Shareology is proud to feature guest blogger Agency Babylon today; the subject? Are you maximizing your use of LinkedIn and Twitter as you meet with folks? Shareology smiled knowingly at a recent meeting when her coffee mate pulled out a copy of her LinkedIn profile. Smart, she thought!
Let’s learn more from Agency Babylon:
By Neal Kielar, Agency Babylon
“It goes without saying.”
I’ve eaten those words before. Now I’m about to do it again as I find instance after instance of otherwise bright people who don’t take the time to learn who they’re talking to and with whom they’re about to do business.
The fact is, just about all of your prospective customers and clients, partners and competitors, colleagues and other contacts have digital profiles these days. They are practically hiding in plain sight – but hiding only to the extent that you don’t use free and ubiquitous online tools to seek them out and learn more about them.
What mysterious tools are these? Ever hear of Bing! or Google? How about LinkedIn or Naymz or Plaxo? Twitter? Facebook anyone? While these are just the tip of the iceberg, they constitute a sound starting point for researching people with whom you do, will or want to have business relationships.
- Business prospecting. In addition to researching the company itself (you do that, don’t you?), you can use LinkedIn to see the profiles of people with decision-making authority to whom you’ll likely be pitching. Don’t forget to seek them out on Twitter, as well. Knowing who they are, where they’ve been, what and how they think, and what style they seem to project will help you better prepare. You might even have one or more connections in common that can warm up your entrée to them.
- Account management. Have a new client contact? You’re going to want to get off on the right foot. So you should know something about the new client team member, like how long they’ve been with the company, what their role(s) have been over time, or if new to the company where they came from. You want to know their areas and level of expertise so you can interact with them appropriately, e.g., patient and extra helpful if they’re a newbie and with a touch of extra deference (or caution) if they are senior. LinkedIn, Twitter and online searches are all in order here, ideally before the new relationship launches. One of your jobs is to build rapport, and knowing how to connect with your clients is key.
- Account team member. So you’re a designer or writer or programmer, definitely on the account team but not the lead interface. Are you excused? No, because there are people on the client team with whom you’re likely to collaborate. It would help a designer to know the background of the design lead on the client side, and writers or strategists or other roles just the same. Because you understand your client counterparts better, there’s a fair chance of working more smoothly with them.
- Agency colleague. So the new gal or guy is coming on board. And of course your boss or HR have sent out a detailed backgrounder on this interloper. Right. At least they tell you the person is about to join the team (although I worked at one place where, weirdly, they failed to do even that sometimes). When you find out who’s joining your cozy corner, get on the interwebs and learn more about them. You can use that information to fashion a warm welcome or maybe gird yourself for a would-be nemesis – all depending on the culture of your shop and your own attitude, but that’s up to you.
Postscript: If everything was obvious to everyone, no one would need the services of smart agencies and consultants or even much staff. Agency Babylon is always willing to “state the obvious” in its mission to help all of us shine just a little brighter.
Kay Roseland @KayLoire