Of course, that might sound a little melodramatic to some, but then I have always wanted to be a creative writer. My career tests at school suggested that I'd be well suited to hotel or hospitality management, and I spent 17 years in a corporate customer service career. My parents always thought that I would be a teacher, my wife still thinks that I should be. But there is an element of teaching and coaching that I already enjoy about what I do for a living.
Digital media attracted me from day one, not only because it's about language or that it's about communication. But because it's also about story telling and creating ideas, images and suggestions in people's minds. It's about psychology, empathy and actually understanding other people and their motivations, passions and anticipating their reactions. To me these are all beautiful things that represent an opportunity to continually learn about the world around me and the people that populate it.
Since being first asked to investigate how social media could be used by the company I worked for, I've learned a lot and taught myself how to be effective on social media. I've listened to a lot of people speak about social media, read an awful lot of books written by experts and watched a lot of videos too. I think I've actually learned the most though from watching the social media accounts of the people who I listened to, who wrote the books and made the videos. The interesting thing for me, is that the vast majority of them don't actually use social media in the same way that they tell you to!
Which is why I feel very strongly that anyone planning to use social media for business needs to be prepared to make their own way, find what works for them and not be afraid of making mistakes along the way. It's perfectly natural for brands and big business to be incredibly risk averse and fearful of doing or saying the wrong thing online. But personally, I find that it's the brands that make mistakes that learn the most and become far more effective as a result. I made a lot of mistakes in the early days, some which I'm really not proud of, but every single one has taught me a lesson that I apply to my work today.
So it comes as a bit of a surprise to some people I meet professionally, when I tell them that I'm not a social media expert. That I detest the term 'guru' and am constantly suspicious of others who give themselves that title. I don't know everything about social media, digital marketing or public relations. I've learned a lot, I've taught myself more and everyday there's a new bit of information to be gleaned and used to help my clients. But I accept that I will never know everything and I seriously doubt anyone will when it comes to this constantly changing online landscape.
The importance of honesty and trust when it comes to social media cannot be underestimated. But that should start with the person you go to for advice, consultancy, campaigns or whatever you're trying to achieve through the medium. All I can hope for when I work on a new project is the trust of the people who have put their faith in me to deliver, the trust of the audience who I write content, posts and campaigns for and the satisfaction that my sense of achievement comes from helping all of them succeed.
Together we achieve more.