Social media does indeed provide platforms to connect with basically anyone. We’ve all heard the success stories about people being socially proactive and having their voices heard by those they would have never have imagined reaching. Why not you?
With more C-Suite executives than ever joining social media and expanding their existing footprint, and a trend toward more direct engagement from industry leaders and brands, now is the right time to follow and reach out to your “dream boss.” Think of all the politicians and celebrities that respond to fans, consumer brands that alter products based on Twitter feedback, the news sources that break live stories with pedestrian-shot socially-sourced photos, etc. A simple tweet or direct message can be the perfect way to connect with someone who would otherwise be out of reach.
However, for some reason, I still haven’t been able to take my own advice and reach out to the one person I admire most (but do not personally know). Why is it so hard to actually engage when we all keep hearing about is how fruitful the practice could be? This got me thinking, what is really holding me back from reaching out?
Is it my social presence?
According to a 2014 social recruiting survey, 93% of recruiters review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision – with 55% of recruiters reconsidering a candidate qualifications based on what they find online. Recruiters reported that profanity, grammar imperfections, illegal drug references and sexual posts have the most negative impact on a candidate’s application.
After reading the survey, I immediately double-checked my own social presences for any of those qualities. Thinking like a recruiter affected the way I looked at my own profile. While I may not have actively posted about any of the topics listed above, I did find a few things in my profile that may not pass the recruiter lens. Fortunately they are fixed now.
Is it my lack of followers?
With a mere 110 Twitter followers (and counting!), I was concerned by the common myth that if you are not an “influencer” then your voice will not be heard. It’s overwhelming to realize that on average, there are 500 million tweets published per day – that’s around 6,000 tweets per second! Honestly, how will mine stand out?
It is time to throw that old myth out.
As part of my summer internship this year, I had the opportunity to learn more about and help manage the company’s social properties, and what I realized is that although having a large following is great, it’s not all that matters. Content, timing and approach all play a role. I also experienced firsthand that if you @mention an individual (or a company or brand) in a tweet, eventually they will read it. Everyone gets notifications, everyone wants to see what people are saying (both the good and bad), and everyone contemplates responding. The key is getting them to take the leap and write back.
What I have learned – even from simply writing this blog post – is that there is no harm in putting yourself out there and sending a message. Your idols, heroes and dream bosses are right there, so just do it and let me know what happens. I will be doing it too.