Being open to learning is important and each person finds their own path towards growth. Finding a mentor is a great way to learn. Let's use this definition of mentor from Merriam-Webster: a trusted counselor or guide. Leaders in social media are mentors to those that follow them as people read their books, blogs and social media content. While this isn't always a true personal relationship as a mentor would be in the past, I'll argue that social media leaders are coaching and teaching through posts, tweets, pins and webinars. Social media makes it easier to find a mentor.
I'd like to share a few tips from my favorite mentors that I've learned from:
“Provide value” — Guy Kawasaki
(Storify from the What the Plus!) Wonder how Guy provides so much value? I could write a whole book on what I've learned from Guy. Literally.
“Be awesome” — Chris Brogan
(Storify from The Impact Equation) Chris is very humble and makes great connections with his followers. I first met Chris in Chicago at the UnGeeked conference where he was being roasted. I had the pleasure of meeting him before the event and he was lovely. Here's his article On Being Roasted where he mentions me by name and remembered where I lived even though he met many new people that evening.
“The goal is not to be good at social media.” — Jay Baer
(Storify from The Now Revolution) 12 Most Imperative Must-Dos for the Serious Blogger is one of the best articles I've read on blogging. I believe that Jay used it to create a presentation at BlogWorld. I'll go out a little limb here too and say that #6 of this article is Be a Utility and Jay's new book is called Youtility so maybe writing this article inspired Jay's next book.
“Be organized” — Mari Smith
(Storify from The New Relationship Marketing) I've attended many of Mari's workshops several of her Facebook classes. Mari = organized! She's focused, smart, and 100% fabulous. Read her books, attend her workshops and learn!
Building a relationship with people who you respect in social media is possible through tweeting, blog commenting or attending conferences. I'm very excited to attend Social Media Marketing World and meet all of the above people in person this weekend. I'm looking forward to learning more as well as meeting these fine people.
Because I believe in giving back, I've mentored several people over the past few years. I'm so proud when I see what they've achieved with their social media and feeling like I had a tiny part of it makes me feel good. We all started somewhere in the learning process so it's kind of a chicken and egg scenario. There are always new chickens being hatched that will need some help.
Kelly Lieberman — host of #PinChat. Kelly has been a big supporter of My Book Club online and I helped her with questions when she decided to start her own chat on Pinterest which has been a huge success. Kelly has had guests such as Virgin Airlines, Chobani, and Mashable on #PinChat. Kelly is hands down the expert on Pinterest and was even invited to The White House for their first Pinterest social event. PinChat has an amazing community of PinChatters that follow Kelly each week on her Twitter chat, Facebook group and Google+ community.
Jodi Okun is one hard-working lady! I helped Jodi at the very beginning of her #CollegeCash Twitter chat and watched it explode. Jodi's passion is helping families get their kids to college. Jodi has taken her social media and used it to expand her business in the college financial aid more than doubling her clients from 2012 to 2013. You may not see her client work, since it's financial and confidential, but she's really rocking it. Jodi is also a Huffington Post contributor in the Huff Po College section. Check out Are College Students Being Overly Optimistic?
Brian Scott aka #AgBoy is a fourth generation farmer that I met on BlogChat. I love what Brian does on social media with photo updates from his farm, technical tips for other farmers and networking. Did you know that farmers are really high-tech? I didn't until I met Brian. Brian was on CNN this summer to talk about the drought, you can read about it on USDA, CNN Visit of Farm to Inspect 2012 Drought Damage.
Clearly all my little social media chicks have grown up and I need to find a new mentee but I'm happy to have all these fine folks as my friends and I love watching all the amazing things that they continue to do. I'm grateful to all the people who've helped me grow and shared their knowledge with me, I'm also grateful to those I've helped because this is another kind of growth. Be open to learning, you never know where your next idea or project might start.
Who do you look to for guidance and mentoring? How do you connect with them and nurture your relationship? Have you been giving in return and shared what you know?
Photo credit Samdogs via Creative Commons.