Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 09 - Get connected

Having somehow managed to survive Paul Keating’s “recession we had to have” back at the start of the 90’s, I now find myself experiencing feelings of déjà vu.

Advertising agencies are laying off staff. Marketers are trimming budgets. And everyone seems to know someone who is either going freelance or consulting.

What makes this recession so different from the last, is that I am experiencing it in a completely different way.

Back in the 90’s all the bad news stories came to me via rumour or hallway whispers. “Did you here about such and such?” “Apparently 10 people got let go from!” You know the sort of thing.

Today I get the awful stories of so called headcount reductions, staff culls and enforced exits within minutes of them happening via Twitter, Facebook and of course good old email.

The social media channels have completely transformed the way we communicate, turning six degrees of separation into three at most.

So it stands to reason that if news of job and account losses is being spread through the industry via social media, then so too is news of business wins and employment opportunities.

Which is why, if you work in advertising, marketing or any of the communications fields, you should be taking social media very seriously.

This last week I’ve had two people looking to hire someone ask me via Twitter about potential candidates. I was also contacted through my Facebook by someone looking for a designer to help out on a project.

That’s three jobs up for grabs, none of which were advertised, in the space of a week. Yet we’re currently in a period where opportunities are pretty thin on the ground.

Now I’m not saying that things are not as bleak as the media is making them out to be, because they most certainly are. I just think that being digitally connected to peers and associates in industry is essential in the current economic climate.

So whether you feel secure in your job, you’re looking to move, or you’ve found yourself a victim of the recession, you need to get your social media connections up and running.

First up is LinkedIn.

For those of you not familiar with it, LinkedIn is a social media site that is anything but social. You won’t see people posting drunken party pics or fun snapshots of their kids on here.

LinkedIn is professional networking done digitally. Setting up an account is simple and free. It could well be the best money you never spend!

Once you have an account, go through your rolodex and business card collection and enter some names in the LinkedIn search. Before you know it you’ll be “linked in” to a network of useful industry contacts.

Where it gets really interesting, and useful, is that you can also see who your connections are connected to. Which means that people can introduce you, and vice versa, to other people and opportunities.

It’s networking without the awkward conversation and “Hi my name is” stickers.

Facebook is also great for digital networking, although it should be used with care. I’m not going to bang on about embarrassing photos, but suffice to say it may not be wise to share your binge drinking weekend with people who are looking for stable employees.

As I mentioned earlier, I have heard about several opportunities through Twitter. So too could you. In fact if you were on Twitter, and connected to me, I could have told you about them.

Last but not least, why not think about a blog?

I don’t mean a “took the dog for a walk” online diary, I mean a simple site where you share your thoughts and opinions on industry topics.

A blog is not for everyone, but done well it can help boost your profile in industry. They are great as an online CV. You can post details of yourself, samples of your work. And they give you a web presence of your own.

So as the recession rolls on, rather than just turning up each day and staying out of the way of the HR Director, why not get working on your social media profile and connections. You never know when they’re going to come in handy.







Tim Burrowes - Mumbrella said...

I agree with every word, Stan.

Agencies are finding it a lot harder to conceal what they're up to from the market, so there may be a little less spin around this time.

And in terms of having a blog - it's a great way of educating the industry about what you stand for, which can be pretty important if you suddenly find yourself needing a job.


Tim - Mumbrella

neilperkin said...

Nice post. And thanks for the props Stan