I read somewhere that unsolicited advice is the strongest sign of arrogance. And to an extent, I agree. So what I’m sharing is what has worked for me in the past. I’m not a huge fan of the “5 reasons that XYZ will make you better”. Perhaps in sharing some of what has worked for me (through trial and much error!) maybe I can help a few people avoid mistakes that I have had to learn the hard way. Karma will find a way to return the favor.
I am 42, and pretty much missed the Facebook and Twitter hype by five years.
My thought at the time was that both were for the self indulgent. Truth is – they can be, but only if used incorrectly. I pretty much avoided them on principal; Big mistake.
But it’s never too late. By taking the advice of those that came up at the dawn of social media, I have come to discover its immense value. Here is what has helped me, coming from a guy who is a “late adapter” to social media.
It’s incredibly hard to win people over one at a time. Why do so when you can get the word out to thousands at a time? Many recent Revolutions and mass demonstrations have been organized THROUGH social media (look at France response to the recent attack – the power of that is undeniable). Why not share your passion with potentially thousands of perspective clients if the technology is there to do so? It comes down to overcoming the anxiety of a changing landscape and accepting the inevitable vs. just doing what is in your comfort zone. As Bob Dylan wrote, “For he who gets hurt will be he who has stalled”. Don’t STALL.
I consider myself a humble person. What I have learned is that it’s not arrogant to want to share your experience and thoughts with others if it will avoid them from making your mistakes. In fact, it is just that open dialogue that has helped me grow and provided me with the confidence to share with others via social media. By spending a lot of time with the “Twenty-Somethings” in our office, I have learned to embrace social media and I have found that it has enhanced my business significantly. I’d strongly suggest doing so. I learn as much from them as they learn from me, and It makes me feel less like an old fogey.
This is FACT: the first thing someone will do after (and often before) speaking or meeting with you for the first time is LOOK you up. It is the new “first impression”. Regardless of whether you agree with it or not, it’s the way business and personal interaction is done. Assume that your handshake is your online persona. If you have NO online persona, it’s a red flag. Sorry, but it’s true. People will assume that you are either have not taken the time to build one, that you have something to hide by not building one, or worse yet, that you are a dinosaur. I have found that having an online persona that is honest helps people know who you are, and sets the tone for the face-to-face interaction.
Another important tip: if you rely solely on your social media profile in business you will not be successful. One supports the other, and unless purchasing a commodity, people WILL ultimately do business with other people, not machines.
I’m fairly certain that it will become more difficult to establish your online persona as more people adopt them. Which means get in front and DO IT NOW. Just like sending an introduction email ten years ago almost guaranteed a response (what is that worth now?) at some point receiving a Linkedin message or a direct tweet will become like spam. But if you have an already established online persona, it WILL demand the recipient’s attention (and hopefully a response). If your online persona gets large enough, unsolicited requests to discuss business opportunities are sure to follow; The Holy Grail.
Build your online persona now because there is a closing window of opportunity for you to do so. Hope that some of my past experience has helped!