I recently met with a small group of graduate students at NYU to discuss social tools, building personal brands and the power of communities. A few slides triggered a great discussion around what we’re doing, what we should be doing and how it can be done better.
Start with “Why”
Where we start matters. It defines our ability to influence, have meaningful relationships and experience (repeated) success. Without purpose output doesn’t matter. Having 500+ connections or a lot of followers is just the “what”. Creating goals like challenging the status quo, becoming a thought leader or making a dent in the universe is a good “why” to actively engage socially and collaboratively.
Watch Simon Sinek’s TED Talk or read his book to learn more about how people and companies innovate and deliver change by starting with “why”.
Voyeurs & Contributors
There’s an evolution. When we use social tools the journey begins as a voyeur; searching, lurking and unsure of what to do next. As we become comfortable with a technology, see others engaging or find meaning along the way we slowly become contributors. By pre-defining a goal and knowing the platform or place where the community connects our journey from voyeur to contributor moves much faster. The key is having a call to action, know your audience, build relationships, connect with communities, share relevant content and keep contributing!
Don’t be afraid
Stand out, have an opinion and be bold. No one achieved success without taking risks. Start by making it a habit to click “like”. Comment on contributions made by others and repost if it resonates. Recognize, reward and give regular shout-outs by “@” mentioning people. Have an opinion. We’re not robots so humanize the message. There’s passion and art in the work we produce so why not work out loud? If it’s meaningful to you, your contributions are valuable to others.
Communities create change
“Tribes are about faith – about belief in an idea and in a community. Do you believe in what you do? It turns out that belief happens to be a brilliant strategy.” ~Seth Godin
Communities are a place where like-minded people believe in the mission. They will champion your work, efforts and contributions. What are you passionate about? Don’t sit alone, find your tribe. They are in motion right now and waiting for you to join the movement.
Build your brand. Know your “why” and where the tribe lives, go there. Create and build a meaningful profile. Upload a picture, write a bio, highlight your achievements, join networks and keep being visible. The things we do matter. Have a mission, get to the start line and make your dent in the universe.