Jumbo shrimp. Social Steve. Oxymorons? There was a time when both were, but I have evolved. Shrimp have not yet. Yes, I was not always so social.
I have been in marketing for the past twenty years or so. I started to get involved in social media almost three years ago – first on a start up venture I was working on, then as a consultant, and now the Director of Social Media at Hachette Filipacchi Media. When I set up my Twitter account, I decided I needed something catchy so that people might remember me. This was the start of my brand, “Social Steve.”
So interesting enough, I am considered an experienced and creative marketing executive, but “social” – not necessarily one of my strongest points. Don’t get me wrong – I am not a reclusive hermit or anything like that. It is just that I have never been a good at starting a conversation.
So I launched a Twitter account (and other social media accounts) under the pseudo-name of Social Steve. My wife thought I was crazy. (She knows me best.) Over time, I helped a number of companies increase their awareness and leads as a social media consultant. I run a blog and use other social channels to educate and coach on social media’s best practices, and now, lead all social media efforts at Hachette Filipacchi Media (Elle, Car and Driver, Woman’s Day, Cycle World, Elle Decor, Road and Track).
While many have benefitted from my participation in social media channels, I am probably the one who has benefitted the most. Simple reason – I have met many inspiring people and built relationships and socialized with so many. The emergence of “Social Steve” has made me social.
Social media channels provide the icebreaker. Instead of talking about the weather, there is an immediate connection and discussion of relevant topics and information of mutual interest. Yeah, you can also have small talk. I love talking about music, my team the Flyers, and my kids. Small talk brings out your personality. And of course, there is also conversation of matters of importance.
What social media has done for me is that it has allowed introductions to happen that were previously uncomfortable for me. I have started relationships with some people in various social media outlets and then met them at events and meetings. Our connection and rapport is much stronger having had a number of exchanges prior to actually meeting face to face.
I guess it is safe to say that going by the name (or brand) of Social Steve has been a self-fulfilling prophecy. In fact now that I am known as Social Steve, I am outwardly more social.
So why so much space on a confessional here? Think about it … if one person can generate awareness, connect with people, build relationships, and establish a brand, what can a company accomplish with their resources? I started out as a sole proprietor looking to launch a new social network monetization company and evolved to a social media consultant and now leading social media at a great company. I evolved by connecting with people. They helped me along the way and I learned tons to get where I am. One person. That’s all. Are you really going to tell me that a company cannot accomplish something bigger?
Make It Happen!