It’s a fine line, isn’t it?
The topic cropped up at work the other day – how some people successfully build a profile without coming across as total asshats. Figures who seem to do it naturally and almost effortlessly. Who are almost universally liked and seem genuinely lovely.
I have a few thoughts on this:
Twitter is where it’s at
Seriously. You cannot deny the power of Twitter in the age of brand-building. Funnily enough, many of the earlier adopters and self-style social media gurus (at least from an NZ perspective) have now more or less disappeared from Twitter entirely.
More shallowly, that TV confers legitimacy
TV is still sort of the lowest common denominator. And there’s the glamour factor. Everybody I know who has appeared on telly can tell you that everyone comments on it. TV, so freely and widely accessible, reaches people you wouldn’t expect.
Very rarely does anyone ever say they saw something I wrote online. On the other hand, dear biddies such as my mother’s friends have seen my byline in the newspaper and taken notice. And when a news camera once panned over a media scrum, a crowd of which I was part of, amazingly, an acquaintance of mine noticed my split second of fame and immediately sent me a message about it.
Selflessness, humility and humour goes a long way
Being good at self-promotion, without being a douchebag, inherently involves conversing with others and generally being a good bugger about it. Having a personality that shines through, consistently. Doing it the right way means building high awareness without hitting oversaturation. Being in relevant media, yet not quoted everywhere you look.
Being articulate, and ideally, quick off the mark
Twitter is great for those who can come up with witty quips. There’s a lot to be said for being concise and quick of tongue (and typing fingers). But being able to write well in longer form is invaluable. There’s a lot of money (and profile building) to be had in speaking/MCing at events, but cultivating your own content today is so easy to do, you’d be foolish not to, be it regular columns, reviews, or your own blogs or books.
On that note, I’m constantly dismayed at how many businesses in New Zealand fail at content marketing. Intellectually, I get it. They’re corporates. They don’t understand editorial.
Ask yourself: Would I want to read this? Are we only ever talking about ourselves on [insert any social network of your choice] ? Does every blog post end with a sales pitch?
If the answer to any of the above is no, then pass Go, do not collect $200, and start again.
On another, slightly related tangent, the new Advertising Standard Authority rules here are interesting, particularly the guideline that people who are paid to tweet should mark their tweets with the hashtag #ad.
I’ve done some sponsored tweets through Mylikes in the past on my blog Twitter account – tweets where you are paid per click, sometimes based on location.
When that first began, those tweets (sent directly from their site using their Twitter interface system) used to be unmarked, but today I think they are automatically appended with (spon) at the end, and you don’t have the option to remove it.
But what about tweets that are not strictly paid for? As part of my job I go to my fair share of PR events. At a recent lunch I instagrammed and tweeted pics of the lunch, and used their designated hashtag. I wasn’t compensated for that. I did it because the food was amazing and I wanted to share it of my own accord, and as they were sufficiently up with the play to have organised a hashtag, it was no trouble to use it. I would do the same if I was eating out on my own dime (I’m one of THOSE annoying instagram users), and I’d usually make the effort to @ the restaurant if they’re on Twitter.
Or for example at TedX Auckland recently, I queued up for my free drink at the coffee stall, which was sponsored by Kordia. I tweeted a pic of my cup (complete with logo), because I was genuinely impressed with the freebie hot chocolate. Plus, events live and die by sponsorship and I figured I’d do my bit by helping plug one of the supporting companies.
What’s your take on the commercialising of social media? Who do you admire for building a public profile from the ground up, and why?