Habit 2 in 7 Habits is called “Begin with the end in mind.” The ramifications for life outside Social Media are pretty obvious. This section dealt a lot with mission statements, but before you think you know everything there is to know about such things, let me tell you a little bit more about what I learned from this section, especially as it applies to Social Media.
Mission Statements Should Be Actionable
Whether personally or for your job, how many times have you sat down to write a mission statement and found yourself starting with something like, “We the People of XYZ Company…” You scrap that. I mean, that’s been done to death. Then you say, “OK, OK…I’ve got it. We are going to be the best xyz company ever.” Well, that’s hard to promise, and it’s also hard to act on. By the time you’re done you might be really frustrated. You might write, “We will eat fried chicken every Wednesday and we know we will because we already do. HMPH!”
I think mission statements for your personal life or for your business are extremely difficult, but when it comes to Social Media, it might actually be a bit harder. Unlike in real life, as has been discussed a plenty, there is not an agreed upon way to measure success in Social Media. Would your mission be to get a high klout score? Are you aiming for followers?
By now, if you’ve been reading here for awhile, you know that my mission statement has nothing to do with things like that. My mission statement has 3 primary actionable items.
1. Build a community of great people whom I can turn to for learning and friendship
2. Prove to my community and their communities that I can be a resource when help is needed
3. Build relationships that may mean an addition to the relationship – a client/agency relationship off in “real life”
Each of these three points are things I can act on. That’s not to say that I can snap my fingers and each of them get done. It takes a long time to prove yourself in this world because there are SO many people who have had a head start. It’s so hard to prove you’re genuine when EVERYONE is trying to prove they’re genuine. But that’s what I’m aiming for.
What is your mission statement for Social Media?
Do not do as I have done
Now, I have to come clean with you. I did this all wrong. You see, I did not envision the end when I began. Not one jot. I’m lucky that I was directed by great people along the way who made me see that I had not followed this important step. When I started this blog, and when I started Twitter, my “mission” was, “Errr, uhh…I like to write and uhh…err, I really need to figure out this Twitter thing so that we can help our clients decide, with information, if it’s right for them.”
Great plan, right?
If you are just starting to dabble right now, take a bit of a scale-back and decide what you want to accomplish. What is the one thing that would make you delighted with Social Media? Would it be your first sale? Would it be your first friend? Would it be sticking through an entire chat? Why are those things important to you? Follow the string to the bigger things you want to accomplish. What are you here to do? Why did you launch into all of this complex stuff?
The original Social Media users may not have had to do this
I listened to a really fantastic interview over at Third Tribe that Brian Clark (@copyblogger) did with Darren Rouse (@problogger). They traced the story of how Darren went from a guy who got totally hooked on blogging because he read a neat one to becoming one of the top bloggers in the world. You would think that it all would have been scoped out, but to hear Darren tell his story, it was actually more a matter of, “Oh, well, that seems to be working, let me try this.”
When folks like Darren and Brian were getting started, there were not other Darrens or Brians around. Now, things are quite different. Not only are they around, but there are also TONS of people who picked up their example quickly. Then there are people who want to be Darren and Brian when they grow up. That is your landscape right now. That is my landscape. With so much competition, experimentation needs to be plotted. You need to have a plan. Otherwise, you will get washed away by the flood of people who, quite literally, have a mission.
A mission comes from research
While mission statements can and should come from the heart, in the world of Social Media, I believe strongly that they must also come from research, most especially if you are here as or for a company. How can your mission be to outshine your competitors if you don’t know what they’re doing? How can you increase positive discussion about your brand or your industry if you don’t know what people are saying already? Maybe it’s already positive and your efforts are diminishing that gift.
Research is another way to “chunk.” Pick keywords that will do you some good. Find out what your customers are doing. Are they even here? What are your competitors doing? What should you not do based on what they are doing?
If doing all of this research seems like it would be too time-consuming for you, click on the tab at the top right corner of this page called ClayComm2.0. A lot of what we offer is help doing research exactly like this. Whether we do it or whether you do it though, it must be done. Your mission statement must be based on a solid foundation. No room for wobbly legs in this world.
Have a plan. Do it. See the end when you begin. It sounds easy. It sounds easy for the real world. It sounds easy for Social Media. If it was really so easy, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People wouldn’t be an international best seller.
1st image by Fred Fokkelman. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Chemtec
2nd Image by Miroslav Nagy. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/vidici