Would you consider yourself proficient at Google+? How about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogging, or any other part of the Internet?
I’m sure you can say “yes” to at least one of those. Now let me ask you this: once you became proficient, did you surround yourself with equally proficient people?
Take a step back and look at your activity and connections on that network, and ask yourself: am I talking in an echo chamber? If so, here are some ideas to break out and showcase, maybe even monetize, your skills.
What’s an echo chamber?
An echo chamber is when everybody is talking to themselves about a topic, in a confined space, without anyone else to hear it. Take social media, or Google+, who at this young stage in its life is notorious for being an echo chamber. People surround themselves with the same group of proficient users, who share incredibly useful information about Google+, to people on Google+, which gets reshared to others on Google+.
Yet, ask anybody about these proficient users outside Google+ and they have no idea who they are.
I’m guilty as charged, or at least I was, until three things happened in my life that changed my perspective on talking about my proficiency with the Google+ platform. Let me tell you what they are first, and then I’ll tell you how I am breaking away:
- I set up my email list as an RSS notification, and realized that nearly every blog post was about Google+. My blog is supposed to be about web strategy as a whole, but of late, all my subscribers get from me is my beating Google+ over their heads. Not cool, Stephan. You can add more value than that.
- I hosted my good friend and visibility expert, Denise Wakeman, on a Hangout on Air (HOA) where we talked about getting more from your social media presence. Denise said the phrase, “I have listening communities, and broadcasting communities,” and it was one of those ah-ha moments. Denise took what she learned from people in her Google+ circles over to her communities on LinkedIn, Facebook, and her email list. I needed to do that with the people I follow on Google+ (including myself) who talk about all the great things the platform can do.
- Mike Allton, another good friend and prolific blogger about social media, wrote a piece about prioritizing his social networks. Mike advocates being as omnipresent as possible but having a purpose (and corresponding amount of time you’ll invest) on each content marketing network.
So, if I take these three things, put them together, stir, and add confidence (important), I should be able to craft a strategy to break out of the Google+ echo chamber I am contributing to, and help more people, which in turn, helps my business.
3 areas to build your brand outside your area of expertise
1. Write a book. I decided to take this route, and launched the Google+ Pro Tips series of ebooks on Amazon. ebooks do a few things: they differentiate you from the average blogger (it’s a higher barrier to entry), they establish you as an authority (you wouldn’t go through the process if you didn’t believe in yourself), and they require your audience to make the investment in themselves to consume your content and make themselves better.
Now I can also pull from my ebooks to create blog posts and other types of content.
2. Host webinars. Webinars are a more complex, but very rewarding approach. You will build lists, have more one-on-one contact, and more than likely create opportunities to repurpose your webinar material into keynotes or coaching programs.
I will probably be doing this as well, but want to use the lowest barrier to entry (ebooks) to build up some brand recognition, feedback, and one-on-one connections that I can build into a better webinar offering.
3. Build yourself up on other networks. You are trying to break out into a new area, so one way to do that is to spend time in that area. My suggestion would be to invest in professional help so you can spend your time effectively, while still maintaining an authoritative presence in your primary field of expertise.
I’ve pruned my Twitter, LinkedIn, Triberr, and Facebook connections to pretty much
the people I know on Google+, so I can rebuild them knowing who can help me the most on various platforms (including blogs). The one-on-one relationships may mean slow-going at first, but since I am building a brand on a new platform, I do not want to come out of the gate too quickly, or I may be perceived by others as salesy.
In a way, I’ve laid out the next steps for myself as a professional who is proficient in Google+ and web strategy, but all business owners should be able to take ideas from my experience to grow their network outside their comfort zone.
What will you try?