When I think of the term ‘inside out’, I remember the day I left the house with my t-shirt on inside-out. I was 16 at the time and somewhat scatter-brained (not much has changed, these days I have a mental checklist and keep a mirror at the door as a visual cue and contingency plan to make sure I always leave with pants on).
During the drive into town, my fingers absent-mindedly found the seam running along the outside of my sleeve and slowly the realisation of what I’d done whilst dressing hurriedly in the dark to catch my early-morning lift, dawned on me. I was beyond mortified and positively itching to wiggle my way out of this certain social-suicide situation! At 16, my greatest desire was to simply blend in and not attract more attention to myself and my already ‘weird’ family than was absolutely necessary. Wearing clothing inside-out in front of my peers would have me ranked as a freak before the bell rang for first break! Squeezed between the seats in the back of the car away from prying eyes, I managed to turn my shirt the right way round before breezing nonchalantly into school as if it was just another ordinary Monday morning.
Fast-forward almost two decades and perspective has shown that standing out for being your authentic self is a good thing; to be desired in fact, and that nothing is ever as much of a ‘train-smash’ or ‘social suicide’ as we sometimes imagine it to be in our minds. Take social networking for example; it’s been said that ‘you are what you share’ and a brief sweep of your social media will quickly give anyone perusing, a swift insight into your interests and values.
This is where turning your social networking ‘inside-out’ begins: with you.
Following these simple rules will soon have you experiencing growth on your networks while you start to attract people with whom you can share synergy in various forms.
- Be your authentic self
While this advice has been prolifically propagated, it is still sometimes a challenge to present an accurate representation of ourselves to the ‘outside world’. Wanting to always put our best foot forward and show the world our most appealing angles is a natural human inclination and while I don’t advocate airing your dirty laundry on Facebook for example, in the name of ‘authenticity’, what I am suggesting is that you don’t create a façade that you will find exhausting to maintain, whether on your personal or business profiles. Be who you are.
Show the world a little of what makes you tick.
Drop your pretences. In the end, ‘your vibe will attract your tribe’ as they say and you want a tribe whose values align with your own. With this in mind, before sharing content online, ask yourself if it’s true to what you believe and stand for. Pause to think about your posts and how they might be interpreted and reflect on you.
- Keep your friends close
Human beings are wired for social interaction and though the tools have changed, most of our fundamental social behaviours have remained the same (give or take the clusters of smartphones piled on restaurant tables these days while we try to socialise without looking at screens!).
Networking (both online and offline) helps us build relationships with like-minded individuals. We all have a core-group of people that we interact with on a daily or regular basis. This core-group is your inner-circle and they form a vital part of your network. Maintaining regular, positive interaction with them will help to grow your online network because as you mention them and they reciprocate, the reach for your name and/or message expands.
When you have a large number of friends/followers online, it is important to make use of lists so that you can keep in touch with your core interactors regularly. Leveraging a small but effective inner-circle is a proven inside-out approach or model that has helped to grow followings for leaders since time immemorial, as well as to help grow communities for brands and businesses today. If you’re a Twitter user, get a better idea of who you interact with most regularly and who the strongest ‘ nodes’ are in their network using a tool for insight such as: www.mentionmapp.com
- Show the outside some of inside
When it comes to authenticity and building trust, don’t be afraid to let the inside show. Some of the most successful social networkers today (both individuals and brands/businesses) are those who take their fans and followers ‘behind the scenes’ to let them in on the parts of the journey the world doesn’t usually get to see.
Human curiosity is a powerful tool.
Use it to your advantage by choosing what to reveal and conceal about yourself online as well as your business. You could give a ‘behind the scenes factory tour’ or a visually-oriented blog post on how your business came into being or a ‘teaser’ about a new product or service you’ve yet to release. People love the back story. Use this tactic to tell stories about your staff and/or team/s too. Times have changed, it’s now about letting some of the inside out and if you don’t, you’re missing a valuable opportunity.
- Living from the inside-out
This involves your personal philosophy for living that will naturally filter through not only to your social media activities but to every aspect of your life. What my ‘inside out’ philosophy involves is an approach that considers ‘What’s In It For Others’ first. You may have seen the popular hashtags #giversgain or #RonR which stands for ‘return on relationship’ coined by Ted Rubin? To me, these tags embody a simple but ‘inside-out’ philosophy (in the sense that it may at first seem counterintuitive).
I have seen time and again how living it from the inside out by giving, being helpful and being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see a situation from their perspective, has consequently been of direct or indirect benefit to myself. I must, however, point out that you don’t give to gain. Hidden motives or agendas always come to light. Rather concentrate on living authentically from the heart and the rest really does fall into place.
Jacqui Mackway-Wilson is the face of Go Social SA. Passionate about people, Jacqui thrives on building targeted, active, engaged online communities for brands and businesses that helps to maximize their digital marketing efforts and contribute towards a positive effect on their bottom line. You can follow her on Twitter @gosocialsa and Facebook or on the Go Social SA website