Five non-bloggy ways to showcase your smarts via social media

by Mack Collier

One of the most popular reasons for using a blog as a professional or business tool, is to establish you or your company’s expertise.  A blog is perfectly suited as a place to create a knowledge base of content that lets others know just how smart and qualified you are.

But what if we take blogs out of the equation?  What other tools/ways could you establish your expertise via social media?  Here’s some ideas:

1 – Commenting on items shared in Google Reader.  Lately I am spending a LOT of time with Google Reader.  Specifically, I am spending more time checking out the items that are shared by the people I subscribe to in Reader.  Every day I read dozens of interesting and informative articles and posts from my friends.

But as I was reading these the other day, I noticed that only a small fraction of them had comments.  When you leave a comment on an item sharedin Reader, then that comment will be seen on the post/article by all the people that are following you.  For example, I have around 130 people following me on Reader.  If you see an item I shared, and then comment on it, that means that your comment can then be seen by those 130 people.  Or if the item is shared by more than one person, you can choose which ‘version’ you want to comment on.  Like if Chris Brogan shares the same item I do and has more followers than I do, comment on the version he shared!

This is a great way to expose yourself to a new audience!  Here’s a screenshot of a comment I left on a recent entry by Jay Baer.

2 – Answering questions on LinkedIn’s Q&A.  This not only helps establish your expertise BUT it also exposes you to a new audience.  From my experience, the people that are active on LinkedIn, usually are a bit different from the people that are active on Twitter or Facebook.  So if I go to LinkedIn, I’m not bumping into the same friends I see on Twitter and Facebook.  Another great thing about answering questions on LinkedIn is that it gives the person that asked the question  the ability to rate your answer as a good or best answer, and it gives them a chance to contact you directly.

For every 10 questions I answer on LinkedIn, I get 1 or 2 replies directly from the person that asked the question.  Think about that, if you answered 10 questions from 10 potential customers/clients, you could have 10-20% of them contact you directly about your answer.  That’s not too shabby!

3 – Participating in Twitter Chats.  Oh you knew this was coming!  Seriously, I think Twitter chats are an amazing networking tool, and very underutilized as such.  Now there are well over 100 chats, so there’s bound to be a few topics that interest you.  Pick some that interest you, and share your ideas.  Make sure you let chat participants know how to get in touch with you, and most chats now set aside a time so you can introduce yourself to the other participants.  And make sure you check out #blogchat every Sunday nite!

4 – Comment on industry sites and blogs.  This is a great way to get exposure, and again, with the ‘right people’.  For example, people that work at agencies are going to be reading stories on Ad Age’s site, right?  So if you wanted to work for an ad agency, leaving thoughtful and informative comments on the same entries that these agencies will be reading and sharing, can only help you get noticed, right?

And if it doesn’t help you get a job, who knows, it could help you get a writing gig!  This is exactly how I got my blogging career underway, I was active on a recruiter’s message board, that recruiter decided to start a blog, and invited me to be one of the founding writers!  The same thing could happen to you!

5 – Actively participate on a company’s Facebook page.  Here is the Marketing Profs’ page on Facebook.  If you were an active member of that page, leaving wall posts, interacting with other members, it could have several advantages.  First, it would be a way to establish your expertise.  Second, Marketing Profs is constantly having events, so it becomes a networking tool with attendees.  And three, Marketing Profs is constantly looking for writers, so by demonstrating your ability to write well, you can not only connect with potential clients/customers, you just might get the chance to do some writing for Marketing Profs!

You can extend this to participating on board for industries, or events, or companies you want to work for.  Anyone that you’re trying to connect with, and any group you’re trying to get the attention of.

Those are just a few ideas, but what has worked for you besides blogging?  What are some unusual ways that you are leveraging other social media tools to connect with others and share your smartitude?

molly campbell May 12, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Thank you, Mack. I have noticed a large increase in my followers after participating in your blogchat weekly. My problem is that I have just so much time in the day, and I can get bogged down in performing all the “due diligence” that you and other experts recommend. However, I am always looking for new ways to get my blog and writing exposure, so I am very appreciative of your suggestions. Off to look at my Google Reader! molly
.-= molly campbell´s last blog ..MAY AND DECEMBER =-.

Mack Collier May 12, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Hi Molly! Yes there’s only so much time in the day, I think you have to look at what’s giving you the most ‘bang for your buck’, and stick with those tools, and cut some of the other ones loose.

Another good idea is to make set aside an hour a week to try out a new tool and see how it works for you?

Kelsi Guidry June 17, 2010 at 9:39 am

I highly agree that you MUST schedule in time. You don’t want to just get into Facebook or Twitter and start chatting your day away. Go in with a specific goal and time in mind and stick to it!

And good idea on sticking to only a few and testing one out here and there.
.-= Kelsi Guidry´s last blog ..To Socialize or Not to Socialize? =-.

Meg Roberts May 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Hi Mark,

Thank you for writing this post! It seems that everyone is advising new-to-newish communication professionals to start a blog in order to showcase their talents and industry knowledge, but that can be a daunting task for pros who are concerned they aren’t experienced enough to share quality information on a regular basis in an already-saturated space. You provide excellent tips for professionals at all experience levels to get involved in conversations, and I’m looking forward to implementing them!


