This post is part of a series. To read ahead, click here.
Social networking websites and apps know that the real value is in the home page and news feed, but they needed to provide folks an access point to allow users to gain access to these features while also giving the websites almost endless opportunities to barrage their members with an unending melee of questions, probing for the finest bit of data to add to their unquenchable desire for more knowledge (remember, knowledge is power, and it’s never been more true). So they gave us…Profiles.
Profiles are the little identities we create, that allow us to move about the realm of whichever site we choose to use to interact with other folks. I can remember creating my first AOL profile in 1997 and considering all the options carefully. Since I was the new kid on the block I certainly didn’t want to draw attention to myself so I did what any other sensible young man in his twenties would do…I created an alias.
It granted me access to the plethora of services available at the time. I could surf the web and pop in to chat rooms for an interactive experience with a bunch of total strangers. I could even make friends, which I did quite well.
I discovered, the hard way, that people believed whatever you told them. I believed these total strangers, too. I was so gullible. If they put it in their profile, who was I to think it was untrue. If you say in your profile that you are someone of importance (i.e. CEO of a company or professor at a prestigious university), people will treat you accordingly. I had discovered the power of personal branding and the multipliers that online social tools can add to this.
The Social Media profile is an incredibly potent ally. I often advise individuals who claim they can’t sell their services, for one reason or another (i.e. securities, insurance, accounting, etc…), through digital social channels. My advice: Why would you be selling there anyway? Be social, then let your profile description do the work.
It’s the new business card. You meet someone, you exchange names, you talk a little business, then you exchange cards. If they want to know more, they’ll look you up. If not, stop trying to kill them with your sales message. They stopped listening a long time ago and have moved on mentally. If you’re in a sales roll anywhere, try this instead:
Whenever you meet someone new, be a human first. If they like you and ask the standard small talk question, “What do you do?” Let them know – without giving them a reason to raise any walls. If they press you for more information, schedule a visit at a more appropriate time. If they ask for your contact info, or offer theirs unsolicited, offer them your card.
When they Google you, attempt to connect with you on LinkedIn, or whatever they feel is appropriate, make sure that your profile is doing the next stage of the sale. Offer a little more information and ALWAYS provide a link to a website, you control, that can do the rest of the work. It’s 2014…use the tools. They are available in abundance!
This post is part of a series. To read more, click here.