I had an interesting conversation the other day. After handing my business card to this person the remark was made…
“OH, I see you are a golfer. Everyone I know who plays golf is a slacker. Are you a slacker?”
I get these comments from time to time from people who associates a group of people’s negative impression to others who associate with them. This comment is an extreme example of how some people will place a negative impression of someone who is associates with others that have caused them some stress in business. However, there can be a positive side to this association if the person was a golfer and loved the game.
It is partly human nature to jump to conclusion on a person’s character. Today there is reason to be this way. For the past three years people,especially those who are in successful businesses, have become very leery of others they do not know very well true purpose in life and business. Checking to see who someone associates gives them a better feel of their trustworthiness. This is now standard procedure.
It is not unusual in today’s business environment for someone to check out a new business acquaintances to see who they associate with before associating with them. The economic meltdown of the business world after 2008 brought in the Trust Being Earned Before Assumed era of doing business. This can be good for most and an anchor around the necks of others who do not watch or care who they associate with, even on a remote basis.
The earning trust movement also includes a person’s social media efforts. Who they associate with online is now becoming a huge factor in a person’s decision on how much they are going to trust a person, personally or professionally. More and more people are taking the time to check out a person’s ‘online image’ before proceeding in building a business or personal relationship.
Twitter has been proven to be a very effective platform to market a person’s character. It is an outstanding way to display a person’s personality, build community and display what someone does professionally. Unfortunately, Twitter also has a growing negative side that is starting to cloud its positive aspects. This has to do with Twitter’s notorious ‘Follow and Be Followed’ mode of operation.
In a recent survey of the over 200 people who are online, 8 of 10 people asked how they determine who to Follow and let Follow them on Twitter said they look to see who the person is Following and Who is Following them before allowing them to be associated with them. This up by 70% since October 2008.
A few people explained…
“I now have to be very concerned with who I associate with online since I have lost a few clients who looked at my Twitter account to determine how serious I was about my business.”
“It is very hard to balance my personal and professional image online. If I am not online someone will think I am not part of the online community. If I am online too much the people who pay my bills will feel I am not taking my business serious. To balance the effort I only associate with others of liked mind online. It is hard work to do this, but has paid off a number of times recently.”
“Seems things are going back to the ‘How You Look and Act Is How You Will Be’ attitude of consumers and is a way of determining who they will do business. I had to change my way of marketing online to a more targeted list of people than the shotgun method I paid good money for someone to tell me I needed to use to marketing online. It took awhile to get things back to being productive, but is well worth it now.”
Many things have changed in business and many have not. The way we do business now has changed forcing businesses to be online for a number of positive reasons. Being more sociable and part of a social community online is now almost mandatory. What has not changed is the need to trust someone. Trustworthiness is still the decision factor many will use to determine who they do business with or not. Who someone associates with will make or break that decision process.
If you are serious about how you are seen professionally and personally you have to be serious with your associates. The times have changed, again. Be careful out there. Let me know how I can help.