You don’t have to tell me what you thought, but your answer to that question is the strongest indicator of your success in using social media to drive your career. In training thousands of professionals on how to effectively use sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to accomplish their goals, I’ve found one certainty:
Attitude is everything. How someone approaches social media is the biggest determinant on how effectively they integrate it into their business life Why? Because social media isn’t about technology or about this website or that new web app. It’s really about a new form of communicating with others.
We are living through a period of time where communication tools are becoming “democratized”. Remember when we used to just sit and watch television? Or a movie? Or read a newspaper? That’s so 1996. Now we expect to interact with our information sources. We don’t send letters to the editor of the newspaper, we put a comment on the blog we just read…immediately. And just like you want to engage with the companies you do business with, your clients and prospects want to engage with you. If they can’t, they’re going to find someone who will start that dialog with them.
That shift, from broadcast communication to true dialog, is the real change of social media. How we communicate as a culture is evolving. And to be successful moving forward, you need to be on the growth side of that trend. That’s why attitude is everything, because it’s not about knowing about the technology, but rather it’s about being open to the conversation with your peers, prospects, and clients.
If you are a financial professional in this new environment, there are two facts to keep in mind: how we communicate is changing and it’s never going to go back to how it was. This scenario gives you two options when integrating social media into your professional world: sink or swim. (And it really is that clear cut).
What can you do right now? Before you worry about creating the perfect LinkedIn profile or putting you first tweet on Twitter, “give yourself a check-up from the neck up.” Yes, you have to have some knowledge about specific tactics on each platform, but that’s the easy part. There are myriad sources that can give you the hard knowledge you need, but they will only help if you are willing to embrace the changes. Even if I could teach you the silver bullet to using social media (sorry, there isn’t one), it would only be useful if you were open to learning.
By the way, this transition isn’t easy. Let’s not underestimate the scope of this evolution. It can be confusing and overwhelming for all of us – we’re all on this learning curve together. But don’t get stuck thinking that you can stand in the same place and still find success. The professionals that don’t change will see their clients and their businesses slip away.
Because as the saying goes, “If you hate change, you’re going to hate obsolescence even more.” So don’t hate change, make it your friend. Embrace social media, and embrace the ability to communicate with your clients and prospects in a whole new way, and you will see your business flourish.
See you online!