I recently celebrated my 30th birthday. While all my friends and family made the “old man” jokes, I came to the conclusion that turning 30 is not so bad after all. I still feel like I am 29 and have therefore pushed the threshold for “being old” back to everything above 40 (sorry readers over 40). I am certain, if I am lucky enough to make it to 40, I will push that threshold back to 50, and so on.
Comparatively speaking, 30 is nothing when looking at the lessons learned from my 99 year-old great grandma. Nevertheless, I have certainly learned a thing or two in the last 30 years that have proven helpful in the execution of my social media strategy. So without further ado, I present my top three life lessons from the last 30 years accompanied with the impact they have had on my social media presence.
1. Sometimes, you need to throw your shoe out of the window
My mom has been encouraging me to write about my shoe throwing incident for a while, so here it is mom. I was about six years old when the shoe throwing incident occurred. I was sitting in the front seat of our minivan with my mom at the wheel. We were stopped at a red light. I spontaneously decided to take one of my shoes off, roll down the window, and throw it outside onto the street. After the shock and anger subsided and the shoe was back on my foot, my mom asked me why I did it, and my response was, “I just wanted to see what would happen.” Basically, this story encourages me to be curious, take chances and explore all options.
On social media, “throwing your shoe out the window” could refer to reaching out to top influencers in your community and pitching some sort of collaboration idea. Maybe it means trying out a new ad campaign or starting a twitter chat on a particular topic. With a “let’s see what will happen” attitude, more risks can be taken.
Nearly three years ago, I decided I wanted to start a supply chain blog “just to see what would happen.” I got some colleagues on board and we started blogging, something that was new to all of us. Last month, we were included on a list representing the world’s top supply chain/logistics blogs. It was a good thing we decided to “see what would happen!”
2. If it ain’t broke, optimize it anyway
In essence, don’t rest on your laurels! This is something that has proven helpful both professionally and personally. In the business world, resting on laurels could prove devastating if competitors are busy innovating. The same holds true for personal performance either on the job, on a sports team or on social media.
Sean Gardner, someone I look to for social media advice, states that social media is not just about familiarity, but rather growth:
A1 ‘The Box’ says “Only RT people you’re familiar with.” No! ditch the box! Social media is about growth, not just familiarity. #BareItAll
— Sean Gardner (@2morrowknight) June 5, 2013
There is nothing wrong with retweeting friends and business partners, but retweeting new people each day that are involved in your niche could help optimize engagement on social media. Thinking outside the box could accelerate an otherwise stagnant social media account.
Optimization could also come in the form of analyzing industry hashtags. When are the majority of tweets going out about a topic of interest? And what about engagement? Could you be getting more favorites, retweets and replies by adjusting when you spend your time online?
Becoming complacent could lead to stalled growth on social media. Staying on top of recent trends and continually searching for ways to optimize your social media presence will lead to success.
3. If you fall down, get back up
One of my favorite things to do when I visit my parents is watch home videos from my childhood. The best (funniest) videos are from my early years. One example is from when I was about one year old. My older brother would plop an oversized football helmet on my head and tell me I was Dan Marino. He would put a football in my hand, sack me, and let Joe Montana (his role) score the game winning touchdown. Joe had several game winning touchdowns per outing, meaning Dan Marino got sacked…a lot. But Dan Marino always got back up and he has Joe Montana to thank for that.
Falling down, whether you were pushed or not, is a part of life. Mistakes on social media will be made. You will get unfollowed. Your tweets will fall on deaf ears. Someone you reach out to, while throwing your shoe out the window, may not respond right away. As I described in my previous article, it took several months before I received a response from the Huffington Post. The key is always getting back up.
Of course, these are not the only things I have learned in the last 30 years. Some other major lessons include:
- Don’t drink lemonade or coke after brushing your teeth
- Try not to let expectations become restrictions
- Eight hours of sleep does a body good
- Respect your elders, and everyone else
- Keep it simple
It is definitely possible to apply all of these lessons to some aspect of social media and elaborate on how I learned these lessons, but that would have taken too long and after all, I am getting old! Maybe another time.