When I first started in this business, I was a media buyer. I still work a lot with media. One way that publications entice advertisers is by offering a series of “value adds.” These might be free promotional tools, they might be discounts – it really depends. The bottom line, though, is that the value adds are intended to “sweeten the pot.” They are intended to show advertisers that they are appreciated and are valued themselves.
Gimme gimme gimme
In Social Media, we ask people to do a lot of things. Speaking for myself, I ask you to converse with me and “listen” to my incessant tweeting. I ask you to read things that other people have written. I ask you to come over here and read what I’ve written. I ask you to think about and comment on what I have written or read. I sometimes ask you to help out a cause I believe in. That’s a lot of favors.
This is on my mind because of 2 comments I got last night about the fact that I seem to have a hashtag (for a Twitter chat) every night of the week. The comments weren’t mean, but it made me think a little. It made me feel a little self-conscious, like you might feel after going into one of those dreaded fitting rooms with the honest lighting and oh so many mirrors.
And I have been asking myself today, am I giving you a value add to balance all of the favors I’m asking of you?
It’s easy to feel important
When you are writing blogs, tweeting, and participating in Social Media, it’s easy to feel important and smart, if that’s your thing. Unlike in real life, you don’t see the fidgeting, the yawning, the rolled eyes, the “she is cuckoo” hand gestures (or other hand gestures). All you see are the responses people type into their computers. Fortunately for me, a lot of people have bothered to type in a lot of nice things in response to stuff I say or do. It’s easy to let that go to your head sometimes. “Yeah, I am brilliant. Geeze!” What a life.
But all of that is really about you, and we all know that Social Media is supposed to be about serving others. So I’ve been asking myself today, “What are other people really getting from my various and sundry Social Media engagements?”
I’m not sure I have a clear answer to that question. And that’s not me asking for an RSVP to a pity party, byob. I’m just saying, I don’t know that I’ve been focused enough on what I’m actually offering. I hope that for people that I chat with on a friendly basis, I’m offering friendship and fun, but that isn’t really the essence of a professional presence in Social Media, right?
I know what I want my value to be
I have my eyes on a prize. I know what I want my value to be. I want to be a resource. I want to be a person that can be considered a reliable, credible source of assistance and information in the marketing industry. I want people to be able to come to me and say, “This charitable organization or person needs help. Can you spread the word?”
Is that what I am working towards with these blog posts? With my tweets? I don’t know. I may be, but I haven’t given it thought, and that’s what’s disconcerting.
What is your value add?
One of the reasons (of many) that I respect Stanford over at Pushing Social is that he knows what his value is. He calls himself the “beat reporter” for his Twitter followers, and he wants to inspire people to blog and engage with passion everywhere. All that he does builds towards those goals. The more I ponder this question, the more I respect him for being so sure of his path in this world.
What is your value add? What are you aiming to do when you sign into your Twitter account or when you ask people to read your blog? It’s worth some thought.
Image Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Leonardini