be your own social duck People are moving by the masses to social communities and platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. There is much pressure to have a page as cool as your competitors, clients, partners and colleagues.

There are many experts who tell you how to talk, how to tweet, what to say, when to say it, who to say it to and if you should say it while driving, working, singing, dancing, working out or even while you visit the restroom.  Yes, I know I am one of those folks too. I write many tips, tricks and do my best to share what I believe to be truths in social media that enable success. I listen, learn, read and absorb as much information as my brain can literally hold daily learning from the thought leaders who inspire and teach me as well.

However, there is one primary issue I see in the mass community, be like everybody else world. People are doing much more following than leading. They are losing site of who they are. They are losing sight of WHY they are doing any of this in the first place. They get so caught up in the moment of a hashtag gone viral, a Timeline banner that looks the best on the planet, circles on Google+, and more that it doesn't take much to completely distract them from their goals and objectives.

If you aren't careful and this happens to you, before you know it you will be off on a wild tangent of random acts of marketing (RAMs). Before you know it, that integrated business, marketing and social media plan you got approved and budgeted seems to lose priority in exchange for the latest buzz.

So what do you do? This is the first in a series on social media truths. This first post is about “being your own duck.”  The second will be focused on how to lead in a market of look a like ducks with a goal of leading with results, not the next biggest thing!

10 Tips to Be Your Own Duck:

1. Develop an integrated business, marketing and social media plan. Know your audience. Know your business. Know what you want to achieve. Know how to measure it. Social media is not a bandaid for a broken business. It will eat your greatest asset which is time and follow that with a desert of your bottom line and every last dollar of positive return on investment (ROI.) There is much difference between doing social media versus being a social business.

2. Stick to your plan. Stay true to your goals and objectives. Schedule weekly meetings with core stakeholders to ensure you are staying on track. Schedule and measure milestones, targets and goals. Reward yourself when you acheive success.

3. Lead with results. The best way you can stand out is to lead with results. Be the first in your industry or niche to see real business results using social media. The focus shouldn't be only on developing a viral marketing asset to get you on the map. Lead with real results and people will be naturally drawn to your communities.

4. It's not about the next biggest thing! The days of the splashiest campaign are done. Now what matters are campaigns that bring results. Instead of spending time brainstorming the next best thing, spend time integrating social into a plan that helps you achieve your business goals and objectives. Spend time getting in the head of your audience. Understand how your business can help them achieve results.

5. Combine creativity and execution. Focus on standing out in the crowd with a combo of creativity and execution. Lose one or the other and you're destined to be an average duck.

6. Hang with the right ducks. If you hang with 9 ugly, grouchy ducks you'll wind up being the 10th! Hang with ducks who help you feel good, inspire you to be your best and can do better as a team working with them than you can on your own.

7. Take care of those duck feathers! If it's been awhile since you did a brand refresh, have a few close colleagues, clients or partners who can be super honest with you do a review. Focus on consistency across the different platforms and social network profiles. Focus both on the creative look and feel as well as the words within the bios.

8.  Don't forget about home base. Make sure your website and/or blog site is consistent with your online brand. This is an easy way to stand out because there are far too many folks who are simply putting all of their duck eggs in one basket such as Facebook. Focus on making your website or blog site an integrated  component of your online presence. Leverage email opt-ins, video and blog content to engage your audience.

9. Do better not necessarily more. When it comes to connecting with your audience it is more important that you are inspiring and connecting with them than it is you push out a blog post every single day. One or two really good blog posts a week is better than five days of status quo blog posts that look and feel like everyone else in your pond.

10. Inspire and connect to achieve results. My belief is that we must first inspire our audiences to connect with us with engaging and relevant content and conversation. We then focus on helping our communities to achieve their results. It is not until we help them achieve their results that we achieve ours. If we focus on our audience and communities first, our results will be achieved organically. You'll find you have more time to engage in a meaningful way and that your audiences will see much value in connecting with you and your brand.

Remember, you are a unique duck! There is only one you. There is only one of your business and brand. Don't be like everyone else. Focus on differentiation. Give people a reason to like you on Facebook, circle you on Google and connect with you on LinkedIn. Even more importantly give them a reason to want to do business with you.


 Are You Your Own Social Duck? 

Have you fallen into the average duck syndrome? Does this remind you to get back focused on results? Do you need a brand refresh? Could your online platforms use a few hours of your time focused on clean-up and consistency of content?

Or are you a vibrant social duck who has your plan together. Have you left the pack of status quo and are now leading a community of folks wanting to be social not just be social?  If yes, please share your tips and tricks to help others. How do you stay on track? How do you not get distracted by wanting to do the next best thing?

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