Feeling Good Is a Product of Doing Good
Well I’ve had a pretty interesting 48 hours.
Interesting because I have learnt something about myself and who I want to be, not because the task was actually interesting!
I have been trying to get my head around my social media strategy for 2017, with some but limited success.
Over the last couple of months I have really tried to master Facebook from a theoretical stand point. I have watched every video available on setting up pages and groups and how interaction can be used to gain business visibility, blah, blah, blah. I have even found myself passing on some of the valuable tit-bits I have learned but for some reason not applying them to myself.
So two days ago, I pulled myself towards myself and started with what I believed to be the best first step for me. I created an excel spreadsheet and started joining other people’s FB groups. As I discovered groups of interest I sent through my join request and systematically went through their rules and put them into my spreadsheet so that I had a one-glance document of all the groups I had been accepted into and knew if I could promote, when I could promote and what I could promote and of course what the expectations were of me as a member of the group.
So many rules, but for good reason. We are inundated with marketing and sales messages all the time and we all need somewhere to escape to in order to feel seen and supported without being battered by the things we ‘should’ be doing in our businesses but haven’t found the time to do yet. January has been nuts – my phone notifications have pinged so much that on days my battery has gone flat! It has felt a bit like everyone is so glad to get shot of 2016 they are running at 2017 head first! Anyway – that’s a whole different topic.
Many of the groups I joined are support and engagement only, which has really made me think. I scrolled through the posts and had a proper look to try and get the gist of what engagement and support looks like in each group, let’s face it those words mean different things to different people. From my observations it seems that there are two sorts of post engagement. The self serving engagement post, you know the one I mean, the thinly veiled business plug “oh and by the way I happen to have a business that solves that exact problem”; and the genuine engagement post that is a message of support or a piece of prose that might inspire insight. It is quite difficult to discern between them and I found myself becoming a little skeptical and uncomfortable.
I promise to get to my learning soon but it does need a bit of context.
Then I started to think about my motivations for joining the groups. Of course I want to engage with and support others, that’s the core of my business but I also need business visibility in order to reach people and let them know I exist. What a conundrum – is it possible to serve both yourself and others at the same time? Surely you can only have one true intention for an action. So I then started to think about who I wanted to be to the group and what I had to offer. If you haven’t figured it out by now I am quite analytical!
Here’s what I decided.
I decided to completely honour the rules of every group. I decided to introduce myself and my business where I was allowed to do so without any links to my business pages unless it seemed appropriate. I decided that I needed to find a balance and changed my spreadsheet so I had an equal number of “engagement” groups to “promotion groups”. Now here comes the clincher – I decided that I am going to try and find one post in one engagement group every day and really try to help. Not two lines and a smiley face but some real thought and insight, something of substance. Don’t get me wrong – I am not going to spend valuable business time desperately trying to find something that resonates with me, that would be daft. I am, however, going to glance down the selected groups and if I think I can be of genuine service spend half an hour of my day trying to add value.
Do you know why? Because I do actually care, and I really feel grateful to have the skill set I’ve been blessed with, and I believe in the concept of paying it forward, and giving makes me happy.
Cha-ching – that was my lightbulb moment.
Generosity is important.
Now I like receiving as much as the next person but nothing makes me feel better than generosity towards others. It’s like expressing gratitude; generosity enhances our quality of life. It makes us happy and gives us an emotional boost because feeling good is a product of doing good.
The act of doing something without the expectation of a reciprocal exchange releases our feel-good chemicals and is all part of being human.
So today, for the first time of many to come, I applied this practically. I found my post, a lady in the US of A who was struggling to infuse her personality into her “About Me” page. I offered to look at it and spent half an hour jotting down my insights. I pointed out that she is not a list of accomplishments and is far more than a series of facts. Yes, the accomplishments might serve to give credibility but in essence people are more concerned with how you make them feel than the things you have done in the past. I encouraged her to write from her heart and create connection through her true voice. I had a bit of a go at rewording some of her content but also acknowledged that it has to be her emotional connection to her audience and that writing about ourselves is all part of the process of self discovery. It should be embraced and enjoyed, not judged and feared.
I did all this in a word document and then dropped her a note on the original post saying that I didn’t feel it was appropriate for me to dump my ramblings on the group page but would happily email them to her if she would like to send me her email in a private message.
Then I smiled to myself and wondered if she would indeed send me her email address or would she be as skeptical as I was when looking through the group posts. Would she decide not to contact me through fear that I would add her to a mailing list once she had shared her email address?
As I write I have no idea how this will pan out as I think the US is still asleep but I am curious to see.
It is of no consequence anyway as the important thing was my learning and my decision to make a daily habit of generosity and true engagement. Watch this space, but for now I feel inspired to return to my excel spreadsheet and have the motivation to carry on with the task at hand. #feelinggood