Although I wrote this article for this section of the forum it is also published externally on my blog http://chrisheffer.com
Are you considering using social media at work or in your professional life? Are you trying to figure out what social media can help you achieve or see if it's worth your while? Read on to help you understand the value social media can bring to your career and some examples of how easy it is to start getting results. Most people I talk to about social media fall into two categories: those who think it is important but don't use it much if at all and those who don't see the point because they don't think they can get anything out of it. I want to share some tips on what I have done to achieve a few milestones of success in a fairly short time frame. If you follow these tips you will be able to define what it is you want to achieve and get results a lot quicker than I did.
My social media goals
- Establish credibility inside and outside my company
- Build up my personal brand so people know who I am before I meet them
- Communicate my thoughts and ideas to more people
- Build up my industry knowledge so that I can be perceived by others as an expert
- Connecting and conversing with like minded people
If you share any of these goals then read on and I will give you some tips to help you achieve them.
How can you achieve these goals?
- You need to figure out who you are trying to target and what you want them to think of you
- Using the analogy of a magazine editor - you need to create and curate information to share with and appeal to a targeted audience. Try to figure out what you can do to add value to other people's lives.
- You need to write your various social profiles from the perspective of "what do people want to know about you, so that they will want to work with you" and not "what do I need to tell people so they offer me a new job". None of your customers or clients need to know how many times you have achieved above your sales quota. They want to know how you can help their business.
- One of your objectives might be that you want to be the go-to resource in your field. You should write a blog to help educate people by sharing all the things you have learnt. You should aim to be the answer that pops up every time your customer or prospect asks Google a question.
My social media milestones
I cannot say these things have made a million or have helped me become a vice president (YET!). These are some of the milestones which I have passed that make me feel that I am doing the right thing. Some of which you may want to achieve and some you may not. Never the less, these are some of the soft reasons which give me reassurance I am on the right path.
You still have a job
You may be going against the grain of tradition. Social is a cultural change within a business. The honest, open, transparent way of doing business that comes with social is a bit of a shock to some. Although the road may not be a smooth one, hopefully the end result is that you are still on the pay roll. Your good intentions will be acknowledged (even when others may perceive you are in the wrong) and eventually even the doubters in your organisation will see that what you are doing is mutually beneficial. It will take time, maybe even years, so stick with it and don't give up.
Increased visibility on LinkedIn
If you want people to know who you are, then it is a good idea to have a good LinkedIn profile which people can easily find and want to look at. If people find you in a search, then they are more likely to visit your profile. If they view your profile, they are more likely to do business with you. These pictures show both the number of people who have seen my profile in search results and the number of people who have visited my profile. By the look of it, I have a ratio of 5 search hits to every page view, although not everyone finds me through search, so the ratio is actually a lot higher than this.
This shows the number of times my profile has been viewed in the last 3 month
This shows the number of times my profile has been seen in a LinkedIn search in the last 3 months
Page view of your blog - talk to more people
Blogging gives you a channel to help share your ideas and thoughts with more people. Since I wrote my first blog post the number of people visiting my blog has increased significantly. I am not sure how sustainable this almost exponential level of growth is but I hope the overall upward trend will continue. In August and September I had 3400+ chances to talk to people. Compare this to the average person in business. Do you think they have had the chance to tell people their thoughts and ideas over 3400+ times in two months? I would be amazed if most sales people, who sell high value goods, do that in a year. Even if you were working in a high volume telesales/inside sales role making outbound calls all day every day, you may dial a large volume of numbers per day but how many do you actually have a meaningful conversation with? All the people who viewed my site came through wanting to know more about me or what I have to say. Most of those people found me with a search engine or saw a link on a social network site and thought it looked interesting enough to click on.
These are my blog stats since I started my blog
Through other websites (listed below) I have received approximately 10,000 more page views, bringing the total for the 9 months I have been blogging up to around 17,000 views.
The number of followers you have on Twitter does not equal success.
At the time of writing this post I have around 455 followers. Potentially, half of those may have little interest in what I do or say and probably followed me with the hope that I will follow them back. Even if half those people are interested in what I have to say, it gives me a great platform. How else could you feed your knowledge, thoughts and ideas into the minds of your colleagues/customers/prospects on a daily basis without twitter? If you emailed 455 people a couple of times a day I doubt you would achieve the same objective, people would hate you! Through learning to use twitter I managed to get one of my blog articles retweeted to over 90,000 people in 1 hour. How else could you get eyes of 90,000 people for free?
Third party accreditation
By association you can get yourself additional credibility through being published on other sites. You can do this by submitting the RSS feed of your site to repost your blog on their site or by guest posting on other people's sites. Some of the sites that have published my work include:
These websites put my work in the same place as the CMO and CIO of my company plus many of the world's most well respected thought leaders in my industry. By association this helps to raise the credibility of your work if they want to it on their site. It is just like getting your work published in the Daily Telegraph or the Wall Street Journal.
Speak at events
In the last 9 months I have built up my own personal brand and used my blog to share my views and opinions on social. I have been privileged enough get invited to be involved in not only my organisation's biggest events but also the biggest social media industry events in the UK. Full listing of these events are on my website speaking page. These a handful of the events:
Google me and see what comes up
Even if you haven't googled yourself, you can bet your bottom dollar that your customers have. "Who the hell is Chris Heffer?!" I am sure a few people have thought to themselves. Through the work that I have published on-line, I occupy 9 of the 10 (6 directly and 3 indirectly) links on the first page of Google when searching for "Chris Heffer". The top two are a direct link to my blog and there is a link to the blog I write for my employer. Other links are to Chris Heffer LinkedIn directories, my twitter profile, my professional Facebook page and my Google + page.
Google search results for "Chris Heffer"
This is the first place most people will look when they are trying to find out anything about anything so you need to make sure when they search they can find you. Hopefully it will be good things they find. If you are faced with this challenge, look out for my future blog post which will tackle this problem.
What else are people typing in Google?
For every person who asks you a question at work there are many more who will ask Google the same question. You should try to publish answers to as many questions as possible. That way you stand a good chance of coming up as a source of knowledge when people are looking for information. Here is a bunch of questions where I usually rank on the 1st page of Google (if you ask it nicely!). I aim to provide the answers to help educate people in the field I am trying to be known for.
- How to use social media at your event
- What is the future of social media
- Why complain using social media
- Can social media replace email
- Why should you write a blog
- How to find ideas to write in your blog
There is no end goal with my efforts, if I make a million or become a CEO, that will not signify I have reached the end destination. I will know I am heading in the right direction, if I continue hitting the goals that I set myself and those given to me by my employer. It is a project I will be working on till the day I decide to hang up my business hat or until someone comes up with a social network that operates telepathically.
I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this article. How have you used social media in your career? What are your goals? What have you done to work towards or achieve those goals?