It’s 2015 and most of our world is mostly online – from email to our SMS messages to your morning breakfast order and even the purchase order you are processing while you eat it. I have spoken with many people whom are looking to plunge in and find success working smarter and not harder networking online. While having a predisposition to it’s usefulness likely due to watching their children’s brains rot with the content they find and share, it blows people away that my best business successes have happened online. Have met and have maintained a relationship with my best customer, found a career being a search engine optimizer and stayed up to date on the SEO industry (which is tough for those in it who know what I mean!), gained valuable business from the other side of the world, helped find and negotiate lower shipping costs for a business associate, set up content writing teams, created content placement and link earning strategies and collaborated on editorial calendars all from the comfort of a mobile device. In fact, only one of the people I am speaking of I have ever even met in person, my best customer of course!
At the time of my emergence into the online social world, I had just moved away from the only home I knew. I left everyone I ever known behind, and I found that Phoenician neighbors are just not quite as friendly and quick to greet you as Sodaks (South Dakotans for those unbeknown to the term). Social media was the only way I was meeting new and exciting people; many were not in my neck of the woods but finding friend, responsive human contact was sure nice to find though. It allowed an avenue for networking; it was instant, surreal and really fun at the beginning. People were doing things they had never done, seeing things they had never seen, and imagining things they never imagined. I still love thinking back to the primordial soup of the Internet in the early 2000’s. It was full of possibilities! After the onslaught of free pornography, debt consolidation pop-ups, and idiosyncratic videos came and went, what was left is what you seen now. If you see what I see, it is a pretty amazing view with all the apps, cloud technologies and real-time face-to-face chat software solutions allowing even more possibilities to come about.
All of the technologies aside, social networking is still a basic one to develop skills in and profit from. If you are starting now, it can seem like a lot is required to know and the nuances and the lingo of each website may seem like learning a foreign language, but I am here to help you get the message out no matter what Tweet they speak. The key is to make the content awesome which is something I will let just about every other content marketer out there tell you the importance of. Just for scale and because I love hilarious graphical representations of things that are too ambiguous to measure or do not really need one, here is a quick illustration of what I consider to be the “awesomeness scale” of content marketing:
All this is to be said and done at this point: your content is awesome and you have something valuable to say. In this post, I’ll walk you through starting and understanding the value of four (4) social profiles to help you gain a sales advantage:
I recommend setting up a rock-star LinkedIn profile with the best highlights from your resume. It is pretty standard nowadays to have one and even becoming a medium for submitting a resume for some employers. It is now also great for sharing articles that support and show off your expertise, which is a newer feature to LinkedIn in 2015 (late-2014 launch but several bug fixes and layout & display changes have occurred since then) to combat the success and use of Twitter as a short-messaging platform. Having daily, weekly and monthly LinkedIn tasks is paramount to success and should be taken as seriously as any other prospecting process (i.e. cold-calling, data mining, email blasting). I believe this is where many fail. They start the process with the mentality that they are being unproductive while engaged in LinkedIn. Remember what the posters of those telemarketing call centers said? “Smile and dial!” Same is true here; go into your “connections time” as I call it with ambition and a can-do attitude that it is a working platform that will work for you. Just imagine how you may enjoy being approached online. Can you replicate that process to your prospects?
Best advice to those with teenagers, ask them how they tweet. Sure, they will give you a funny look like your trying top be a snoopy parent, but then let them know that you are trying to better understand how the system works. It is far different than Facebook which I am sure you are more familiar with, right? Great, so take everything you know about Facebook and throw it away. Twitter is a real-time microblog used to deliver valuable messages on the fly. Read this post to understand how a tweet is composed and how to make the most of the 140 characters you are given. It will take time to learn all the nuances of tweeting, how to mention others, make cards and join in on hashtag conversations but it will bring you closer to the people you seek to network with, give further insight and maybe just be a bit of fun along the way. Got to be a reason over 300 million active users log-on at least once a week, right?
To compliment all you say on your Twitter feed and to back with testimonial to your LinkedIn profile, I think YouTube is a great place to be found. It’s tied to (or really just is) Google’s video search, it gives you the ability to deliver ultra-rich content you can only get from face-to-face conversation. To those in sales, it may only be one-way but you can deliver the right messaging making your first meetup a total cinch getting the credibility and trust factors solidified before shaking hands. Finding the optimum length for your YouTube videos is something to note however. YouTube as a standard may give you 15 minutes per video, but only about 50% make it thru a full video that is over 2 minutes long. Having an channel makes it easy to make a video series. Always remember that Google owns YouTube and that your Google Account is tied to your YouTube. Having a Google Account also enlists you for all their other great free suite of apps to help you in your busy work life – Drive, Gmail, Calendar, Sites, and more.
Lastly, and a bit more advanced, is a Quora profile. If you are familiar with Yahoo! Answers, then this should be an easy concept to grasp. I myself just started my profile and am exploring its possibilites, but I see huge potential. As someone who seeks to be seen as a subject matter expert, I can use Quora to answer questions others seek answers on. Once I have answered it, it is logged on the internet (forever, you know) and is thus tied to me as the person answering. It syncs with your Twitter, like many social things you’ll later find on, so it makes sharing easy. Quora also has great search rankings for long-tail searches and your answer might just end up being a top-search result. Sure there is SEO for your website, but this is like SEO for your character and fame. LinkedIn might have all the fancy niceties of a resume display website and a great place to show off that you have 500+ connections, but if no one thinks your credible or none of those 500+ connections are passing you leads, there is something amiss, am I right? Quora makes you put your money where your mouth is, and if you use it right, Quora might help you put that money in your pocket.
Having and using these social profiles might just be your key to landing that solid 1st job out of college, advancing into a new position, or maybe securing your place as the most valued representative your best customers have in their “online Rolodex”. Also, always make sure your photos are clean and up-to-date and sites like Gravatar and About.me help you do that seamlessly across all you connected accounts. Standing out is always sage advice, and with the power of social at your fingertips (or thumb tips if on your phone right now) that advice can be taken with more precision and gusto than ever. I could not imagine back then where I would be within the world of social media driving my career all the way until now. I hope you too can find the fire inside and find social to not just be helpful, but revolutionary as well.