Is Instagram the New Business Card?
Updated: Oct 7, 2018
I have a terrible habit of leaving my business cards behind! Sadly, I usually don't have time to go back home before an evening event or meeting to grab them so I've had to come up with some pretty creative ways to make up for not having business cards. In desperate times I've written my personal contact information on a corporate business card. I have also asked for a contact's email address and emailed my contact information on the spot using my phone. The creative ways to stay in touch are endless but over the last couple of weeks I've noticed a trend.
Last week when I left the house without business cards every day of the week *sigh* I almost forgot that I needed them. (Wait, don't I always forget that I need them? Don't judge.) I know you're thinking, how Sway? Well, I found myself exchanging Instagram handles with a large majority of the people I met! Interesting right? The events were centered around other young professionals and entrepreneurs so the crowd was very savvy with social media but then I discovered that exchanging social media accounts had a few benefits that a business card could not offer.
What's great about exchanging Instagram handles at events is the opportunity to visually learn about someone's business or brand in that very moment. With business cards you typically take them home and view their website to get a clear picture of what they are about after meeting for the first time. By viewing their page during the meeting it opens up the conversation. You may notice similarities in what the both of you post or ask questions about a promotion they have on Instagram. I find I'm able to find out so much more about the person when we follow each other on social media. This could spark ideas on possible collaborations or partnerships.
Speaking for myself and some others, it's much easier to contact me through social media. I probably check my Instagram double the amount of times I check my email. Also, for me I feel there is the need to immediately respond to social media. The notification will be lost if I don't answer it right away. An email I'll sit in my inbox for when I'm ready for it. I know, I owe lots of people emails and I'm a work in progress! Charge my head and not my heart! With Instagram you're going to grab my attention and have it instantly. I've made many connections and booked gigs on social media. Just like a business card, Instagram served its purpose by allowing others to get in touch with me for what they needed. For some this may be taboo so make sure to always follow up with an email or call to finalize details if you reach out to make a business deal through social media. You can't pass dollar bills and contracts through a DM!
Instagram also serves as a reminder to follow up. Set up notifications for your new contacts so you can not only stay aware of what their up to but also remind yourself when it's time to connect with them. When you send your email or message use their past posts to say congratulations on an award they've received or happy birthday if they've posted about it.
Regardless of the great benefits sharing Instagram or social media handles has business cards are still a very important business tool that should not go unused. It is embarrassing and unprofessional to be caught without them so do not be like me by going a week without stocking your wallet, purse or bag with your business cards. If your employer does not make business cards for your position feel free to purchase your own online for personal use. There are plenty of websites like Vista Print and Moo to create business cards for an affordable price.
So what do you think? Is Instagram the new business card for millennials?! Let me know what your thoughts and let's connect over on Instagram. Why not? Don't forget to turn on the notifications too. Looking forward to your thoughts and connecting!
See you at the top,
The Young Professionalist