Where are you on your personal digital journey?

Chris Farrance

Chris Farrance

13 October 2013

Many business owners have been slow to recognise the beneficial impact digital technology and social media can have on performance. To dismiss the more familiar elements of social media – Facebook, Twitter, You Tube et al – as trivial and irrelevant to the serious world of business – is an enormous mistake.

Social media can be viewed as a sort of a ‘marmite’ test – love it or hate it. But, truth be told it’s not as binary as that. Like it or not social media – and its big brother ‘Digital Technology’ – are here to stay.

And, like the sea nibbling away at the cliffs on the South Coast – Sidmouth, Durdle Door or Torquay – Digital is nibbling away quietly but voraciously at your business.

I’ll come back to the wider business impact of digital technology in another blog. For the moment, let’s just look at why as a business owner, social media should be centre screen on your radar.

Social Stages

I’ve seen the journey expressed as four stages of development – with the stages applying to both your personal and business journeys:

  1. Unsocial
    Not elegant I know with its overtones of teenage rebellion! Most teenagers these days, though, are social but not in a way many of us would recognise! Interestingly, there isn’t such a big bias as you would imagine towards the younger generations in terms of use of social media. Bear in mind that the younger person sat opposite you is just multi-tasking!
  2. Social
    Increasingly these days, particularly for small and medium sized businesses, you are the brand. It’s often said that people buy people. So there is much to be gained by building your own social profile – anonymity is for wimps. Telling your personal story and being explicit about you interests and ambitions helps build empathy with customers and suppliers alike. It takes time but so does building your business brand. Start now!
  3. Thought Leader
    Never before has it been so legitimate to share a point of view and social media makes communicating that point of view much easier. Take a moment to think about who you might follow at a personal and business level. Would you want to promote a point of view of your own or just collate and re- distribute what others say? There’s room for both approaches and now really is the time! You can write it, film it and tell it in pictures using platforms like Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.
  4. Communities
    Communities of interest have mushroomed as social media has grown and there are now legions of persuaders and influencers in the social media space. The interesting and indeed challenging point about these communities is that they defy the traditional ways of categorising people – community members self-select. You can approach communities in a number of ways either as a contributor or setting up your own special interest group. LinkedIn provides a good platform for this.

Be Curious

So be curious, most of the common social media platforms can be accessed with little or no cost – so start ‘plugging and playing’ now!