Meg Roberts May 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm

And, that would involve not doing typos that spell your name incorrectly. Sorry about that, Mack.

Mack Collier May 12, 2010 at 1:08 pm

No worries Meg, everyone thinks my name is ‘Mark’ at first 😉 I agree, a blog can be very intimidating if you are new to social media. Using the above methods will give you some of the same benefits, while getting you more comfortable with communicating via social media in general.

Lisa Petrilli May 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm


I love that whenever I read your posts I come away with new ideas for my “to do” list – which unfortunately never gets shorter. 😉

What I love about social media is it enhances my ability to *connect others* (v. your comments about connecting *ourselves* with others). I’ve found it to be very fulfilling to notice a tweet or Facebook post by a friend or colleague that makes me think they’d really enjoy and benefit from meeting another one of my friends/colleagues, and then following up with an introduction.

Without fail, these connections tend to lead to exciting new collaborations – and I like to think that it showcases my “smartitude” in a more personal way because I was able to envision a valuable (and potentially profitable) relationship before it existed.

Additionally, by creating an exciting, new connection between two friends/colleagues it further enhances the professional and social bond that I have with those individuals, and is a win-win-win all the way around.

.-= Lisa Petrilli´s last blog ..LisaPetrilli: @MackCollier Thank you, Mack. 😉 That means a lot coming from you! =-.

Mack Collier May 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Lisa that’s a great point about the value of connecting others. If you can bring together two people that can work together successfully, it only enhances your reputation in the process! Smart thinking, what are some networking tools you use besides Twitter? Good ole fashioned email? 😉

Lisa Petrilli May 12, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Yes – ole fashioned email, of course. 😉

But I don’t think of it as the tools enabling me to network, I think of it as the tools enabling me to get a better picture of the “whole person” and what their needs are, which then gets me thinking about how I can be of help to that person or about people that I can connect them with who may be able to help them in a way that I can’t.

For example, I was thrilled to be able to be of help to @GenoChurch the other morning after seeing a tweet he sent during #blogchat (which I missed, but thanks to the miracle of Tweet Deck columns I saw his tweet). He had asked the #blogchat community for information about using social media to launch a new book, and had not received a response.

I had just seen a presentation by @jonathanfields at SOBCon and Jonathan had mentioned that he had a free eBook about just that topic. I sent it to Geno and he found it to be extremely valuable. So, thanks to social media, I was able to link Geno to advice from Jonathan and they might never have otherwise connected. :)

Some might not call that “smartitude” but I think it’s just as valuable!
.-= Lisa Petrilli´s last blog ..LisaPetrilli: @MackCollier Thank you, Mack. 😉 That means a lot coming from you! =-.

Ryan VanDenabeele May 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Great stuff Mack. I’ll have to look into sharing reader posts.

Commenting on other’s blog is key. I actually define blogging as Writing, Reading and Commenting. Not just writing.


Mike Stenger May 12, 2010 at 4:50 pm

I never even thought about commenting in Google Reader Mack! Will have to do that since all my subscriptions are in there and use it on a daily basis. Also, Twitter chats are absolutely awesome. I do my best to participate in several each week and can’t even remember how many great people I’ve connected with and the relationships I’ve built specifically from chats alone.
.-= Mike Stenger´s last blog ..5 Tips To Super Charge Your Social Media =-.

Mandy Vavrinak May 13, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Thanks for putting the word out about Google Reader. I, too, use it to follow, aggregate and share many items every week. The commenting function has to be one of the most underutilized ways to share and comment. I am guilty of not doing it as frequently as I should… often the comment, since they are visible through Reader before you open the article/post/link, is the reason people decide to click and read. When I don’t leave a tidbit about why I thought the item worth sharing, I’m doing a disservice to the author and to those who follow me.
I am very hit-or-miss on LinkedIn answers and MarketingProfs knowledge forum questions… time issues. I think maybe I need to do a set aside time block every couple of days to answer anything current and where I can add value to the conversation or question.
.-= Mandy Vavrinak´s last blog ..Struggling to Find Your Voice =-.

Lindsey R. May 17, 2010 at 1:06 pm


These are all GREAT tips! It’s so easy yet so important to do things like this if you want to leverage the benefits of social media. Many people think you have to have a blog to be involved in social media, but as you are illustrating here, you don’t have to. Several of the actions you mention actually hadn’t crossed my mind, so thank you!


Jim Gray May 17, 2010 at 2:26 pm

good points…hadn’t thought about commenting in gooreader…
.-= Jim Gray´s last blog ..Al Roker Pimps @Foursquare =-.

Danny Brown May 17, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Nice ideas, Mack. I’ve found myself beginning to comment a lot more on Buzz shares (was never a big commenter on Reader alone). We often get caught up in the “how can I share info from my outpost” approach that we forget the options you mention here.

.-= Danny Brown´s last blog ..Is Your Marketing the PITS? =-.

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