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Today's Marketing Cookie - Who Do You Impact
"You never know who you touch."
Today's Marketing Cookie is a reminder that we are giants in a very small world. While companies may never know who they influence through their marketing efforts, I prefer to talk today about personal branding. Who do you know? Do you know who knows you? Social media is providing the answer for us. People from your childhood, high school and college are finding you. Some of them are people you haven't thought about for decades, and now they are reconnected with you, which is weird because they are mixed in with the friends and contacts you are making today.
Many times I will have a meeting with a prospect, and when I look them up on LinkedIn later, I discover that we're already connected, or we've already been following each other on Twitter. My personal participation in social media has helped me to "meet" many new people. Many of them, I've never actually "met" in person. Of course, I've also reconnected with people whom I have met and worked with in the past, which locks them into my concentric circle of contacts. If every person I interact with in a meaningful way connects with me on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, my world only continues to get smaller and smaller and smaller every day.
So then, an important question arises: What positive impact can I have with whom I am connected?
Think about it. As your connections increase, and your world keeps shrinking, there's a greater chance that your reputation will proceed you into your next meeting. You are more Googleable than ever before and you probably already know someone in common - with someone you don't know. What impact have you had on them? What would they say about you?
During recess in the 3rd grade, I got beat up by a kid in the school yard. Since that was the only physical fight I have ever experienced in my life, I never forgot it. About 25 years later when I was the president of the AMA, we launched a terrific social networking site in order to connect marketers throughout Boston: http://connect.amaboston.org Wouldn't you know it, one day I was reviewing all of the people who had applied to join our site, and there he was! Seeing his name brought back all kinds of emotion. Should I approve his application?
I decided to send him a little note, "I was planning to approve your application but unfortunately we don't allow school yard bullies into the AMA. :)"
SPECIAL NOTE: You can say nearly ANYTHING you want - as long as you include a little smiley face.
He responded and explained, "I was a punk back then, but am a changed man and am very different now" - all of which was strangely satisfying. It sort of felt like justice had been served. Anyway, I promptly accepted his application and all was forgiven.
Will something from the 3rd grade come back to haunt you? Probably not. However, the way you treat people can have a lasting effect on your reputation. The valuable lesson I've learned is: while you never know who your actions will impact tomorrow, you always know who you are impacting today.