An ex-colleague of mine was made redundant last year after many years in a senior role with a media company. After a brief rest, he decided to set up stall as a consultant. This made sense, as he does have a terrific range of knowledge, shows great interpersonal skills and communicates his messages excellently both to individuals and groups at all levels.
After a few months of trying for work he is somewhat downhearted. He has discovered that many of the long-term contacts he has personally helped to develop over many years simply don’t want to know. Interestingly, one or two he had no particular hopes for have been helpful and encouraging. Such is life. The end result is that business is slow, relying as he has on already-fostered contacts.
When I asked him how we was marketing himself the reaction wasn’t quite what I expected. “What you mean Facebook and Twitter? I hate all that stuff!” He then looked at me as if the conversation was closed. Knowing him quite well, and after some gentle probing, a truer picture emerged.
Social Media isn’t just for kids
In reality, in the past, he had found little personal use for such options and therefore hadn’t really been interested in them or knew much about how they operated. I suspect he isn’t alone in that, especially with folk who have worked in an internal role for a single company over a longish period of time. They have accepted that their kids are of a social media generation, but see Facebook or Twitter as no more than a place where they chat to each other.
It took some time, but I feel that I have started to persuade him that the important factor is that his potential customers – the ones who haven’t known him since the dawn of time – will search for and expect to find services like the ones he offers in such places. They will compare options and often reach a judgement simply on what they can see in front of them.
Wary of Social Media?
If you, or some of your team, are wary of social media, or aren’t sure how best to present yourself online, it can be easy to simply neglect the wide range of opportunities on offer. In the modern financial climate, it’s unlikely that this would be a recipe for success!