Would it have made a difference if you had someone to turn to?
I was asked this question in an interview the other day and I was so overwhelmed by the event that I gave an answer that was true but also not entirely true as it could make people think that my mom and my gran did not love or care about me. The truth is they did, they loved and cared about me very much but the day my mother became religious and because of how we were raised and how the human race dictated what was “acceptable behaviour” keeping up the appearance meant that I could never really talk to them about the things that were happening to me as a teenager and I never really felt they had my back and by no means was it intentional. My mom and gran were also damaged goods of the human race and they did what they knew best while coping with their own issues.
It all went pear shaped the day I turned 13 and it’s been a roller coaster ride since that day. Now I’m no different to anyone else, in fact I would say that almost everyone has had a form of abuse in one way or another. I also want to say that when I listen to some of the stories that there are a lot of women who have gone through far worse than what I’ve ever experienced. But yes, I’ve been bullied, bee sexually abused and been treated like a second rate citizen.
The question I ask, “where did it all start, where did it start for most women, if not ALL women?”
In my opinion, it begins with society as a whole, and this is the entire planet, not just one country or continent and both men and women are guilty!
- The human race dictates that men are better than women.
- The human race dictates that because you are a woman that you don’t have as much say as a man.
- The human race dictates that because you are a woman and you sleep around or have been raped you are a whore.
- The human race dictates that because you are a woman that you don’t have as much rights as a man.
The human race does this by saying, because you are a woman you must submit to your husband because he is the head, the man incharge. Because you are a woman it’s ok for you to be treated like a sex object. Because you are a woman you must be paid less than a man. Because you are a woman you are not entitled to have the same benefits as men. Because you are a woman you are not allowed to voice your opinions or make decisions.
So how does this thinking, this indoctrination, this conditioning effect us as women?
You behave in a way that makes you weak. You think in a way that makes you feel less of a person. You do things that tells bullies and abusers that its ok to take advantage of you, or you become a tyrant, a hardcore bitch no one wants to be around and you become an abuser.
In a society where the human race still has these beliefs, still enforces these rules and in some countries makes it a way of living. How do you cope? How do you recover to become the person God intended you to be?
- Have a strong support system in place, where you actually feel that no matter what you do, or have done or how you’ve behaved, you are loved. That you are accepted for who you are, both the good and the bad. This helps you gain confidence in yourself and it gives you the strength to face life.
- Re condition your mind, re program your subconscious, change your thought patterns. Rebuild and make personal developmenat a way of life. You can only do this by constantly focussing on the positive and getting the help you need, whether it be NLP, hypnosis, spiritual healing or other methods, find what works for you but the reality is that you have to go deep. How your subconscious mind and body processes information is not how we rationalise it in our thinking.
- Turn to someone and tell them what is going on and choose someone you feel extremely comfortable talking to and make sure the person you choose will actually take action, will change the situation or take you out of the situation because this gives you hope, it gives you that sense of relief that someone stronger than you is helping you fight the battle you don’t feel you have the strength to fight.
- Empower the women around you. Make them feel special, make them feel important and valued. Recognise their contributions, recognise their abilities and constantly tell them how wonderful they are. I cannot begin to tell you just how much this can change a woman’s life. How much you empower someone by doing this. By doing this, you give them strength and hope and makes them feel good about themselves, that they are worth something and it makes them feel valued.
Coming back to the question, “would it have made a difference if you had someone to turn to? The answer is “yes”
The truth is that most women have gone through the same experiences, the truth is that no matter what, we won’t speak about it because of the fear of how the human race will label us.
I want to thank my husband and all those men out there who treat women as equals, who treat women with respect, who treat women as they would treat themselves.
There are people who try to justify the UK riots and say that the youth are frustrated and they have no future and so they have to let it out! They want change.
From my point of view, there is just no justification for burning someone’s house down, for burning someone’s business and livelihood down. I don’t care what your reason is!
