Are You Helping You or Helping Others?



helping your or othersSocial media is a platform to reach out, communicate, develop relationships, dialogue, interaction and engagement with others. But is also a means of exposing ourselves. We have to listen to others before we can talk about ourselves however, if we are all listening who is talking? How is there any conversation? Industry news? We have our profiles on various platforms which affords us the opportunity to write about ourselves so the need to talk about what we do as it relates directly to us is diminished. But, come on, we know that it has been ingrained in us that we meet people and it is a conversation starter of “What do you do” and we are prepared with our elevator speech. In social media though, if you break out with the elevator speech, you are a spammer.

Talking About You

Social media is marketing and marketing is and marketing by definition is:

a) the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market

b) the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service

c) an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer

In order to promote, sell or distribute we have to explain what we are selling to entice. Those that are selling their services, then, they themselves are the product and what is being promoted, sold and distributed so at some point an in-depth conversation or some sort of narrative needs to be about them. Ok so there is a website, sales page, etc but when  promoting if you are not promoting you through talking about who you are, what you know, let’s face it, you are not going to be hired.

You have to talk about you for people to get to know you to determine if they trust what you are saying to evaluate if they are going to like you and continue the conversation with you. There are those that are so self-absorbed or self-promotional that never notice that you have not mentioned a word about yourself outside of that you write a blog. In face-to-face interactions we sometimes never have the chance to breathe a word about ourselves when someone is there “working the room” as they walk up, introduce themselves, have a business card in their hand and are leaning away from you so as to move on to the next person. We giggle as we read this as we have seen this person in action. Online it is a bit harder to see them at first but eventually they show their spots and make it clear that they are there to help themselves.

Helping Others

Helping others is more than giving good advice on a blog, in a chat or answering a question that gives them the insight that they needed to be able to use that information to make money. We already do that. Being  helpful in what we are already doing is how many have gotten noticed, recognized, talked about and put on the map. But, what all of these folks have in common is the one thing that we do not hear about so much. While they seem a part of an elite group that has some top secret means of getting to where they are in the social community, they help others in a means that is simple really but yet goes unnoticed.

They take the time to create their website, email newsletters, profiles and communications with talking about them in certain places and learning more about those they are trying to help in others. It is more than a balance. It is a clear understanding as to how to use the platforms in a means that is acceptable to their target and also to the social media community as a whole. We can only help others when we know their needs are and how we can direct them to listen to us. We gain trust by giving people an opportunity to find out more about us so that they feel they know us and through that they want to listen to us and then tell people that they are listening to us. Follows, likes, connections are just the beginning. As the more popular people become, the more demands on being helpful and giving more of themselves. Constantly being under a microscope in giving our advice, people tugging at you to listen to them, give away the secrets and make them popular. It is endless and while so many are searching for the big answer of how to be helpful, it is not. In order to help others, we have to create avenues for them to receive the information they need and have it be satisfying as they are looking for ways to emulate. Creating profiles, designing the website and staying on top of what is new all the while by constantly updating is, on the surface, how we help ourselves but really it opens doors to allow us to help others more.

It is easy to try and help ourselves with social media as the more people hear us, see us and hear us talking about being helpful, the more they will listen. This does make sense in a way except we are helping us and not helping others so much. If we are not providing them with a source of learning about us so that we can in turn about them, we are really just helping us and not helping others all that much.

photo credit: Dimitri N.

  • “We gain trust by giving people an opportunity to find out more about us so that they feel they know us and through that they want to listen to us and then tell people that they are listening to us.” I like this quote