The Intersection

How to Achieve Influence and Success in a Digital World

In order for your business or conference to achieve worldwide "word of mouth" on the web, it is crucial to add a human touch to social media.

It can be challenging for businesses to find their place in the vast digital landscape. But when approached thoughtfully, conquering social media doesn’t need to be an insurmountable task, according to Erik Qualman, motivational speaker and bestselling author of Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business. “Don’t jump in and use every possible social media or mobile outlet out there,” Qualman suggested. “I always say focus on one, get pretty good at that, and move on from there.”

It is crucial to get a handle on social media and mobile because together, they have the power to reach more attendees than ever before. “Our best customers, our best audience members, our best attendees always came from word of mouth, but it didn’t scale. That was the issue with word of mouth,” Qualman said. When social media and mobile came along, they gave scale to world of mouth, called “world of mouth.”

Qualman says that businesses with a successful digital presence follow the acronym STAMP. “They simplify as much as they can. They’re true to themselves and their organization,” Qualman said. The “A” stands for action — making sure that the company is taking steps toward a digital goal, rather than doing busywork without any output. “The ‘M’ is for map — a firm destination in mind, but we need to be flexible in our path on how we get there,” Qualman explained.

The “P” stands for people — “surround yourself online with the right people,” Qualman suggested, such as influencers in your industry. Barbara Palmer, senior editor and director of digital content for Convene has found success in building the magazine’s online presence by doing just that.

“’Surround yourself online with the right people’ is a strategy that we have fully embraced,” Palmer said. “We want our numbers to grow and our circle to be as wide as possible, but we also want to be in conversation with people who are innovative and thoughtful and committed to advancing the industry and the larger world around us. We work to stay true to PCMA’s goals of inspiring, sharing innovative ideas, and education.”

Palmer also takes to heart Qualman’s idea of using your EQ — your emotional quotient — when representing a business on the web.

“Social media should be social,” Palmer reasoned. “Your goal should be to do as much listening as talking.” Instead of using phrases like “pushing out messages” and “driving traffic,” Palmer prefers to take a more human approach to communicating through social channels.

“Just like in a face-to-face conversation, it’s imperative to use social media to listen to your audience and learn from them,” Palmer said. “On the other hand, we’ve recently been speaking up a bit more on social media. We need to hold up our end of the conversation.”

Tips for Succeeding in the Digital World

1. “Socialnomics” means blending your use of social media and your live events to extend the impact of what you are doing.

2. Decide on what your “one word” is for the year and then follow that idea every day.

3. Follow STAMP: Simplify, Be True to yourself, Take Action, Map your plan, and Empower your People.

4. It’s not IQ (Intelligent Quotient) but EQ (Emotional Quotient) that will win the day.

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Casey Gale