The number one question I always get is… “What it is it that I actually do?”

Recently, I sat down and sought to answer this question. Of course, there are a lot of things that I do. But, this question is always in the context of how I make a living.

I am sure with a few glimpses of my Facebook updates, one might think many things of what I might do. (I always like to keep people guessing.)

However, in this day and age, keeping the wrong people guessing many not be too good of a strategy. In this, perhaps opportunities are lost. And… quite frankly, some are gained.

In this, please don’t think I am seeking to go all egotistical on you. Trust me, I am well aware of my roots. So, when I talk about some of the things I have done, please keep it in context.

So, what is it that I actually do when one hires me… here are 5 things:

1. Lead businesses, non-profits, brands, and individuals to a place of sound understanding of social media.

Objective: Simple… Learn (Nurture a partnership environment that is filled with learning opportunities as to how best use this new technology to meet your overall objectives.)

One of my personal objectives for working with clients in the use of social media is to add an element of teaching in everything I do. I also aim personally to continue a growth path for keeping up on what platforms are being used and what ones are coming.

I do not claim to know it all. Social media is too new and lacks the decades of data traditional forms of media has. However, social media is here and not going away. Personally, I like to view the use of social media through the lens of a mindset needed to be successful based on my years of running a multimillion dollar business, plus businesses in various market sectors.

2. Work with businesses, non-profits, brands, and individuals to expand their idea chest of how best to communicate their message in tune with their personal strengths.

Objective: How well do you know… you?

How well do you know you and your ability to articulate your message? Do you like to write? Do you like to talk? Are you animated when you speak? Of course, another word here for animated would be passionate. For some, you love the idea of a blog, a podcast, or even a video cast to convey your message. For others… maybe the video thing is not your cup of tea. But knowing this about you… will open up the idea chest of possibilities in successfully conveying your message.

3. Work with businesses, non-profits, brands, and individuals to develop a sustainable new media strategy that will provide a new and effective communications channel for them.

Objective: Simple… Plan (Develop comprehensive yet flexible strategy that will best suit your business and engage your core demographic.)

Based on the assessment process. We will work together to develop an online strategy. In this, it is critical to understand that just because one is using social media platforms, does not make them relevant… how and why you use them, does.

This means it will take time to develop a core base of online followers. However, it is not just about amount of followers, for sustainability, a level of consistent 2-way engagement is critical. In this, it is important to remember that social networking is a community, not a billboard.

This will also mean developing delivery methods and messaging strategies that best reflect both your brand and you personally. This could involve recording podcasts, videos, or writing blogs for scheduled delivery.

These methods will result in 20% of your online messaging strategy. This reflects your informational strategy. 80% of your messaging will be relational. It is in this 80% and how you use it which will provide capital in your followers that will allow you to more successfully engage them with the 20% informational strategy.

Too often, brands, businesses, etc. get their messaging turned around and deliver 80% information. Sadly and most often, this will result in being un-followed. Too much information on social networking platforms is nothing more than spam.

People follow you because they want to know more about you. People want to share their time and dollars with people they trust and know. This leads to loyalty. Loyalty must be cared for, respected, and nurtured.

Within this development stage, we also need to best understand how we will drive awareness to the platforms that have been established and ask how will your current and new followers know where to find you?

4. Apply my vast experience managing businesses, working with non-profits and brands to provide sound consultation as to how best navigate this new world and rise above the noise of current media practices.

Objective: To offer a level of trust to my clients in that I don’t speak simply theory, I speak reality.

Most recently, I served as general manager to several retail business chains in various sectors. While managing all aspects of business for these multi-million units, I was fortunate enough to have developed a reputation for my out of the box creativity, leadership ability, and for being a visionary.

My recent stint of 14 years in retail saw me graduate from working on the frontlines of a business making just over minimum wage to running that same company 10 years later. In just two years, we turned that company around from major loss to major profit.

I have spoken at trade industry conferences, led workshops, webinars, and maintained a regular column within a bookstore trade industry publication. I have also partnered with various record labels, publishing companies, non-profits, artists, and authors to develop and execute various campaigns both regional and national reach.

With these many appearances, I have apparently become known for my use of social media to help mobilize, educate, and inspire potential customers, followers, fans, and the like to get engaged with the things they are most passionate about.

I am ecstatic about working with people and not only coaching them on the use of social media, but to help each person better understand how they or their business is wired in order to best maximize their potential.

So, as you see… I don’t just bring a sound knowledge of social media use to the table. I also seek to bring my vast experience in business operations. In this, I believe I have both the vision beyond my experience in this new world we live in as well as the experience to support that vision.

5. Work with businesses, non-profits, brands, and individuals to execute measurable strategies designed to meet our agreed upon objectives.

Objective: Simple… Execute. (Ideas are just that… if you don’t execute.)

As we begin the execution strategy, it is my objective to include you in the process as to best teach you how we can together, best maximize our efforts. Execution efforts will take time initially to set up the various channels for content delivery. We can also choose to schedule delivery of our 20% informational strategy on the front end. This would allow us to work together in the execution of the relational messages, which is as we go… while we go.

Execution is critical. Being consistent and engaged in both your message as well as your community can prove to be socially profitable. Being profitable socially, if nurtured well, can and will lead to increased business over time.

