I’VE KNOWN THIS FOREVER. YOU DON’T?
When you’ve been in a business for a while, there are things you tend to take for granted. I’ve been in the graphic arts for so long, sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that the whole world has not yet caught on to the idea that ink and computer screens can’t match, or that graphics from a web page won’t print well on a commercial press. I own these concepts. They’re like breathing to me. Not so to new generations of digital designers and consumers.
I live a great deal of my professional life online. I research. I take classes and attend seminars. I read. I write. I share what I’ve learned, mostly through electronic media (although I have taught quite a bit as an adjunct professor and instructor in physical classrooms). It’s so much a part of my daily thought process and routine, I sometimes forget that there’s a whole in-real-life world right outside my door that doesn’t travel those pathways. And those are the people who need me most.
A couple of years ago, the husband of a friend called me. He needed to step into the new millennium with a web site for his business; not a NEW web site, a FIRST-ever web site for a ten-plus-year-old business.
In the last year, a new client found me in the phone book. She does marketing for Catholic organizations who all want and need social media. She is completely unfamiliar with these tools, and we are partnering up to provide much-needed services to her niche.
And I recently got a call from another husband of another colleague who looked at my web site and said “you appear to be the answer to all of my questions.”
I should also mention that the articles about me that ran in the print version of The Record brought me some new contacts as well. Print media. Referrals. Who’d’ve thunk it?
PIN THE TWEET ON THE FACEBOOK
My first foray into “social media” was MySpace. I signed up many years ago and rarely used it. Sometimes musician friends would post their clips and I’d listen. That was about it.
Then, my nieces, who were in college at the same time I was (the twins were undergrads at Bloomsburg College while I pursued my Masters at NYU) got into Facebook. They suggested I sign up, and were soon delighted (and occasionally surprised/annoyed) at how well I was able to keep track of their well-documented social lives. I use Facebook for personal interests. There is absolutely no reason for my company to have a Facebook page, although I do have pages for Ringwood TV, my rock band, and other personal causes.
Around 2006, a techie friend told me about a new tool called “Twitter.” He told me it was going to be huge, that it would enable friends to “follow” each other around. It took me about 5 years, a dozen seminars, countless articles and a “For Dummies” book on the subject to wrap my head around the value of the 140 character message. I have 3 accounts right now. I tweet on an as-needed basis like when I post a new blog article, have an issue to support or an event to promote.
Last year, my youngest niece mentioned Pinterest to her sisters and me, and I signed up. I’m still pondering its business applications. If American Airlines can use it for marketing, why can’t I?
And of course, I’m on LinkedIn. If you’re in business, have a job or need a job, you should be there. I have worked with one particular client, whose focus is sales, to get him using it to mine for leads. No one picks up the phone when he calls them or answers emails anymore, but darned if they don’t welcome him to groups, answer his comments and provide referrals.
Thank goodness for phone books and word of mouth, because the folks who need me most would never find me if I relied solely upon the web-based tools I now take for granted. But because I do use them, I can introduce my analog-world-bound friends to a whole new realm of digital capabilities, demonstrating a few of the things I’m able to do with them. I have to remember that, just because I’VE been doing it for years, it doesn’t mean everyone else has. But now they’re finally paying attention.