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In a heated conversation that quickly turned ugly, I was accused of flip-flopping on my position and my credibility was put to the test. Or should I say, failed the test… or did it?
For several years, I taught entrepreneurs the in’s and out’s of social media. The basics like… what to post, how to post and certain things to leave out of your posts. I even made up a Top 10 list of Dos and Don’ts and was invited to speak a few times to candidates of Jeff Cross’ Totally Booked University.
But here’s where things went sideways… or as I like to call it… my way!
You see, social media is a bit like real life… the more you embrace it the more real world conversations will grow from it. Now, this is where it gets tricky and if you’re not comfortable being yourself on social media… then this won’t work for you.
My original Top 10 Dos & Don’ts list accounted for those that wanted to tread safely into the realm of social engagement. It was more of a “do no harm, tread softly, offend no one” path to attract fans and followers. And, it worked for most people… just not me!
Yes, this was a classic “do as I say, not as I do” scenario… that some picked up and called me on. So, in an effort to appease the masses and expose the reasons behind my transformation from Mister Safe Social Media Guru to Raging Political Maniac I had to come clean.
I had violated my own rules, but wasn’t ready to pay the price. In fact, I was laying the ground work to what would “up the ante” so to speak on the New Rules of Social Media.
The rule that I violated so blatantly and so frequently was “no political posts.” And frankly, there was a reason for that… not only for writing the rule but also for breaking it.
The “no political posts” came about when I posted something I thought was downright hilarious in the summer of 2009 about the current administration. One of my clients saw the post, didn’t find it funny at all, and quickly fired us in protest.
So, to play it safe, and to help others stay safe… I jotted down some rules to live by… or to violate at your discretion!
As I grew more disgruntled with the administration and the direction this country was heading I started to get the “itch” to post what I felt was right and not necessarily safe.
Could I afford to lose additional customers over my political views? Or how about losing friends and followers? Well, a four letter word that I can’t use here came to mind followed by “It!” And, so it was.
No more safety net, no more gentle posts, no more Mister Nice Guy… NOPE!
A 180 degree turn, going against the flow while high-fiving people in the face. Yeah, something like that! Let’s just say… it got people’s attention. But, they didn’t defriend me, at least not in droves. So I upped my game… and still, people stayed.
I even asked those who didn’t see eye to eye with my political center to step aside and take themselves off my list… they still stayed. I went so far as to insult them for their radical stance, thinking I could get a few to leave… nothing.
When I deleted them, they wanted to come back. I just couldn’t believe it. Here I was going full tilt, basically force feeding my political views onto people and they wanted to hear it. Not only did they hear it…but I think I converted a few.
Here it is… I’ll lay it out for you… I could give you all kinds of rules to follow when it comes to posting on social media and you’d do well. But, if you really want to set the stage on fire and cause a commotion worth talking about… you have to be willing to violate your own rules and stand out. Show the people around you that you care about something, that you’re passionate, that you have a sense of self and that you believe you can make a difference.
Like I said before, if you’re not comfortable being yourself using social media, doing what I did may get you in trouble. If all you post is “cats in pajamas,” “game reviews” or “motivation quotes,” switching gears and going political could create mass exodus of followers.
Interesting tidbit here… the more vocal I was, the more personality I gave to my posts and the more frequently I commented on other posts something kind of cool happened… I gained followers. Yeah, and not just any type… nope… they were just like me.
They shared my penchant for politics, my passion for entrepreneurialism, my sense of adventure… it was like I knew these people… we had common traits. And that my friend is what it’s all about.
It’s not how many friends you have… its how many see “eye to eye” with you. It’s quality over quantity!
And that, my friend, is how you build a business, quality customers that like you for you, that trust you and know what you are all about… and in the end will not only spend lots of money with you, but will refer you to more people like them.
Rob Anspach has been in the cleaning industry for 19 years. He is an IICRC Master Textile Cleaner and the owner/operator of Premiere Carpet Cleaners in Lancaster County, PA. Rob is also a savvy marketer. He teaches entrepreneurs how to maximize their online and offline marketing experience, how to attract and retain affluent clients and how to profit from their passions. For more information, go to www.RobAnspach.com