If you have an issue with the government then why on earth don’t you go and burn their houses down? Damage their goods and make sure it is the right government the ones who caused the problem in the first place. Quite frankly to me this is not a good justification either but the fact is that the people on the street, the people around us are all in the same boat. They are not the ones who caused this and yet they become the victims of your actions. If WWF can get the world to turn off their lights for one hour then surely there are other ways of dealing with serious issues.
How about taking a stand as a country and stop paying taxes in countries like South Africa because the government misuses tax payers money. Because the government thinks that spending your hard earned money on his big new fancy expensive R65 mil house expansion is justified, and what is Julius Malema spending?
Recently municipal workers in South Africa went on strike for better wages, mmmm 18% is seriously off the wall but would it not be a better solution to go and trash the municipal leaders/governments places instead. Stop collecting their refuse? What difference does it make causing havoc in the cities or not collecting refuse in the suburbs?
If you don’t have your house as you were promised? Why do you continue to vote for the government who made those promises and why don’t you go and squat on their property?
What are your thoughts?
You may have noticed a lot of coverage over the past couple of years about the rapid growth of social networks and how they are changing the way we communicate? Perhaps, you have also stumbled across one of the many articles professing how to ‘double your sales’ with Twitter or Facebook and maybe feel you have missed the boat with your own marketing? But, it’s actually worth asking the question as to whether marketing through social media actually works in the first place, and, if it does, how can you make it work for your business?
The Changing Face Of The Web
Many social media web sites have been built on the back of a technical evolution on the Internet – something paraphrased as “Web 2.0″. It’s a term that many marketers talk about with great authority and it is used in many different contexts. But, what exactly is it?
In the early days of the Internet, a website contained words and pictures – like a magazine or brochure – and it wasn’t an interactive environment. But, with the advent of Blogging, Wikis and commenting (to name but a few) we can all get involved with conversations online by writing (and publishing) directly onto web pages.
We can easily create our own Facebook profiles, Blogs and Twitter accounts and share information with people who have similar interests. For this reason, Web 2.0 is often referred to as the read/write web.
Of course, one of the main reasons social networking has become mainstream so quickly is that many of the websites don’t charge – they are free to use. Companies looking to raise their profile online have taken advantage of this to promote their profile to a whole new audience, often in an inappropriate way.
When it comes to marketing your business through social networks, are people even talking about your brand in the first place? Are they discussing your industry? If so, where are those conversations taking place so you can join in and raise your profile too?
As with most marketing case studies, many of the success stories you will read about are consumer brands; brands that people want to talk about; brands with a mass market.
From this feedback, companies from all sorts of industries have picked up on the buzz and started Twittering, Blogging and setting up their Facebook fan groups, and, because the cost of entry is virtually zero, it’s not just the big boys. Startups and small businesses have also jumped on the bandwagon.
Move into the business-to-business space and getting your voice heard becomes somewhat harder than the success stories suggested it would be. Who wants to talk about widgets or your bespoke niche service, especially when so many other companies occupy the same space? It’s like exhibiting at a huge trade show with all your competitors setting up a stand right next to you.
Interestingly though, some people do want to talk about the same thing as you and may be interested in hearing what your company has to say. The key is to find out where the most appropriate conversation is taking place and to then to understand how that conversation is taking place.
With Web 2.0 technology everybody can have a voice. So the way you engage with people through social media works very differently from traditional offline marketing. If you say the wrong thing in the wrong way, people have the right to reply and, in terms of reputation, they may have a lot less to lose than you and potentially a much larger audience listening to them. Treading carefully and mixing with the right people becomes even more important.
Business marketers in the social space often overlook rules of interaction and social etiquette. They try to sell too quickly and too aggressively without gaining trust, looking to control conversations and relationships. But let’s face it, who wants to stop around and listen to the person controlling the conversation in the real world? Why on earth would we put up with it any more online?
In fact, in the social space we can un-follow, de-friend and block at the click of a button; the relationship gone in a second, along with trust in your brand. It’s happening to a lot of marketers in the social space – no-one is listening to them because they have nothing that people want to hear.
