You want more status, not status updates.
Social media is a great way to maintain business contacts, track down old high school friends, and chat on-line with people who have similar interests and concerns. But at the risk of sounding old school, what about the “real” social network? The one where you actually meet someone face to face, look them in the eyes and shake their hand? For all of their boundless possibilities, there is something missing in Facebook, Twitter & Co. that you can only get through a personal meeting.
Your best marketing tool is always yourself.
When you’re looking for a job, a paper résumé is a classic tool that allows you to tailor your experience to bring out your strongest points. It can also be handed out, in person during a job fair, providing you with valuable face time with a potential employer. Conversely, an electronic résumé submitted to a large employer database can be broken down by the system and not necessarily send the message you want. The loss of control over your content can be even more pronounced when applying via massive on-line job search engines, where your information could be viewed by your current employer or others you might not want. With paper, you are credible and in control.
The judicious use of a professionally printed business card is another traditional but effective method of ensuring you or your organization stays top-of-mind with prospective employers and customers. Despite the advent of new technologies, like “bumping” iPhones to swap contact information or creating virtual business cards, the printed business card remains a staple of modern-day professional exchange. According to Richard Moross, CEO of Moo.com, there is a reason for this. “Some of the emerging virtual business card ideas are great, but they universally lack one critical ingredient: personality. A virtual business card is just data.”1 The same could be said for simply bumping data from one device to another.
Printed business cards can be expressed in simple black print on white or be elaborate mini works of art. And that’s part of their beauty. Like the paper résumé, it can be tailored both to your target audience and highlight your unique qualities and qualifications. In fact, some recruiting experts are suggesting candidates have two different cards, one designed to sell your skill set and the other containing your company and contact information.2 This versatility of the business card is actually one of its best features. Not only is it easily contained in a wallet or holder for ease of access, but it can also be pinned on bulletin boards, left in a stand at strategic commercial locations, and inserted into envelopes or packages mailed to existing and potential customers.
Printed presentations also continue to represent a valuable “leave behind.” Printed in color, presented in an elegant folder or bound, they can serve as a powerful visual reminder of a meeting – even when the original presentation was made from your laptop. They can be easily discussed and annotated during discussions, and referred to long after you have shaken hands and said “thank you for your attention.”
Ivan Misner, a networking expert at Entreprepreneur.com, says "the business card is an integral part of any good marketing plan. For it's size and cost, it's probably the most powerful part".3 Printed résumés and presentations also provide major “bang for the buck.” But, best of all, you can hand them all to a real live person during a real live conversation. No matter what business you are in or type of job you are looking for, there is just no substitute for a face-to-face meeting when it comes to building relationships and entrenching yourself and your business in the hearts and minds of others.
1 The death of the business card? Carline Waxler, Fortune.cnn.com.
2 Is the business card dead? Kim Thompson, 2009.
3 Smart Ways to Use Your Business Card, Ivan Misner, Entrepreneur.com.