Several years ago I pitched some emails into the virtual cylindrical file (the trash) from a friend who insisted he "had closed over $1 billion in new business on Linkedin. "
Despite this, I embrace social media as a great way to build business relationships. In the past few years through my own experiences I have become somewhat of a social media expert, and recently helped develop my company's new website.
Social media has stimulated my creativity and led to career advancement. There are five reasons to get on board:
5) Social media is about creating your personal brand. No matter what you do, there are thousands of others who purport to do the same thing. In my world as a financial advisor we refer to the "parade of blue suits." Maintaining social networks, and blogging, are great ways to distinguish yourself among your peers. There is true irony in that financial advisors want to know everything about their clients yet are guarded in sharing their own lives. Years ago my colleague resisted having dinner with a client because it "would be too personal."
My business, financial services, is relationship based. Studies show most people change advisors because of the relationship, or lack thereof.
4) You succeed with social media by being a resource. In addition to my blogs I regularly share articles, quotes, and information with my social networks. When people can rely on you for insight you build credibility.
3) Social media works if you are in "listening" mode. Social media is one big conversation; to only offer a megaphone gets you nowhere. You have to listen and participate by contributing. Narcissists need not apply.
2) There is no immediate gratification with social media. I have been asked to quantify my business experiences with social media in terms of sales numbers. It doesn't work that way.
I can, however, point to several connections which led to business based on my efforts, including a partner in a CPA firm who reached out because of a post about concussions and former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson and professional feedback about a post about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. I didn't start blogging because I wanted to increase business but because I enjoy writing and think it's a way for me to distinguish myself in a competitive field.
1) Everybody's doing it. The time you spend contemplating social media is time you're being passed on the information highway. A recent IBM study indicates explosive growth in social CEO's in the next five years.
Have you utilized social media at work? I would enjoy hearing about your experiences.
Of course, another great business decision is to like us on Facebook.