However, you will get out of it, what you put into it. When working with a team of employees, it is critical to remember this is YOUR brand. Simply assigning someone the duty of running your social media campaigns can often times prove reckless. Having both excellent relational skills and business intuition is critical.

From the top down, the best success stories involve leaders, who themselves are social media adapters fostering a culture of learning and usage of these methods. as you set the example both on and off social networking platforms, people will follow your lead, methods, and strategy.

Due to the relational nature of social networking, checking in regularly will be critical. If a follower posts a question, comment, or message, you do not want that to go left unnoticed. Others will be watching, too. But, simply checking in and engaging at various points throughout the day will suffice. This could lead to anywhere from an hour to a couple of hours per day.

What’s the benefit?

While I can think of many things I could say, I will leave this to some of those I have already worked with…

“Taking steps into new projects is difficult enough. Without the help of those that have gone before us, it can be an exercise in futility. To have someone who can lead you confidently down the path means the world.

Not only has Gunnar been that for me but he still is. It seems there is nothing I can throw at him that shakes or puzzles him. Not only will Gunnar turn the lights on for a project, he will walk you through it.

Always encouraging, always illuminating, Gunnar Simonsen is a great asset to my organization. I make my living coming up with crazy ideas. When its time to put legs on them. Gunnar is my choice.”

“When I share about Gunnar with friends and people looking for help, I say “Gunnar is a social media guru! He not only knows the most about this topic, but he also is a practitioner! He has been in retail and in marketing! Use him and you will see profits come in!” Gunnar is also a great friend with a huge heart!”

“Over the last couple of years I’ve had the honor of getting to know Gunnar and “follow” him through various social networking channels. If you are looking for someone who is an engaging speaker and presenter, someone who encourages and brings out the best in people and is a rising star within the Social Network marketing space you need to connect with Gunnar.”

“When meeting Gunnar for the first time, you immediately know he is a man who is a creative and forward thinker. In the retailer/supplier relationship, Gunnar actively seeks strategic partnerships and invites dialog to pursue common solutions to drive business.

A consummate “brainstormer”, Gunnar invites and provides feedback and points -of-view that challenge the status quo. Gunnar’s drive, energy and passion make your business relationship with him amiable and inventive.

When you meet with Gunnar – be ready to engage, think, process, and develop. You’ll walk away with a positive outlook for the future and be motivated with a host of ideas to compel the partnership forward.”

“Gunnar’s knowledge and excitement for social media helped my business go from stalling at around 250 Facebook fans after the first year to over 1000 fans in just 4 months!”

“Gunnar has the passion and the knowledge for changing how we look internet as retailers. I’ve found his articles, videos, and seminars on social media to be tremendously helpful and intensely practical. I also like that he is humble enough that he doesn’t claim to know everything there is to know in regards to social media, but that he is willing to share and teach us everything he can.”

So, where has all this got me?

It’s funny, I spend so much time helping others answer this question that I rarely spend the time needed to actually answer this question of myself.

Since leaving the corporate world of running various businesses. I have spent my time seeking to use my gifts in helping others to best clearly define theirs.

This has played out by some incredible opportunities I have had by working with some amazing people over the past year by way of representing and/or partnering with them, artists, authors, brands, messages, businesses, causes, and products.

How ironic recently that I had the opportunity to share a table for an event I helped with that included Oliver North, Sen. Jim DeMint, LTG William Boykin, and Dr. Stu Weber and then two weeks later, share a stage with and asking Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon about what he has been doing to fight child trafficking in Portland.

Yes, it is entirely possible to have principles while standing in between the political fight our nation is now facing, which sadly is very polarizing. (But I digress.)

Over the years, I have been called a lot of things. I have been called lucky, an over-achiever, and blessed, among other things.

When I set out on this journey, all I had was my faith and perhaps many other abilities that I would later learn of.

Isn’t that the truth for all of us? If not, know this… it is.

What do others see in you that you don’t see in yourself?

I am honored to work with and have worked with some amazing authors. One is a new author on Zondervan who wrote Fatherless Generation. I have also worked with various New York Times Bestselling authors such as Joel Rosenberg and William Paul Young of The Shack.

This past year has also seen the opportunity to work with an artist who has career sales of 36 million records to helping promote a movie that has won critical acclaim called Lord Save Us from Your Followers.

I have worked with a couple guys who created a drain that keeps your tub from clogging, recently featured on QVC to a national organization that is fighting to stop child trafficking. (Which BTW, SCTNow has some amazing people across the country working with them as well in the world of social media. I am humbled to be a part of their network.)

I have taught classes and workshops on the mindset of using social media to writing columns and being interviewed on the subject.

And, I have the honor to work with many small businesses in helping them rise above the noise in this very difficult economic season.

In the end, I would like nothing more than to use my skills by day to provide for my family and by night… to partner with organizations aimed at helping the voiceless among us. Organizations like: The Mentoring Project, Union Gospel Mission Portland, and Africa New Life.

I also love nothing more than helping young people in their passion to make a difference for the least of these, as well.

It has been quite the journey so far. I know I have so much more to learn and accomplish. To get here, many people took a chance on me and for that… I am beyond grateful.

What is it exactly that I do? To be honest, what I do first and foremost is that I am a father and a husband.

After that, well… read for yourself.