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Finding your own social media voice (aka the art of preaching what you practice!)

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Finding your own social media voiceThe most terrifying obstacle for me when I entered the social networking scene was the lack of rules and guidelines.Why was this scary?
Because maybe like me, you too had learned at some point that it was for my own good that I separate my business and private life. These two should never mix and if they did, it was a really bad thing! Seriously. Bad.
I got this message first from childhood and then later on from school in my marketing classes. Be different in every part of your life.

Why was this a bright idea exactly?
Because we believe we need to create and market perfect things. That that’s what sells. So flaws should be avoided, minimized, and hidden at all costs. We think that no one wants to see what’s real. Only what’s polished and professional. By association, we would then need to appear perfectly polished and blemish free too. The rule: Stick to the corporate spiel.

Except. When the spiel is applied to real life it’s really B-O-R-I-N-G!
Social media breaks down compartmentalized thinking. That’s it’s greatest gift!
Social media is how you make your work, you know, social.
And personally speaking, the more authentic I get to be in my work, the happier I am. Living the alternate reality (as I did) made that truth very clear.

I really had to dare to use my own voice in social media. But what was it?

What comprised my unique voice?
Hmmmm … maybe 1 part professional and 1 part me just to jazz it up.  Naaah, just two parts Matt. I am professional and I’m “all that jazz” too. Turns out that was just less work to be myself and do what I was going to do with my time anyway.

So how do you develop your own social media voice?

To show you, I’ll use myself as an example:

Step 1: Take Inventory!
Make a list of  all the things that you like to do.   Here’s mine:
Social media, facilitation, software, technology, career development, process implementation, entrepreneur, automotive, business marketing,  snowboarding, hiking, travel, design, politics, social change, yoga, swimming.
There’s more, but these are the most immediate ones (I have favorite TV shows too).
But even this list is too much. It’s not humanly possible to be an expert on all these subjects at once. There just aren’t enough hours in the day or breaths for this lifetime.

So …
I picked my top five activities (the ones that I just couldn’t live without). I know that if I’m passionate about it, writing about it will feel easy. Natural. Fun. What I’d be doing anyway. Get it?

My top 5:

  1. Social Media
  2. Career Development
  3. Snowboarding and Outdoor Activities
  4. Design and Technology
  5. Vancouver and attractions around the city

Step 2: Put Your Thinking Cap On!
If you’re blogging for work and maybe what you do for work didn’t make the list of top 5 things that “float your boat,” please don’t freak out.  I’ve found that you can incorporate work into anything fun that you do.  It won’t make your fun less fun. You might just need to mix it up a bit.

Here’s how:
Let’s say you work in the transportation industry. Maybe for you the luster has long gone but for whatever reason you’ve been asked to blog about it.
Add this to the mix: Your off duty passion is snowboarding and you are off to the local ski hill every weekend.
Now use your imagination and the content will come – for a blog or a series. Intend fun!

Like:

  1. Take a form of transportation to the snow hill that you usually would not – bus, taxi, or hitch hike. Then blog about it.
  2. Take a road trip to a different snow hill. Then blog about it.
  3. Find pictures of spots along the way to the snow hill from the past (this is called research). And voila! Blog post!

This is your chance to be creative in how you tell a story!  The more creative the better in social media and you might just put some luster back into to your work.
My friend @thewitchofbliss says: “Preach what you practice!”

It’s who you are, it’s what you actually and really do, and from the inside you’re closing the gap between who you think you should be and who you really are. It’ll be more than okay. As you can see, it can be fun!

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