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Finding New Heights in Social Media (and in Your High Heels)

I have shoes… and LOTS of them. In fact, there’s probably only one thing I love more than social media and that’s high heels. When it comes to shoes, the higher, the better; the more colorful and unique… the more I have to have them. And if you looked inside of my closet, you would know this to be true. Shoes come in all shapes and sizes, colors and varieties, and it’s essential that you find the right fit. Kind of like social media — giving you a unique identity (think Carrie Bradshaw!), putting a little skip in your step, and adding a little swank to your swagger.ย  And, when have found that combination that fits you perfectly, you will indeed drive conversation. In fact, I have found a lot of commonalities between slipping on a pair of high heels and stepping into social media. Here’s what I’ve found:

Instantly Achieve New Heights

It’s amazing what you can do when you achieve new heights! Most people don’t realize that I’m only 5’1″. And that’s because I almost always wear 4″ heels. In fact, the higher the better. The additional height allows me new visibility on what I’m trying to accomplish. If you’re someone who feels like you’re often looking from the ground up, try slipping into your own pair of social media shoes and see if it doesn’t put you at eye level or even higher than your competitors. Here are some basic methods for achieving new heights:

  1. Create a Facebook fan page to communicate your brand and post relevant articles. Include links to your company site as well as any other social network sites in which you have profiles.
  2. Start tweeting information that you find valuable to you and your industry on Twitter. Retweet others in your industry that you follow. Acknowledge those you retweet you.
  3. Seek out thought leaders in your area of expertise as well as in other areas, and see how their ideas apply to you.
  4. Use your new height as a vantage point to observe audience/community sentiment (positive/negative), being sure to listen in on mainstream conversations (Twitter, Facebook) as well as those being held on the side (FriendFeed, etc.)

Stand Out From the Crowd

When you become known as someone who wears unique footwear, interestingly enough, that’s what people begin to first notice about you. I find it amusing that when people first see me, they immediately look down to see what pair of high heels I have on. Likewise, when you differentiate yourself in social media — you start to stand out too: as a thought leader, participant, and contributor — and people begin to notice that about you. You have to choose your SuperShoe — the color, size, fit and style that is uniquely you.

  1. Amplify what makes you great.
  2. Differentiate yourself as a thought leader in your chosen field.
  3. Build a solid reputation within your industry
  4. Increase your influence and improve your perceived value in the marketplace

Find the Basement Bargains

While it’d be nice to have all the money in the world to buy a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s or Jimmy Choo’s, the simple fact is that we don’t always do. Like any savvy shopper, you can know how to look like a million bucks without having actually spent a million bucks. And in social media, you don’t have to have a personal shopper that helps you identify the proper tactics either. There are lots of great social media resources that can be used at little or no cost! Below are just a few of some of my favorite social media bargains:

  1. Assess where you currently stand in Google results by using an Online ID Calculator. Use the initial results as your baseline and once you have gained footing, recheck your Online ID to see how far you have progressed.
  2. Use Yahoo Pipes as your personal shoe cobbler — a place to manipulate, mashup and build customized RSS feeds.. splicing, dicing or combining them to create a unique feed that suits you.
  3. Measure how much you influence others through Klout, a social media tool that provides context around who a person influences and the specific topics they are most influential on.
  4. Check the power of your Twitter profile using Twitter Grader and see how it compares to millions of other users that have been graded.

Don’t Feel Compelled to Spill Your Shopping Secrets

Just because you shop at bargain basements, doesn’t mean that you have to tell people that you do. So keep the following in mind:

  1. Wear the shoe that fits the occasion by establishing differences between your personal persona and your professional one, and determine who will see which
  2. Decide how much you are comfortable with sharing and draw the line on what you will not share
  3. There is nothing wrong with keeping certain aspects of your life private…in fact, itโ€™s better that way
  4. Keep in mind that few people trust others who disclose private matters

Don’t Get Upset When Your Shoes Get Criticized

Let’s face it, not everyone is a bold fashionista that is willing to wear five-inch fuschia heels. So don’t expect that they will all like what you say or what you do. Keep in mind, that some people do quite fine wearing flats, and that’s okay too!

  1. See negative criticism as an opportunity to engage and drive conversation
  2. Negative publicity can give you the opportunity to right a wrong; it can provide a platform for you to address an issue; and it can make you better at what you do

Stumbles May Happen, but You Can Walk

Nothing sends you tumbling to the ground faster than a pair of high heels, especially ones that aren’t the right fit or ones you aren’t used to wearing. It takes trial and error and practice to become graceful in high heels, and much can be said the same of social media. If you are stepping into social media for the first time, remember these things:

  1. Take it easy … no one said you had to start running headfirst into social media. Take some time to break in your high heels first and make sure they are the right fit.
  2. Social media has a 365 day return or exchange policy. It you try something out and you find it’s not working for you, try something else!
  3. Get measured. If you don’t know what size to start with, talk to a social media consultant or conduct your own research to figure out what your best options are.
  4. If your closet is full of different social media tactics that you have tried and tried on again, it’s time to clean it out and get a little organized. Keep the tactics that are working for you, and get rid of the ones that aren’t.

Comparing social media to wearing a pair of high heels might seem like oversimplifying a good social media strategy, and I by NO means am trying to do that. However, I believe that most newcomers to social media are overwhelmed by the number of choices and tactics, and this is a metaphor I have used in my discussions with people to get them to understand and appreciate the wide range of choices available to them! I’d love to hear what other correlations you have between stepping into social media and wearing high heels. In the meantime… I need to start cleaning out my own shoe closet… literally.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a strategic communications leader with nearly 20 years experience in both internal and external communications. She is a passionate advocate for developing communications that foster a stronger relationship between the organization and its employees. She is a global keynote speaker on employee engagement and HR communications. Elizabeth is a certified professional in Employer Brand through Universum Global's Employer Branding Academy.

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