to others about what you do, and see yourself through the eyes of others as you share ideas, challenges and experiences. Every interaction can provide incredible insight – insight you really would not have otherwise.

It’s about having an engaged mind.

Exposure to community is critical in professional development and success.

People don’t understand why they need to be on social. To be perfectly frank, the marketing aspect is huge, however the food for thought, the dialogue and the professional interactions and community that you can surround yourself with is far more valuable.

  1. Reading others blogs

    …you get insight into challenges currently being faced, you are presented with ideas, and opportunities that you would otherwise never encounter. Simply starting in social by reading others blogs is the first step to helping you develop. These ideas will trigger thoughts in you, will push your mind to new levels and will contribute to your success in your own business.

  2. Reaching out and commenting on blogs or other posts

    …whether it be Linked In, Facebook or elsewhere. This puts your own ideas out there, and forces you to actually think through things that perhaps in the daily hustle of life and work, you simply never take the time to stop and think about. Writing about thoughts is a commitment to give them time. When you give time to your thoughts, you suddenly have the opportunity to develop them.

  3. Realizing that the people (authors) who you are reading are reachable.

    Remember in college, or any time you have read a book, let’s say, when you think, “wow, that’s a really cool concept…I wonder if the author was thinking this, or that…?” Years ago, you were stuck, book in hand with your wonder, or impression – but you couldn’t really do anything with it. Now with Social Networks, you can say “Hey, they are on Twitter…I wonder if I talk to them, they might talk back?” This is HUGE! You can now enter dialogue with people who inspire you and stimulate positive, creative and business changing concepts. Don’t tell me having dialogue with these people doesn’t change your world!

  4. When you start reaching out online

    …you not only find the thought leaders who are obvious (like authors, professors, scientists, etc.) But you find access to groups of people who share similar goals, and visions – people who become part of your own community. This is where it all starts to happen.

  5. When you start blogging, interacting and expressing yourself

    …others then find you, and your own community grows. You get feedback, ideas start to blossom, and you grow with the help and support of your community. You will also develop confidence, you start to see how what you think plays out in the world around you. This perspective is invaluable.

Although I will write more about this in a later post, I have several communities which I cherish, and am incredibly grateful for being a part of #Usguys, #12Most, #TChat (World of Work), #BlogChat, #Custserv, #BizForum, #HBRChat and the #140Conf (#140MTL), to name a few.

What do we do with all this?

We grow as people. We grow as leaders in our own organizations. We grow as members of the community, and we become capable of giving much more back to our own teams, our real life communities, and ourselves.

Limiting yourself is boring.

To not take advantage of all these resources for growth and community support and inspiration is almost irresponsible. “No man is an island” – ever heard that before? Why on earth would professionals in any field limit themselves and not open the doors to the world for themselves?

I have written this post to help you understand, as professionals you need to be on top of things. You need to learn, grow, evolve. You already knew this, yet so many driven professionals can’t seem to see the value in spending the time to understand social. It’s time to think about it.

Any organization that does not recognize this, and perhaps even insist upon this continuous education of their leaders and team members is at a disadvantage. Not just in marketing, but in business, and in life. Anything you need to know, anything you need to grow in, has online support. All you need to do is start. Jump in somehow, and start finding your community.

In my post on social business, I stated:

“Stay where you are and keep doing what you always did – but keep in mind, some of us out there are pushing ourselves to our limits, setting the bar higher, working every day to keep being the best – and guess what, we are your competition.”

If you truly want to excel in life, at work, in anything – you need to get out there and share ideas, dialogue, listen, and learn.

Social Media is the best way to allow yourself this opportunity – and the best thing is, you do it on your own time, by your own rules, when you want to.

Anything else is truly mediocre…is that who you are?

So, what are you waiting for?