I have known Phil Gerbyshak for a long time. We met via social media and an introduction years ago when we were both ramping up our careers as authors and speakers. You no longer need to live in NYC to be a big celebrity – and Phil gives us some advice in this interview on how Akron area residents can make a splash and be well know nationally and internationally. Here is our Q&A
1) Phil, you are a very busy national speaker and author and you have seen a lot of changes over the years with how people present themselves online. What are the biggest changes you have seen?
One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is people are starting to use the social networks they prefer first to search – instead of just a search engine like Google. They go to Facebook, or LinkedIn, or Twitter or Instagram, and they look for you there. And then, if you don’t show up, you aren’t real – to them.
The other big change is real social proof mattering more than ever – which LinkedIn has been a pioneer in, and Podium Buzz is starting to get there, for speakers at least. LinkedIn offers this through their skills rating, with people who you worked with and who are skilled in that skill being highlighted for endorsing that skill, and recommendations, which must come from another LinkedIn user. Podium Buzz offers this for speakers in that they are completely unfiltered, and you don’t even need an account there to get rated, and if you don’t, you likely won’t even see the reviews you’ve received unless you look there.
2) If someone is just starting and they want to be a leader on a topic, what would they do in the 1st month?
In the first month, I would recommend creating a LinkedIn profile that highlights your experiences and positions you as a helpful person, write 1 LinkedIn Publisher post a week, make 5 new meaningful connections a day, comment on 10 thought leaders posts with actual insights, and if you have LinkedIn video, doing 1 video a week as well. Your goal is to start to create a magazine of you, just on LinkedIn, and then move on to a website filled with content and other things that can build from your foundation on LinkedIn. It will take time until you find your rhythm, but if you’re looking to accelerate your success, this is the best way.
3) There are a lot of apps and things that can help you keep your social accounts active. Which are your favorites and why?
First, the native apps from the networks are the best. They offer the most full functionality, and they require you to be there to post, to engage, and to connect. It’s more “live” networking and sharing, which I prefer, whenever possible.
Next, I like to read and share a lot of quality content, so Anders Pink and Feedly are tops on my list to curate content. If you use the free versions, they’ll connect to the native apps, but if you pay for them, you’ll get to connect to some of the scheduling apps.
Lastly, because I block time each day to read, I need to schedule out my content sharing or you’d get 5 posts from me in an hour and then nothing for a day or sometimes two. To schedule my posts, I recommend Buffer. I use the free version, but the paid version is even more powerful with analytics and connecting more social channels.
Oh – and one other thing – I also recommend using either Buffer’s Pablo or Canva.com to create images to accompany your content sharing or to create pull quotes of interesting things, as you must be graphically interesting on most platforms or people won’t pay attention to you.
4) What are some common mistakes people make when trying to be known for something online?
The first mistake I see is oversharing, especially in oversharing their own opinions. If you keep shouting “I’m great!” and don’t do anything to prove it, people won’t pay attention to you. Instead, highlight someone else who is great, and share your additional opinion on that, making sure to mention the person you’re highlighting, in hopes of them engaging back with your content.
Another mistake I see is not sharing enough information, for fear someone is going to steal it. I’m not saying you should give away all your secrets – but I am saying you should give away 80% of your recipe, and charge for the rest.
One more mistake I see is typos and grammatical errors, which drive some people crazy, even if they don’t say it. It’s like parsley in your teeth – easy to spot, distracting from your message, and ugly as heck to most people. The good news is it can be fairly easily remedied with a tool like Grammarly. And ask your friends before you publish if you can to proof read things.
5) How important is a book and speaking? Can someone just be an expert in social?
Let’s break those apart. A book, especially a well done, hard copy book, can establish you as an expert that is a cut above your peers. It’s why I’m working on another book for early 2018 about sales, tech and social. It shows you can write in greater depth than just shorter form blog posts, tweets, or LinkedIn updates.
Speaking – or really, communicating your ideas to an audience in a face to face way – is important. Whether it’s in just video, in an online training forum using Facebook Live, Zoom, WebinarNinja, GoToMeeting, or something else, or in person in front of a live audience, it is very important. It gives you credibility, and it allows a knowledge transfer that often does not happen when people are multi-tasking and taking training online.
Combine the two, and mix in some social media, and you have the recipe for something amazing.
6) Video has become very popular. If you do not have the money to do professional level videos, should people wait before diving in?
Don’t wait – but do invest in a quality microphone. I use an Audio Technica ATR2100 USB microphone that was only $45. I have other microphones too, but this is my favorite. For the iPhone and Android, I am excited about the coming soon HeyMic, that is a wireless, bluetooth lapel microphone for under $100.
You can start out with the built in web cam on your desktop or laptop, or even your iPhone or Android device that you already have and migrate to a nice camera like the Logitech cameras for about $100.
Practice now – and get good – then upgrade!
7) You have helped a lot of speakers and experts over the years. Please tell us a bit more about what you do and how people can find out more.
Most often, information experts who want to take their business to the next level work with me to create a new product, to get a marketing strategy and tactics they can use, and to get technology to better power their business. I’ve done everything from social media strategies to creating websites to membership sites to DVD programs. I provide the accountability and creative insights for you to get good work done and to stay focused on what you do best. I’m a bit of a secret weapon, because I don’t advertise these services for hire because they are often so custom to the client I work with. If you want to invest in your business and take it to the next level, reach out to me on LinkedIn at http://linkedin.com/in/philgerb or call or text me at 414-640-7445.