Differentiating Yourself (Professionally) Using Social Media

Differentiating Yourself (Professionally) Using Social Media

Perhaps I’m biased. Obviously, being a Chartered Accountant turned recruiter who recruits other professional accountants makes me an atypical CA. To succeed, I have to stay connected. It’s that simple. What surprises me is how little, on average, other professionals use social media to build their business.

I had a conversation the other day with a fellow CA who does contract CFO and controller work. He has fully embraced LinkedIn and Twitter as a way to stay connected, be visible, and be aware of trends in the market. He “gets” it. Now, no one would go so far as to call this man a social media guru. But he doesn’t have to be. It is more than enough to be just a little bit more visible… that is the big differentiator since so many of our bosses, colleagues, and even juniors are almost invisible on LinkedIn and Twitter.

I recently did a LinkedIn and Google search on 2003 UFE writers (the year I passed), partly for business development purposes and partly to reconnect. Did you know that I couldn’t find almost 1/3 of those people on Google or LinkedIn? 1/3!!! And those who I could find often had very bare bones profiles. Before 2010, this might have been acceptable.  But it’s 2014, folks; get with the times.

Therefore, my challenge to you is this. You don’t have to write interesting blog posts every day or send out clever tweets 2 or 3 times a day, but if you even send a weekly LinkedIn update or tweet every 2nd or 3rd day, then you are doing more than 80% of your peers. Become known as someone who is a subject matter expert, someone your clients and peers turn to for advice and counsel. But, do it in a proactive fashion. When you speak at a trade show, or give a presentation to the provincial institute, or attend a networking function, share the content and tell people you are going. I was recently at an accounting career fair and four people – whom I had never met before – came up to me and introduced themselves because they follow me on twitter and like my content.

Perhaps social media seems a little scary and, yes, it can become a tad addictive and could become a rabbit hole and a huge time suck. But, when so few of your competitors and peers are using it regularly, it could become a differentiator; it could make you just a little more visible and “active” than them.

Given how competitive our market is, every little edge counts. Social Media could be the edge you are looking for to build new client relationships.

Can you afford not to?


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