Professionals are constantly been told by their marketing teams and indeed by the rest of the world “You need to do more on social media”. So what do they do? More often than not they set up a LinkedIn page, upload their CV and connect with a few old uni chums and some former work mates, maybe the odd client and then it sits there. In fact, many believe that LinkedIn is simply a thing you do if you want a new job!
Then comes Twitter – and that is even more difficult for professionals to get their head around. They create an account, tweet an article from the BBC (no one retweets it or engages in it in anyway) and then tweet a picture of their lunch. Then they leave and never return and probably quite rightly to because it’s difficult to “get”.
The way to get these, usually very clever people and experts in the field they work in, to understand social media, is to explain that it’s a bit like a breakfast seminar. They understand the breakfast seminar. An event they put on once a quarter, where they get 30 of their clients and potential clients in a hotel conference room and present to them about a specific topic of interest that they have expertise in, over lukewarm coffee and stale croissants. By doing this, they are giving the audience useful information that is of interest to them or will make their job easier to do. The professional as a result is seen as an expert and over time there is a chance that more of those people in the audience become clients.
Social Media is very similar to this but instead of speaking to 30 people once per quarter drinking bitter coffee at high expense, you can talk to potentially thousands of the relevant people every single day for next to nothing.
The people that do the most effectively are those that are writing blogs and insights and commenting the latest trends and news in their field. If you can get the expertise out of the head of the professional and onto paper then that’s the hard bit done. Social Media then becomes the way to share it to the world and especially through Twitter, LinkedIn and LinkedIn Groups.
When professionals start doing this and people start liking and sharing their posts, this is the feedback they need that will drive them to do it again and again. When people comment on their posts, they are in a position to comment back because they have not just shared some article from a newspaper or news site - it’s their own piece of content that they wrote. They understand the conversation and feel very much empowered to lead the debates they trigger.
By doing this consistently over time, then just like with the breakfast seminar, the professional can start to establish themselves as one of the “go-to” experts in their field, a true thought leader. If you can do that, then business will come your way.
The best thing is that a very small percentage of professionals are doing this effectively at the moment so there is a real opportunity for early adopters to “own” the niche that they work in.