I recently dove into social media as part of my overall marketing. I was less than enthusiastic about the projected time invested and the dubious payoff, but now after six weeks of concerted effort I am seeing a return on my investment greater than I ever thought possible, but not in increased sales or more click-throughs to my website. The payoff I’m seeing is in my own personal growth.

My goal for social media was to reach out to both my current client’s and to any future prospects to create an on-line personae that was in keeping with the idea of being authentically me, and to drive traffic to my website which is the crowning glory of my on-line presence. I researched what to do and what not to do. I quickly learned “selling” in social media is the worst thing you can do and is sure to alienate anyone who comes across your post.

I took to heart the advice “Be useful, be specific and be authentic.” To be useful I had to share ideas and information that would be of interest to my clients, to be specific I chose to focus on the creative aspects of our careers, to be authentic I needed to find things that I thought were cool.

In doing these things to promote my business I began to seek resources of information. At first I was at a loss for where to go or what to say, but I tried. I began to find on-line seminars that sounded like they would be cool, I found websites that provided information that would be useful to me and my client’s professional development and I found articles that were specifically about creative expression. I devoted an hour each morning to finding, reading and exploring these resources to have content to post on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ Twitter and my blog

I found that doing this was pretty cool, each day I was learning new things. I was seeing my work and that of my client’s in a new light. I was growing as a person, as an artist, as a communicator and as a business person. By trying to show people who I was and what I was about I gained, and am still gaining, my life has been enriched to a degree I never thought possible today my world is better than it was before because of my social media strategy.

Today I don’t dread the time I invest in social media because it’s no longer a way for me to get my message out, instead it is a way for me to grow and share that growth with the people I connect with on a level far more significant than that of a proposal or invoice. Those are the people who really want to work with me.