Have you been completely overwhelmed by social media yet? It seems like there’s a new platform popping up every day, the established sites are constantly adding features, and the experts keep telling you a new way that you are supposed to be using it. There are always new widgets, new buttons, and new functions. It would be tempting (and easier) to write off social media as a fad…if it wasn’t an immensely powerful business tool. Sure, you might not need every website de jour; but underneath the sometimes confusing veneer are new and exciting ways for you to connect with your clients, colleagues, and prospects.
Still, many professionals in the financial field haven’t gotten to the point where they can use social media on a daily basis. They can’t get past square one because they don’t know how to start… so they “pull an ostrich” and stick their heads in the sand and ignore the world as it continues to evolve. Don’t fall into that trap yourself! Even if you haven’t taken the dive yet, know that there’s a place to start that’s accessible to everyone. Instead of getting stuck in the all of the features and buttons, take a cue from one of the basic sales lessons I learned when I was new to the business world.
I got my professional start selling cutlery in people’s kitchens (and there isn’t anything as old school as direct in-home sales). One of the best pieces of advice I received in the beginning was the sales adage: “People only do business with people they know, like, and trust. So to be successful, the people you work with have to know, like, and trust you.”
Here’s my suggestion: let this be your guiding principle with social media. Don’t freeze when you think of what steps to take online, simply ask yourself this question, “If my job depends on helping people know, like, and trust me, which of these sites and what functionality on these sites will help me accomplish this?”
This gives you a foundation that allows you to create an effective online strategy, one that is uniquely suited to your needs. It allows you to move forward with confidence because each step you take is influenced by your end goal. For example, LinkedIn is a great place to start for most new users because it allows you to create a robust professional record of note (I admit I’m a little biased because we’re a LinkedIn Preferred Partner for Training, but it is incredibly valuable). Maybe you also want to learn about using YouTube to create educational videos; or maybe your target market is women and it would make sense to spend time on Pinterest because it has a high percentage of female users. There isn’t a right or wrong answer – just go back to whether or not it will help the people you want to do business with to know, like, and trust you.
The pace of growth and chance in social media isn’t going to slow down anytime soon – in fact it will continue to accelerate. It’s not going to pause to let you catch up; so if you are overwhelmed now it’s just going to get worse. The best strategy is not to try to understand all of the technology – but rather, know what you want to communicate to your audience, and use the appropriate tools to do that.
Use the technology to help people know, like, and trust you. Make it your friend, not your enemy.
See you online!