Thursday, September 9, 2010

Need to focus on perceived value for YOUR client .. not just activity

Digital Eminence is one of the new 'buzz words' today.  What does that mean?  It's not just about your expertise... it's about how others in your network perceive your expertise.  If you are eminent, your opinions are valued and you have influence and credibility.   Often, people will 'jump in' and get their 'social numbers' high ... e.g. number of followers or number of tweets,  This may look good on your profile, but is it really increasing your eminence?   One of the insights provided by a Subject Matter Expert team on this topic:  Social media participation should not be measured by the activity, but the value/impact it has

It's interesting to think about what that means for me.  Do I know who my clients are?  What do they value?   Do I understand their needs?   How can my expertise provide them value? These sound like easy questions to answer, but in reality, it's not so easy.  As I started my journey to participate socially, I thought it would good to first listen to the conversation.  Hmm ... there are millions of tweets out there.  How do I sort through the 'noise' and figure out where I can add value?  With the help of some co-workers in this area, I am starting to learn how to use free tools such as TweetDeck and HootSuite to begin to categorize conversations that are of interest. 

With a project management background, I'm coming to the conclusion that this challenge is no different than managing a successful project.  It always starts with understanding who your stakeholders are (i.e. clients), and what their needs are.  Once you understand that, you need to get clarity around what are you trying to accomplish (i.e. what is your goal), based on your skills (i.e. your expertise)  ... and how you will measure success.   The element of resource availability also comes into play here.  Your goals need to be dependent on how much time you will be able to commit to it.  As an example, if I commit 2 hours per week, it will take X months ... but it will take twice as long if I commit only 1 hour per week.   Another critical success factor for projects is to assure that there is sufficient time spent upfront in the planning phase.  As part of your planning, you need to take time to listen to the current conversations, understand who the current experts are and determine what is driving their influence.  This planning phase will also give you an opportunity to understand where your clients are collaborating, so you can be visible where they are.    

We need to keep in mind that your clients may value non-social forms of eminence, perhaps more than digital eminence.  Once you understand your goals, you can include things such as presenting at conferences and participation in professional organizations.  Companies can't be too prescriptive on activity metrics or which mechanisms to use.  It's all about demonstrating value for your client.

So ... understand who your audience is, what their goals are ... and how your expertise can provide value.  Give yourself enough time upfront to put your plan together.  That will get you on the path to establishing your eminence!  I'm just starting on the journey, and welcome your thoughts and insights!

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