Creating a successful marketing strategy using social networks requires the ability (and patience) to develop trust with people. Like many marketing techniques, it’s a case of creating your pipeline of new relationships and developing them over a period of time – not pushing the sale from the outset.
Gaining initial trust is essential.
One trust-building strategy for social media marketing – whatever your industry – is to answer the questions that people want (or need) the answers to. If you can engage your audience with relevant information, they will not only buy into you, they will also spread the word – your word.
Platforms such as Blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn allow you to demonstrate your product and industry knowledge in an open forum. Of course, you can also create relevant links to your website through these platforms to drive traffic to your website and increase your brand profile – as long as you are subtle in your approach.
Then, as people begin to trust your social profile, you can begin to drive them through to the next step in developing the relationship. For instance, why not ask them to subscribe to your e-mail marketing?
This overcomes audience apathy. If you have developed enough trust in your social relationship, leverage it to a medium whereby the onus is not on your audience to collect the message, rather on you to send a relevant and regular message – the next step in developing further trust, and one step closer to delivering a customer to your sales team.
But beware. As in any personal relationship, trust can be lost in an instant if you say the wrong thing. Keeping one eye on the end game and never abusing the relationship is an absolute must.
Where Do You Start?
Having a strategy for your social profile is often overlooked but is essential to give you focus with your approach. Questioning your objectives is essential:
- Should your profile be you (as a person), your CEO, or your company? Who will gain the most trust and credibility online?
- Which social platform is the most appropriate to focus on? Where are your existing customers? Why not ask them how they use social media?
- What are you going to talk about? What do you want to be recognized (and found) for? By sticking to a subject (however niche), you can become an acknowledged expert.
- How much personality should come through? Is it yours, or your company tone-of-voice?
Setting up a profile in any of the social networks is a straightforward process and often free. It pays to explore the media to see if the audience is right for your business and be prepared to switch off your efforts if they do not yield any results.
There is no doubt that engaging people on the right social media platform can help you reach a new audience and increase your online profile. The challenge is to create a focused strategy aimed towards a specific audience and engage them in a conversational dialogue to encourage trust.
Only when you have gained trust can you leverage the relationship and lead the conversation to the next level. Where many marketers want quick wins, social media is much more of an effective marketing medium if you are not pushing too hard. So, you may have to be prepared to wait until trust has developed. That said, when your pipeline begins to fulfill itself, social media offers a very sustainable route to generate awareness and, ultimately, potential new sales leads.
Reading a section in Trust Agents the other day co authored by Chris Brogan. I decided to summarise a section in his book because I could not have said it any better and it was written in a way that is just so clear about how to become a power networker and how to build the trust factor.
Think about it, the online world is run by humans and so what happens in the real world should happen online in a sense. For example, if you had a friend whose services you respect and value, you are going to tell others about it. If you had a friend who is looking for a job, you would be on the look out for any potential jobs and pass the information on to them. You would also make introductions and connect your friends to each other if you felt they would be a good fit. The same applies then to our network and to online social media.
Here is the section I summarised from Trust Agents:
What do Trust Agents do?
- Trust Agents help others by promoting their work
- Trust Agents reach out to the up-and-comers
- Trust Agents make friends with people starting out, those who might not be the big voices or the movers and shakers, but who are interesting, driven, talented and have potential.
How is this accomplished?
- Commenting on people’s blog posts
- Responding to their Twitter messages
- Help by getting the word out abut their causes or efforts
- Connecting people to each other
- Meet some of the people you’ve built online relationshops with, this strengthens the relationship even further
A solid network consists of:
- Building a presence online
- Meeting the person
- Sustain the relationship with several more online touches over time.
Personal networks are extenders – a way to reach into more places and a way to scale.
They are a resource for finding new jobs, new business opportunities, new anything….
Trust Agents can call upon their network to help solve a problem.
The key elements of network building is all about
Being helpful and forming new relationships without expecting anything in return
What do you think?