For most people, social media has become an intrinsic part of life in the last decade or so, whether you use it to share photos of your dinner, get a recommendation, share experiences or just give your views on life. Until very recently, I was generally a social media “lurker”. Although I posted occasionally, my use of social media (mainly Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) was usually in “read-only” mode.
So, what has changed? Firstly, some personal coaching led me to realise the importance of me to my business; people will want to do business with a person they trust, rather than simply with Sourced or a brand. So, in order for people to want to do business with me, they need to get to know me. Whilst more traditional face to face methods like networking events are still valuable, the immediacy and intimacy of social media is hugely powerful in allowing people to get to know you.
Secondly, one of the many lessons that the Sourced HQ team have coached me on is that I need to “become comfortable being uncomfortable”. What does that mean? Basically, in order to push and develop myself, and my business, I need to get out of my comfort zone. Being vocal and visible on social media is definitely outside of my comfort zone, “what will my friends think?”, “what if I make a fool of myself?”, “why would people listen to me?”, “what if someone challenges me?”
So, over the past couple of weeks, I have become much more active on social media, sharing what I am up to, contributing in groups, and even challenging people’s opinions (although that one took a good 30 minutes of thinking time whilst out for a run before I did it!) And the result? Too early to say, however it has been recognised. People in “real” life commenting on what I’ve been up to, asking how things are going, challenging me, and surprisingly quickly, genuine business leads coming my way.
The main factor for me is in being authentic, not trying to be someone I’m not just because it’s online. I have been surprised how quickly this has become the new normal for me, but as with real life, I suspect there will be many bumps on the social media journey. Next stop, vlogging, another huge step outside my comfort zone, but one I suspect will be well worth taking.