Last week I was surprised when my boss brought our team together and basically admitted that the goal of Personal Branding that I started down almost 2 years ago was not only the right thing to do but wanted the rest of our team to start leveraging Social Media more (and more effectively).
So begins that age old challenge that the head start is being eaten away. I am good with that though as I have worked hard to ensure that every interaction that I have, every link that I post and ever connection that I make not only increases my exposure but also adds value to the lives of those that I work with (both as customers and colleagues). But what is the real full potential of leveraging Social Media and Social Networking as this grand Social Layer that surrounds us continues to change into something more than just a fad in a dorm room?
In a recent report from McKinsey Global Institute the look and feel of Social Media today will be a pale comparison of what will exist tomorrow. With 1.5 Billion users Social Networking is not only popular, it is the connection that binds 21% of the global population! With 90% of companies reporting some form of positive interaction because of their own Social Presence, anyone who is in business that is not taking advantage of Social Media will be surpassed and made redundant very quickly.
But back to the concept of the personal brand. If so many consumers are leveraging Social Media, how does this apply to B2B consumers? How can the hidden potential be unlocked and tapped by interacting with customers that are not buying Diapers or going out for Dinner with Friends?
It is really that simple. As humans we are a social animal. We want to connect with and interact with people that share similar interests and like similar things. I have the advantage of being a full on Geek so talking to other Geeks comes naturally so I can focus on bringing value to my customers by doing things like this Blog, sharing content that I am interested in and working really hard to have a single voice across multiple channels.
For my colleagues…they are not Geeks and to try to pretend you are something that you are not…well even with Social Media…it becomes very obvious and the last thing that you want to be is another broadcaster. It is about interacting and sharing the experience with others that is where Social Media becomes most powerful.
The McKinsey Report claims a potential increase of 20-25% productivity for Knowledge Workers and from personal experience I would agree with that number but even more importantly is the reduction in email that has become the bane of my existence.
This move to a deeper socially connecting workplace is not without its risks. The “new distraction” can have a short term negative impact on productivity and if all focus is shifted to Social Media…well we have all fallen victim to a game of Angry Birds or Farmville at least once right? I don’t think that the potential for abuse is something that needs to be overly thought out, for a knowledge worker, if the incentive to do the right thing quickly and efficiently is properly rewarded…then the distractions will take care of themselves and the productivity gains will be that much faster to achieve.
This is a movement that is just as important to Sales Professionals as it is to Senior Executives, IT Professionals and even Human Resources. The world is changing and to think even for one second that the status quo will stay that way for long…I strongly suggest rethinking your stance.
If there is one thing that I can suggest for each person who is reading this today…UPDATE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE! That is the quickest way to connect and engage within your industry. And if you would like…I am pretty open to new connections as well, visit my LinkedIn Profile and shoot me a connect request!
Chris J Powell