It’s not what you know, it’s who you know

As a college student and a graduate looking for work, I was constantly reminded of the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Professors, advisors and even my parents stressed the importance of making face-to-face connections in order to generate opportunities. Social media is taking the old adage and amplifying it to a point where it is no longer helpful for jobseekers to connect with employers online, or companies to connect with customers online, it’s absolutely essential.

From the standpoint of a company, the more you know about your customers, competitors, employees and key influencers in your industry, the more successful you will be.

Scott Elser suggests monitoring where your competitors are utilizing their resources to determine your social media strategy. Although I see the value of keeping tabs on your competitors, I think it’s more complex than Elser states it. Stephanie Chandler says that social media is a great way to capitalize on your competitors because most companies aren’t doing an adequate job utilizing social media. If your competitors aren’t using social media to its full potential, than why should you use them as a guideline for what your social media strategy should be?

While creating my blog about wedding planning, I looked at successful wedding blogs to see how they were reaching their audiences. Scoping out my competitors did inspire me to try different things, but it wasn’t until I was experimenting with my own blog, that I discovered what did and didn’t work.

Many authors stress that the best way for a company to connect with an audience is to be human, whether it’s through your employees’ posts or great storytelling. A prime example of how effective storytelling can benefit a company can be seen in one of the most popular Super Bowl ads this year.

Clydesdales don’t really relate to beer, but this commercial humanized Budweiser’s brand. The same theory holds true with social media. Successful companies are able to connect with their audience by using great messages that people want to retweet, post about on Facebook or blog about.

From the standpoint of a jobseeker, the more you utilize social media to build your personal brand and connect with companies and industry leaders, the more relevant and appealing you will be.

While in college, my classmates and I were constantly warned of how detrimental having social media accounts could be and we were instructed to delete our accounts. It’s true that HR departments are searching for your accounts and using social media to eliminate candidates, but now, it’s more detrimental not to a social media presence. If you’re not using social media to promote your brand and make connections, you’re not relevant.

It’s essential for companies to come off as human, but can the same be said about jobseekers? Is it important to delete all traces of your personal life from social media to appear professional, or do companies view your personal life as an asset, as long as what you express is in good taste?

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11 thoughts on “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know

  1. I have to start off by saying how much I love that commercial! It brings a tear to my eye every time! That is a prime example of making a human connection. Good choice.

    I think it is also essential for job-seekers to come off as human. Facebook and other forms of social media can act as a platform to put a story behind the resume. The key to maintaining any social media is to make sure it is expressed in good taste, as you state it. You can still portray your life and voice without losing your identity. Nobody should post anything without having some element of a filter if you are even remotely interested in participating in a professional setting. If that’s not you, well, the world will always need ditch diggers, as my husband says.

    • The commercial is one of my favorites as well! When it comes to posting content while still maintaining professionalism, if you have to question whether or not you should post something, you probably shouldn’t.

  2. Lauren!

    Oh my gosh! I’m crying in my office. I knew when I clicked on it I would, because I love that commercial! One thing that Budweiser did right is that it told a story. There was a beginning, a middle, and an end with a resolution. The other thing that they did right was utilize an important symbol of Budwiser in the clydesdales. Which does two things for them, draw more people to Bud and to the clydesdales when they are in town. Seriously, wouldn’t you go see them? I know I would.

    I find it interesting too that we both posed the same questions and had similar experiences in our blogs. Look at my response to you on my blog. 🙂

    • Hey Helena!

      Great minds think alike! The commercial does have a complete message which helped it cut through all of the clutter of advertisements that try to immediately catch your attention. Sometimes it’s the commercials that start off more subtly that make the audience want to pay attention. Other advertisers should definitely take a cue from Budweiser, because I much prefer this to the commercials that scream at me and make no personal connection!

  3. Pingback: Pubicly complaining about your job and your colleagues | Madeline Scribes

  4. Love your blog post and the Budweiser commercial. It is one of my favorites. As a job seeker myself, I have also learned to keep your social media accounts professional instead of personal. Especially if you are trying to get a job in the digital marketing industry where social media is constantly used. Some jobs I have applied for have asked me to provide the URL Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

    • Thanks Victoria! I’ve never had a company ask me for my URLs, but I’m guessing that since I’ll be looking for jobs in the social media field, that may be a more frequent experience. I definitely need to prepare myself for it by updating all of my profiles!

  5. I’m obsessed with Super Bowl commercials and that is one of my all time favorites because it was a perfect little one minute story that I somehow connected to even though I’m not particularly a fan of beer and have no strong opinion about clydesdales except that they are beautiful animals. I don’t think one should delete or refrain from posting all aspects of their lives on social media because it allows others to get a complete picture of who you are as a person, but I would agree that you should use good taste and better judgement when posting because social media sites are a reflection of who you are and how you want to be perceived. In regards to advertising in general it is interesting to see the role social media is playing. I loved how in the 2013 Super Bowl nearly every commercial feature a hash tag because it was fun to tweet my opinions and see what others were saying and I think it was a great tool for companies because they got instantaneous feedback.

    • I agree, hash tags are a great way to get consumers engaged and get your brand trending, especially during a game that a lot of non-football fans are watching solely for the commercials.

  6. Lauren, I do think it is also essential for jobseekers to come off as human. Who wants to work with a bunch of robots or people who are not comfortable in their own skin or being themselves? I think jobseekers can be human and professional simultaneously. At the end of the day, I do believe Higher Management want to hire people who are not “putting on a show” or “pretending to be somebody they believe that company wants them to be” because at the end of the day, your true personality/colors will show and then what?

    I am not sure on how I feel about deleting all traces of your personal life from social media to appear professional. I can say that I have deleted photo albums that included things that were not “professional” from my personal accounts. Considering how there is virtually no privacy in today’s online world, I am extremely aware and conscious of the things that I allow the world to see. And by saying that, I’m not ashamed of who am I or what I do now, but I am not the same Tammy I was Freshman or Sophomore year of college and so I do think it is sometimes necessary and important to delete some traces of your personal life from social media in order to appear professional.

    • I completely agree. Since I started the program at UF, I changed my Facebook information from private to public. I didn’t want to look like I had no social influence. I deleted several pictures and albums that didn’t exactly portray the image that I want to give to future employers and connections. I’m definitely not the same person I was at 19 so there’s no reason to even have those pictures up!

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