People that have been successful in one career tend to re-create that success in the next—even if the ‘next’ career technically is retirement. Al Maag, former longtime communications officer for Avnet Inc., has published a book drawing from his experiences in life and at global distributor Avnet.
Al’s book, Social Media Isn’t Social (SparkPress), on the surface appeals to the ‘old guard’ in me that still prefers print and traditional advertising. But the book doesn’t bash social media—far from it. It recalls Al’s first effort to convince his peers that social media is a significant influence on business and one that has to be understood by anyone that uses it, whether for personal or professional reasons.
Something you should know about Al—he doesn’t ‘do’ lukewarm. When he embraces something it is 100 percent. So when he embraced social media, his first introduction to Avnet was less-than-enthusiastic (as it is likely to be with anyone not a Millennial). Al was not dissuaded: he researched social media, called in professional PR and advertising consultants, got ‘buy-in’ from management and built a highly-successful social media strategy. At one point Avnet twitter followers alone totaled more than 40,000. Unfortunately — and Al notes this — social media has become a ‘numbers game’ and 40,000 doesn’t sound like much when measured against Caitlyn Jenner. But that’s part of the point: the ‘human touch’ expanded far beyond that total.
To fast forward, here’s what Al has concluded about social media: It is a very valuable tool. It extends the reach of an individual or a business, but to truly succeed social media must be augmented with person to person interaction. “I still believe social media is good and technology is good,” Al said, “but to be successful put the phone down and get in the moment. Just get involved and engaged with people. I am one of those examples: anything I have accomplished is result of being with people.”
Here’s Al’s (abbreviated) Sociable Things to do Today—Balance Technology and Reality
- Get engaged with people: join groups of interest and community boards
- Put the phone down. Be in the moment: talk to coworkers; network at meetings
- Use technology to extend your reach: follow people on twitter who provide news; keep track of people on LinkedIn and Facebook but call them once in awhile
Among Al’s accomplishments – particularly those relevant to our industry – are successful careers at Molex Inc., Cahners Publishing, Avnet Inc. and as Executive Director of the Business Marketing Association. Al is going to begin blogging for Electronics Purchasing Strategies on the topics of marketing, communications, social media, the high-tech business and other matters of relevance to the industry.
On a personal note, Al’s blogs always eclipsed those written by myself and Bolaji Ojo when we last worked with Al. His treatise on the lessons that he learned on the streets of Chicago always rated higher than the thoroughly-researched articles on Apple’s supply chain or problems with distribution’s demand-creation compensation model. So at risk of once again diminishing my importance to the industry, please look for Al’s blogs in the near future.