I’m a big fan of analogies and framing a message by using stories and anecdotes. This probably stems from a tendency to become rather bored with my own musings and constitutes an attempt to keep myself interested as much as anyone else, but I also believe that it keeps my message from slipping into the dry and rather boring space.
This general strategy can and should also be adopted by social media professionals who are selling their skills and experience to potential employers or clients. Let’s face it, CVs and the like can be rather dry and boring so anything that makes them less so is a good thing. Of course, we don’t want to move too far away from acceptable conventions so using tried and tested methodologies from the world of marketing isn’t a bad place to start.
My favourite marketing technique that can be used in social media CVs is a case study. Any Marketeer will tell you that they are incredibly powerful tools for walking a potential client through a piece of work to convince them of the company’s abilities and track record. We see them on websites, in brochures and on LinkedIn, and written in the right way, they have huge impact. They work because the message can be framed with more context.
As an example (another one of my an anecdotes / analogies), I have a young son who in all fairness is very well behaved and is as honest as they come, but if he ever did transgress into telling the odd porky-pie then I have two choices; yell at him, tell him he shouldn’t lie and send him to his room without access to any electronic device for an hour or so…..or sit him down and read him the good old Aesop’s Fable, The boy Who Cried Wolf. Now I’m sure that being banished from his X-box for an hour would certainly pinch, but framing my message about the pitfalls of lying through a story is so much more powerful (and perhaps the concern of being eaten by a wolf).
The same applies to selling yourself; you could tell a potential employer how wonderful you are but writing a case study that frames and evidences your abilities and track record is always going to be more powerful. I would recommend using the STAR framework for writing your case studies (Situation, Task, Actions, Result). Keep them to six lines and have three of them on page one of your CV. I would also suggest having a whole portfolio of them and each time you apply for a role, copy and paste the best and most relevant three onto page one.
Here’s an example from my CV (not social media related I’m afraid):
ERAC acquired an unprofitable competitor in the South of England that required transformation. Appointed as Operations Manager to re-brand the business, embed the ERAC business model and drive profitability. Performed top-to-bottom review of business; exited underperforming staff; recruited new team; trained new and existing staff; oversaw office refurbishment; introduced radical changes to commercial model (7-day p/w operation); and led extensive business development activity. Succeeded in re-branding the business and achieving profitability within 6 months.
Whatever your professional background and key achievements, this methodology can be applied to frame and showcase impressive and relevant pieces of work that you have delivered. By doing so, you are providing real-life evidence of your talents and abilities that transform your CV from a list of task-based bullet points into an evidence-based business case.