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3 signs your social media shout is a whisper

Every other week I like to remind you that you’re being a social media wuss. And, by wuss, I mean you’re being too much of a social media “nice guy.” And by “nice guy” I mean you’re spending too much time worrying about what others think to the point of turning your entire social media marketing campaign into a milquetoast and pablum sandwich. You spend too much time trying to get everyone to like you. You’re always afraid of stepping on toes or offending anyone. You’re especially afraid of getting fired. If you’re honest with yourself, that’s your biggest fear: losing your job if you’re an employee or losing (or alienating) your clients (or prospects) by doing something as revolutionary as having a voice, an opinion, an agenda, or a point-of-view. Heaven forbid.

If you don’t have any champions…

You as a brand shouldn’t be a one-man-band. The online world is (and has always been) a conversation. The Internet is a collaboration. The social mediasphere is a two-way-street. And if you’re speaking to yourself alone in your social media room, you’re doing something wrong.

What are you doing wrong? Are you boring? Are you afraid? Are you insecure? Are you derivative? Do you create unique and compelling content or do you just repeat, retweet, and reshare the hard work of others? Are you a unique source or are you a repeater? Are you a soloist or just another face in the choir? Cowboy up and audition for the solo.

Even better, why don’t you write your own music? Become a social media composer? Well, at the very least, learn how to project your voice to the back of the hall! Learn to use your diaphragm and get some volume.

Even if you have nothing to actually say, say it loudly and with confidence. Loud and proud always wins if you never leave the choir. Not everyone’s meant to become a soloist, a composer, or a conductor.

If you don’t have any enemies…

If you’re willing to compel the attention of the spotlight, you’re going to have critics. If you don’t, you’re not saying anything. You may not actually be dull but you’re being a dullard online. You’re not even being a dullard worthy of bullying or mocking, you’re being a Gray Man. “A gray man?” you ask: “The gray man is someone who can walk through a crowd, be seen by everyone, but remembered by nobody because nothing about them stands out.” The gray man is a concept taken from survivalism. The belief states that being invisible is better for survival than running around brandishing assault rifles and a big fancy 4X4. Cool, right?

Being a gray man may well be dandy for keeping alive in a post-apocalyptic deathscape, but being an invisible wallflower is antithetical to what you’re supposed to be doing on behalf of your brand, your company, your boss, your products, and your services.

Yes, I know you love social media because you’re naturally bookish, introverted, and a little anti-social (which is why you’re so good at social) but you’re now in content marketing, social media marketing, and digital marketing — and marketing is a subset of selling and sales requires that you beat the band, get out there, and break through the chaff, the ack ack — that you’re able to go from your librarian’s whisper to Whitman’s “barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world!” Repeat after me: “Yawp!” Ok, once again, “YAWP!” Much better.

If at least a few people a month don’t even care enough to slag, slander, hate on, or flame you enough to make you a little nervous, then you’re not yawping very well, you’re not being authentic enough.

The reason why everyone hates a nice guy is because the nice guy is often kind of a jerk. He spends so much time doing things he hopes and prays you’ll find appealing that he’s essentially a liar. He’s a liar because he’s fine being “just friends” even though he’s in love with you; he’s inauthentic because he’s not being himself and he’s got one hell of an unfulfilled agenda that moves further and further away; and the nice guy’s even dangerous because the rift between what he wants and who he is and how he’s acting, behaving, and being is infused with frustration and disappointment — and that can be volatile. People really do want to know you better — stop being such a bifurcated putz.

If nobody unfollows you…

We keep on talking about acquiring followers, Likes, friends, and fans. We’re obsessed with it. We’re also super-afraid of being unfollowed. If you’re never being unfollowed, unliked, bozo-filtered, banned, blacklisted, spam-boxed, or tarred-and-feathered, you’re probably not pushing hard enough. I don’t mean you need to bash people over the head — you can win with charm, playfulness, smarts, humor, entertainment, or even je ne sais quoi.

But one thing you need to do is maybe message a little more than you do. Or choose a side. Or have an opinion that is a little more controversial and risky than glib beauty pageant aspirations for world peace.

(Ok, I thought I should mention just about now that I am being a little extreme. I want you to increase your volume: frequency-of-tweets, boldness of voice, directness-of-intent, and something even scarier and more intimidating: what do you want from your followers? What do you need from them? How would you like them to help you?

In a perfect world where you actually got your heart’s intent, what would all your social media profiles, handles, Walls, channels, etc., be doing for you? Would they be adding bottom line to your revenue? Would they result in more donations to your cause? Would they be buying, buying, buying from your awesome eCommerce site?

Remember this: you can kiss your followers! They’ve already admitting to having a crush on you. There’s no reason in God’s green earth why they would be following, liking, and subscribing to you otherwise, right? You’re not going to lean over, your eyes closed, and get a cheek. Come on, you’re already an item!

And really, the only reason why anyone would unfollow you is because they just don’t think that this is the right relationship. That this match wasn’t made in heaven and they’re going to look some more. It’s not you, it’s me; it’s not me, it’s you — whatever.

Churn’s a good thing. I mean it. If your followership is stagnant, it’s because so are you.

So, you’re really not even risking anything, are you? If they’re already into you, you can come from a place of power, of leadership, and of control — but in a good, supportive way.

You don’t need to fear rejection because your friends, followers, and subscribers have already made the first move. Yes, I know that doesn’t make it any easier, but you’ll never make it around all the bases and get a home run if you don’t start with a first kiss. (Ok, that analogy has more than played out — I can just hear all of the unfollows, dislikes, unsubscribes that I am getting right now as we spiel.) But, at the end of the day, the reason why everyone likes bad boys is because they take what they want, they speak their mind, they don’t apologize, and they stand their ground!

While I don’t necessarily recommend that much aggression be dumped into your social media platforms, I do agree with one thing: the stereotypical bad boy certainly gets what he wants because he knows what he wants and he lets people know in a very clear, easy-to-parse and easy-to-understand way. Even though he may well be bad, he’s not duplicitous and you never (ever) need to read his mind to know what he’s after. He’s willing to raise his voice and become the center of attention — he’s even willing to make a scene when there’s no other choice — and so should you.

Never has the mediasphere been more noisy, competitive, or easy-to-access in the history of mankind — you’re going to need to be willing to shamelessly and fearlessly draw some attention to yourself to draw attention to your brand or corporate mission.

Good luck, knight — I wish you good luck on your quest.

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Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, Wikipedia curationsocial media strategy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreachinfluencer engagement, and Internet crisis response, with the digital PR and social media marketing agency Gerris digital. [Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me] A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries' leading firms. Chris Abraham specializes in web technologies, including content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.  Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 79 the last time he looked. Chris Abraham started doing web development back in 1994, SEO in 1998, blogging in 1999, influencer engagement in 2003, social media strategy in 2005, blogger outreach in 2006, and Wikipedia curation in 2007. Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call. If you want to know the services that Chris offers check out Services If you want to work with Chris use the Contact Form You're welcome to follow me via Social Media You can learn more about Chris over in About Chris writes a lot so check out the Blog Chris offers webinars so check Events

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