How Sharing Can Transform Your Company -- And Your Life
Bryan Kramer had a problem. He co-owned a digital agency with his wife, and he wanted to quit. By the traditional measures of money, headcount and clients, he and the company were doing well. “But I had managed to delegate almost every bit of my responsibility away, and I didn’t feel like I was valuable to the company,” he tells me. He just wasn’t happy.
Looking for a creative outlet, he started blogging. As he describes in his new book Shareology: How Sharing is Powering the Human Economy, that changed everything for him. He began interviewing other authors and business leaders, eventually moving to a video format. “I was learning at the same time as I was interviewing them, and great content was being shared, and we were getting thousands of views.”
That was a big change from his early forays into social media. “I was probably saying things that were much more carefully crafted to make sure that I wasn’t upsetting anyone…it was boring.” Sharing your honest thoughts and perspective is enormously powerful, Kramer learned. “The thing most people ask me about when I’m speaking is, ‘How do I get more likes or more comments?’ And most of the time [the reason you’re not] is because you’re not sharing something that’s authentically you.”
He likes to think of his social sharing these days “like a photographer looks at a photo. When they take a photo, the most interesting photos are the ones with something off center; they call it ‘shooting in the thirds.’ That’s a way more interesting shot than if you center every shot, and before I was [metaphorically] centering every shot around what I shared, and it was boring.” Now he tries to share a mixture of posts, with “a third about interesting news or tips or tricks, along with my opinion or thoughts; a third about other people – something they did, highlighting them, or giving them kudos; then a third about myself or my company.”
The format is flexible, he says. “I’m a huge, strong believer in blogging. It changed my life and career, but I don’t think blogging has to come in one flavor. You can do video blogging, an interview format…Instagram, Meerkat and Periscope, Google Hangouts, Blab.fm. There are different slices of things you can take part in, from video to writing to interviews. I’d say pick one and try it – pick the one that’s closest to your own comfort level, and once you get that going, you’ll start to see how you can integrate it with other [social channels].”
His new ethos of sharing has transformed his business. “I don’t want to leave my company anymore,” he says. “I’m having a blast, and that’s the most significant change.” In fact, he’s expanded his business ventures into several new areas, launching a book publishing company, an e-learning company, and doing significantly more writing and speaking beyond his role as CEO of Pure Matter, his digital agency.
But the biggest value, he says, has been the relationships he’s cultivated. “At the end of the day, the whole thing is about meeting new people. All of Shareology boils down to one purpose, and that’s connection. People want to connect with other people; that’s why we share. If you don’t share, you can’t connect.”