Social media has penetrated our lives in more ways than one could have imagined. We not only just share personal trivia on these increasingly ubiquitous channels of networking, but whatever we put out in the open has the potential of impacting our professional lives in an ever-increasing manner.
Now, one aspect of what I mentioned above, is to critically monitor our actions pertaining to information sharing, the other more relevant aspect, as per me, is to realize the importance of being ‘Socially visible’; and what we stand to lose if we don’t use these channels for our own benefit.
Why being ‘Socially Visible’ is necessary?
Any individual, or company, might actually ponder over this question, and they will be right in doing so. I’ll try to put forward a perspective here, which may have been discussed in similar/different forms in many places, but still conveys the reasons in a very elementary yet effective manner.
A consumer goods company looking to increase its sales, hoping to tap new customers; an individual looking for new career opportunities – What is the common need of both these entities? – For me both these entities are merely looking at conveying the value proposition they have to offer in the most effective way to the prospective buyer of their product/service/talent. Their purpose is to convey that they are better than the rest and that is why a prospective customer should consider the consumer goods company for making his/her next purchase and a prospective employer should consider the individual for his/her next talent acquisition. But this has been the case always, hasn’t it?
So what has changed? How has social media come into the overall picture? Well, the answer is very simple – what has changed is where the first interaction between a customer and the company; the employer and an employee happens. No longer are we bound by limitations of physical interactions to gather information about something or someone. Customers are increasingly using blogs/forums/Q & A sites to gather information about products/services they want to buy, and only if the first interaction goes well do they actually consider physically visiting a store to enquire more about what they want to buy. And, the mechanism is not different when it comes to acquiring new talent – employers are increasingly exploiting social channels like LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter/Blogs to find about an individual before their first physical interaction.
The amount of information that resides in public domain has changed the whole course of ‘how’ and ‘when’ demand and supply sides interact with each other. The stage using the internet to form that initial and probably the most critical opinion about someone/something that can be called as the ‘Zero Moment of Truth’ – a phrase coined by Jim Lecinski of Google – for the opinion maker, and it surely lays the foundation for all the future interactions (if at all they will happen).
We must win in the ‘Zero Moment Of Truth’, and this probably is the reason why we need to be ‘Socially visible’.
After penning down this rather apparent take on Social Media, it seemed a bit ironic to me that I ended up using one of the Social Media tools to talk about its ever growing reach and penetration.
But then, when I think about it, what is really worth contemplating and what should definitely call for our attention is – Are we justifying the time we spend online? Are we truly ‘Socially Visible?’ – Your comments?