Why “Social” is important not just for Recruiters but for everyone.
If you’ve read stuff I’ve written before (thank you) you will know I am an evangelist for all (OK most) things “Social”. I’ve heard the detractors, and those who simply oversell the idea.
Let me talk about where I’m coming from. Well the name of Social Networking gives it all away.
By being “Social” you are collaborating, sharing, asking for help, helping others and generally being involved. It doesn’t mean you are always on Facebook, or Twitter or LinkedIn, Pinterest etc, although it means that you are using them as a vehicle for either your own personal branding, your learning, or to push a product. I have had issues with previous Managers over my activity in this space, they didn’t see the value, just saw the frequency of my interactions and jumped to conclusions. Happy to say a few years later I actually had a coffee with said Managers (after we’d parted ways) and received an apology, they just hadn’t recognised or realised what I was trying to do, and didn’t think my responses were valid, they are now playing catch up.
Being “Social” leads to Networking. This has opened my horizons remarkably, I can still remember when I first dipped my toe into the Social networking water. I didn’t know what to expect, I was just open to trying things, so I gave it a go. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Bill Boorman, he has taken this space to a new level! But my collaborating, forcing myself to be involved, adding my 2 cents in conversations with people who I was (and still am) in awe of, was really beneficial to me. Why? Firstly it gave me confidence, not that it’s something I normally lack, but it really enforced some messages I had semi fixed in my head. It opened up a brand new world of like minded people (scary huh). I got to know people all around the world, and although the majority I have never met, and potentially wont, I feel a connection, I feel I know them, at least professionally. It opened up a great channel for learning and asking questions. I’ve had numerous skype calls with people from across the globe helping structure a vision, poke holes in an idea, or generally just providing an ear for a vent for the frustration this industry gives us at times.
The practicalities of this also stand out for me. The learnings are amazing, be connected to the right people and you mind will thank you for it. The connections however are THE most important thing. Whilst it is great to know a lot of people, maybe it’s better to be known by more? Does that make sense? Here’s why, in the cold hard light of day, it helps personally. I had a boss say to me once (before Social Networking was even thought of) it’s great to have a great Rolodex (look it up kids) but if you aren’t billing from it… “who Cares?”. Whilst I haven’t (overly) actively pushed it from a sales capacity, it has worked for me. My last two roles came from relationships formed on-line. In one we had connected on-line even before we met face to face, the other I’d know basically a lifetime ago, but kept abreast of him via Social Media, so when the time was right, the time was right. Networking is a super important part of growth, but not everyone enjoys the drinking, mingling, talking to strangers, etc that you have to do at a conference, or even generally. The relative distance and security of involving yourself in a conversation on-line is much easier. The real buzz is when you do attend a conference, and you recognise people’s names (even if they look nothing like their online picture), you “know” them, they “know” you. That initial fear disappears. It’s great. (Sometimes it also helps if your name is the answer to a quiz/scavenger hunt at a conference! Thanks Phil and Andrea)
Networking, or building your personal brand is an important thing in life, and if you make a living off your reputation and lets face it we all do, you need to start thinking about if you are paying this social media thing enough attention. It’s not all about what you had for breakfast, or watching others rant about failed relationships, if that’s your belief… think again.