From Inflection Point To Social Media Side Door

“The communication age has made it easier than ever to reach people, but traditional gatekeepers continue to bar the way when trying to connect directly with brands or top influencers. Enter social media, a communication technology that, for now, has opened up side doors which offer ways around the barriers that keep ordinary people from interacting with everyone from CEOs to celebrities.”

Quote from the press release announcing Ian Greenleigh’s new book.


After reading the introduction of Greenleigh’s book, there was one question that stayed with me even more than the further contents of the book (no offence). Has Greenleigh written a whole book on the basis of one (crucial!) inflection point?

The concept of “inflection points” is still relatively new to me since I only first ran into it when I read (and reviewed) Eric Sinoway’s book about his mentor, Howard Stevenson. Quoting myself, “[inflection points] are the moments when something drastically changes in your life and you have the choice to take a different approach and/or direction (provided that you even notice the inflection point).”

The Social Media Side Door - Ian GreenleighIn the introduction of his book, Greenleigh describes how – while frantically looking for a job in marketing – he discovered a new approach to social media. Greenleigh discovered the “side door”, as he calls it, that made it possible for him to access the influencers he needed to land the job he wanted. In other words: The drastic change of trying to find a job in marketing led Greenleigh to a different approach. And, yes, he did notice this inflection point!

All the more reason to ask Greenleigh a few questions about this experience that led him, eventually, to writing a book about it:

How did your new book, The Social Media Side Door, come out of a moment of drastic change in your life, in other words an inflection point?

The genesis of the book was not just an inflection point in my life, but one that affected millions in the US and beyond: the financial crisis. I graduated college at just about the worst time to do so in recent memory, December, 2007. The job market remained pretty bleak as I cycled through low-end sales jobs and even a stint doing collections on small business owners. It was depressing, and I felt like the bad guy.

The last straw for me was not even getting a call back for a mall kiosk job. I knew I had to throw out the script, but I didn’t really know how yet. I was tremendously lucky to see a blog post about Grant Turck, who had experimented with Facebook ads to get his first job in PR, and called him up that day. I said, “You’re on to something. I’m going to copy you. What didn’t make it into the blog post?” He gave me some tips, and I placed the ads that changed my life.

A year or so later, I started thinking about all the other times I had deviated from the script and found other social media side doors. Frankly, it seemed like I kept getting lucky, but when I stepped back to analyze what was really happening, I saw that the backbone that connected all these successful moments in my life was the understanding that the rules of access and influence hadn’t been updated and I had an opportunity to write an update to that rulebook, so to speak.

How did this inflection point change your life?

It put me in the express lane. In another era, I would have had to put in 10, 15, 20 years even to get where I am today. But I’ve really only been in marketing professionally for less than five years. It almost feels like I cheated. The only rules I bent and broke were unofficial, outdated, and elitist. I’m happy to help others beak them too.

What do you want people to take away from your book?

I want people to learn to spot social media side door opportunities “in the wild,” as it were. Readers will see the world differently—for what it is now—and not for what it was when that dusty old rulebook was written. More importantly, they’ll have the tools to pursue those opportunities. I took great pains to make sure I wasn’t hanging my hat on specific apps that may not even be around in a few years. You should be able to read this now and apply my strategies for years to come.


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I started blogging mainly because of my interest in organizational cultures and (online) communications. Over the years it has become my passion to help professionals and entrepreneurs build their dreams, accelerate their results, and create richer, more miraculous lives.

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