Week 1 – Finding a digital purpose

Wake Up and Be Amazing

© Tweeter Linder 2017 – All rights reserved. Photo by iStock.

This is the first week in a 13-week program designed to build digital influencing skills. Staring your digital influencing journey by finding a digital purpose. And to let your starting point and ambition define the support level required to meet your objectives.

What purpose should your digital influencing serve?

When developing our digital skills, we have a larger number of options to consider. One possible priority is to increase our personal leverage in digital channels. To serve both personal growth ambitions as well as your company’s reach in digital channels.

The following purposes are all within the realm of possibilities. Engage earlier with your customers, through interactions in the digital domain. Increasing the reach for your ideas and insights, outside your primary contact network. Increase the frequency in touch points, beyond what is possible with face-to-face meetings only. All three requiring a digital presence and interactions through social media platforms.

The purpose that shaped the early stages of my digital journey was a push to expand reach of novel ideas and insights. And to connect with people I have not and will not meet in real life.

What role do you aspire to play?

On a high level, a digital influencer fall in one of three main categories. The first category of influencers add value by putting out novel ideas. For others to support, critique and relay to a broader audience. The second focus on improving novel ideas from others. Adding value by correcting factual errors and suggesting improvements. The final category engages in reading, commenting and relaying ideas.

Your digital persona should reflect who you are in real life. Putting yourself through a simple test on your natural preference in a group in front of a white-board. Do you step up first and grab a black pen and sketch original ideas? Do you go second and make suggestion in red to the original idea? Or do you take notes and high light the important comment with a yellow highlighter.

In the digital world, you can expect 1% to stand for the original ideas. 9% to take red pen roles and the large majority to focus on reading, commenting and relaying. To a large extent coupled to the exponentially higher level of efforts required to influence on idea level. The ambition level you pick is about being honest to yourself and select something you are comfortable with.

I am a black pen character which set me up for a rough start when I embarked on my journey. My natural preference was a lot beyond where my digital skills were in the beginning. And if I would have done a rerun I would have selected a more modest ambition from start. And increased my ambition down the road.

What is your starting point?

The possible starting points for digital influencer candidates vary a lot. Where the starting point come from previous  choices, rather than personal capabilities. We all have different perspectives on privacy on social media platforms. A perspective often differing between private and professional roles.

Skills for digital influencing translates between social media platforms. When you have figured one out the second goes a lot quicker. If you have been active on Facebook and Instagram for private purposes you have basics in place. Supporting you to embrace LinkedIn and Twitter for professional purposes. As you start your digital influencer journey, previous border lines will become vaguer. Professional and private profiles will merge. Your personal communication style while spill over between platforms.

Be honest to yourself where you start from. As the step of embracing your first social media platform is greater than the second one. No starting point is below zero. As a professional you have contact is real life or on digital platforms, or even better on both. And your journey is about leveraging what you already have. And adding a digital context.

My journey started with a mediocre Facebook presence. A personality open to exploring new. A poor LinkedIn profile. A private blog written in poor English. No Twitter, Pinterest nor Instagram accounts. And the icing on the cake, a Klout score below 10. More on that later. Leveraging a career with face to face story-telling and hobby photography as my main assets.

Who can assist you on your journey?

The support you will need come from the gap between ambition and your starting point. All enjoy external support when building digital skills fast. Great sources for inspiration are younger colleagues. Born and raised digital. Further areas to explore is colleagues in Marketing and Human Resources. Often the first two departments in an organization where digital skills are in play.

Leveraging younger colleagues’ skills is an extra rewarding opportunity. Where a reversed mentoring model is in play from young to experienced team members. Not always natural for senior team members but a powerful tool for your journey.

There are many great sources of inspiration where you can find support. At local Social Media clubs or gatherings where experts share their advice. Shorter digital on-line courses, podcasts etc. Take the opportunity to take in inspiration early.  Let others’ mistakes become your experiences from start.

My initial support came from a younger team member and her social media savvy sibling. Combined with frequent visits to the social media club in town. Make me proud of each small step I took forward. Without losing perspective of the ocean of insights to tap into.    

Check list for your first week

Your task this week is to answer the following questions for yoruself.  To feel comfortable with the balance between ambition, starting point and the support you have access to.

  1. Define the role you aspire to play on the digital arena
  • BLACK PEN – Influencing markets and customers with original thoughts
  • RED PEN – Take part in digital conversations as an active contributor
  • YELLOW PEN – Read and relay insightful information
  1. Honest clarification of your starting point
  • A passive LinkedIn account, a personal Facebook account but no further presence
  • An active LinkedIn account, up to date with profile and contacts
  • A basics digital profile in place across several platforms
  1. Identify a digital coach/mentor to guide you on your journey
  • A digital native with an established social media presence
  • A digital marketer with an established social media presence
  • An external mentor – supporting my company’s digital transformation

Thank you for reading to the end. Next week’s subject is about establishing the accounts you will and can use as part of your journey.

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