You Are Your Social Network

Your Social Network Is Now You

I was talking to a guy the other who said that he wasn’t on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter. In fact, he had no social network accounts at all, preferring to talk to people face-to-face, or on the phone. He used email to set up these calls, but he never connected with anyone on any social network.

Hope he changes his mind – because if you ask me – social networks have now, IMHO, become more real than the real world. Your internet social profile – how you appear and what you do – on every social network, has now become the virtual you.

In the past, in order to get to know an individual, you needed to meet with them, communicate with them, and generally be physically around them, in order to determine what kind of person they were, and if you wanted to associate with them. The same goes for companies – when you wanted to see if a baker was any good, you had to actually go to the bakery and purchase or order something from them yourself and try then out, before you determined whether they were any good and you could go back there.

It’s not like that anymore. People make decisions on businesses (and products, come to think of it) purely based upon crowd reviews of the business. They never even need to experience the business to determine if it sucks or not, all they need to do is to read its reviews on Yelp, Google, Glassdoor, etc.

And now, people are the same. We make snap judgments on people based on their social network profiles, and the people that they are connected to. We judge them based on the blog posts that they make, and one-off tweets that they fire out with maybe too little a thought. We only know people through their online façade.

It’s a bit like the Challenger Sale, a book which talks about how enterprise sales have been upended by the internet. That outbound sales are futile, and the only people who are likely to buy from you are people who have already decided to work with you in order to solve their problem. That they are already 70% of the way convinced that they want to work with you before they even contact you. Don’t even think about contacting them unless you are a brand name. It’s just noise to them. The customer is in full control. The best you can do is seed the internet with content showing off how awesome you are and hope that someone comes across your work and it touches them enough to want to get in touch with you.

How does this work for people? Let’s say that you are looking for a job. You probably don’t even need to bother posting your resume anywhere. Instead, ensure that your profile is up to date on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, then post articles, updates and tweets on all of those services, showing off your expertise. Don’t make a misstep though and post something inappropriate – one inappropriate post can destroy your whole online face. Then just wait. Keep posting and eventually, you will get a call. Just like in the Challenger Sale – you are laying out the bait and letting the company come to you.

So stop applying for jobs, or making those outbound calls. Seed the internet with enough good stuff, and your customers will come to you.