For most of us, doing business requires social proof. It’s fact of life. And it’s something you have to do over time. The only way to get there is by doing it over a period of time. So it’s a tough challenge for people who haven’t started.
What’s social proof? Daniel Lay describes it in Social Proof Is the New Currency on the Social Media Today blog:
Whether you like Mark Zuckerberg’s mug or not, the social web is here to stay, and businesses that can integrate social proof into their marketing efforts seamlessly will join this new “socially rich” class. We mean richness in fans and followers, not number of zeroes in your bank account. Social proof is the new currency of credibility.
And that’s not just businesses. That’s also you and me. You aren’t credible for marketing purposes of any kind without a web footprint. That’s what turns up when somebody searches your name on the web. It’s a combination of websites, articles, and your profile on at least one or more of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+. Employers will look. Prospective clients and partners will look. A normal response to an interesting business-related email from a stranger is to look for the footprint.
Of course there are exceptions, like some very local businesses, some highly skilled professionals, lots of middle managers, finance professionals, and so forth. Still, the general rule applies.
And then there’s the time problem. Your social proof, or lack of it, is related to how long you’ve been there. Even a few months is way better than just having started yesterday.
Conclusion: an old African proverb says the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today. That same logic applies: the best time to start your online presence is 10 years ago. The second best is today.