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Social media asks: Who do you want to be?

The barriers have been smashed. Start acting like it. (Flickr photo credit: sheeshoo)

Let me share something with you. The biggest difference between those that are finding social media success and those that aren’t is that the latter see traditional barriers where they no longer exist. In the world before social media, barriers were everywhere. They took the form of gatekeepers and rules of conduct that blocked access to those who, at least in part, held the power to change things for us. They were erected by people who could not be bothered, and it was normally only those with an almost absurd amount of drive or the means to pull strings that could shatter them.

Of course you have to work your ass off to be successful in your social media efforts, but hard work alone won’t cut it. Start acting like you’re already there.

  • Don’t be afraid to write about subjects you’re still learning. What matters is that you’re adding to the conversation when others are holding back and adding nothing.
  • Read what those you admire read. You’ll start understanding how they think, and you’ll be able to engage with them about things you know they find interesting.
  • Disagree openly with them when they give you reason to. Understand that 99% of the people trying to get in front of them do so by publicly agreeing with everything they utter, retweeting everything and sucking up in general. Be part of the 1% that tells them the truth when they’re wrong, and you’ll earn their attention and respect.
  • Click send. The worst thing you can do is ask yourself, “Who am I kidding?” It’s strange as hell seeing my writing on blogs like Convince and Convert and MarketingProfs, but if I didn’t stop worrying about whether it was really good enough, if I didn’t click send, it wouldn’t have happened at all.

The delta between our aspirations and our reality might be wide, but we have more ways than ever to navigate it. Write about what you want to become known for and it will begin to read like the writing of someone who’s already recognized. Engage with those you admire without worrying about if they’ll pay attention, and eventually they will. The barriers are in your head.

Ian Greenleigh
Author | Turning data into stories | Sr Mgr, Content & Social Strategy, Bazaarvoice | Former baby
  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jay Baer

    Exactly. Everyone is a teacher, and everyone is a student. I’ve been writing for a long time in other forms, but my first blog post was just 28 months ago. You can make a lot of progress in social media, if you’re willing to work at it.

    • Ian Greenleigh

      28 months…wow. Pretty unbelievable. Appreciate you stopping by.