Not Only Surviving The Downturn, But Laying The Foundations To Thrive
Note: This was my first blog post on new now defunct Oilpro.com back in January of 2016. I'd only just joined the oil and gas industry in the spring/summer of 2015, right beginning of the crash. At the time, I was very positive and upbeat about my prospects of riding the wave back up as the industry recovered.
The past couple of years have been far harder than I could have imagined, but I'm still here. The following post managed to get 89 'likes' and 38 'comments' which was quite rewarding.
Anyway, here it is, republished for posterity in the latest oil and gas community!
As many of you have already experienced, when you find a cool place online and start to build a profile it is satisfying to get your first follower, first connection and so on.
As we work our way down the tick list towards that coveted ‘PRO’ validation there will invariably be a couple of tasks that are more difficult than the rest. This was the case for me anyway.
The ‘post a blog’ posed a conundrum for me. Being new to the Oil Industry (6 months) there isn’t much that I could share that would enlighten any old hands of the trade. Whilst I do have a sense of humor, a witty post might be too much of a challenge as I settle in to the group mentality.
Then I thought, there is something that I can share, that could actually help people and/or their businesses. My background is in Sales and Marketing, and for the last few years this has been done online.
Having joined the Oil Industry in the latter half of the worst downturn in decades, I realize that almost everyone reading this might have the same problem. This is a problem that I might be able to offer a few ideas to assist.
The path might seem unclear at the moment, but you have choices
Most reading this will be currently experiencing job insecurity and/or a downturn in business profits. The future path might not be clear, but there are choices.
The timing of this post might be good...
During busy and more profitable times, it might not be worth me writing this. Most of us tend to look for solutions when we have a problem. There are only 24 hours in a day and we certainly don’t need to change things that are working perfectly fine.
But now, many in the Oil Industry will be faced with a far higher level of competition for the services that they or their company provide. Not only has the supply/demand equation for oil found itself imbalanced, the economics of individuals and companies are completely out of whack.
So, there will be people who have decided to retire earlier than planned, those who have decided to wind down or sell their company.
For everyone else, the only option is to get busy making the very best of a bad situation. The idea is to put yourself in front of your competition who might be less pro-active in finding solutions.
When deciding to join the oil business, with a background of online marketing, I took a look at the state of play in relation to different companies' online presence. What I found was surprising...
In comparison to many other industries that I was familiar with, many or even most companies had a weak web footprint. There are exceptions of course (Oilpro, Oilandgasjobsearch, and the major oil companies). But I was seeing many 10+ year old companies with only a ‘first generation’ website. Websites that were created years ago and left, probably attracting little to no visitors.
I guess that this is a reflection of the good times experienced in the last few years, up until the current problems. It might also be related to the ages of decision makers, many being baby boomers, doing too well and being too busy to worry about the latest developments on the internet.
The same applies to individuals. Some people don’t have the time, or don’t enjoy Facebook, Twitter and so on. LinkedIn has lost favor in the Oil and Gas community, this is evident by the inactivity in the group boards over there.
So, for those who have some extra time available now, or for those who expect this to be the case soon, it makes sense to take a look at your online presence. The goal ought to be to create an ‘online omnipresence’ where people, employers and customers are finding you all over the place!
Because of the low bar set by many individuals and companies online efforts, an improvement in your online visibility will have far more impact than in more competitive niches.
During tough times, expensive advertising campaigns appear painful to a company. What if the money goes to waste because your customers are fearful? If you are an individual, getting new training or certification is also a big financial risk that might not pay off.
It might be far better to get seen on the radar of more customers or employers online.
Here are a few actionable steps that can get the momentum going:
Make sure that all of your social media profiles are in existence and updated to reflect current information. This is especially the case in relation to recent achievements or impressive news.
Get active on the most important ones. Even 30 minutes and day on Oilpro and LinkedIn should help. If you don’t have 30 minutes a day, 30 minutes every few days will be better than the majority of your competition.
Comment whenever and wherever you think that you can help, clarify or encourage. Did you ever notice the numbers at the top right hand corner of the pages here on Oilpro? The views and likes? It is common to see 1000+ ‘views’ to every ‘like'. Then there is a further ratio of ‘likes’ to ‘comments’. If you read an article that you find interesting, and have something to say about, leave a comment. Otherwise you have wasted an opportunity to bond with your peers. Some of these peers might be working at your next company, or be your next client. By developing a relationship with them they will feel as if they already know you when your CV/resume/work contract drops on their desk.
If you have a website, it is time to take a look at its effectiveness. This can be as little as adding some articles and other content that will offer value to your target audience. At the other end of the scale you can completely rebuild the site and make it modern. This can include an attractive theme, social sharing buttons, an email collecting feature and so on. Search Engine Optimization comes in different packages at different price points. Just like a tired hotel room, or a dirty restaurant, an out of date first generation website can actively discourage business!
Think of a major way that you can help the industry at large. I bet that there are areas that you are an expert, by any definition of the word. I also expect that you could write a book, some good practice guidelines, or a standard operating document that can help people for years to come. This valuable knowledge can be added to your website, or submitted to a company who might appreciate and either pay for it, or endorse you for it.
These tasks can of course be outsourced, or given to staff or assistants that have some extra time on their hands. It is better for you to do most of it yourself though.
These tasks will keep you busy, alert and positive. They wont cost a lot of money, just time. This is time well spent as content produced on the internet will help you for years to come. Your upgraded website or training manual will set you or your company apart from those who did nothing during these times.
They will help you at a time when you are too busy to even contemplate doing these things. Now is a perfect time.
OH! I said that there were 2 things that I am struggling with...
The first blog post is now done. The other problem is connecting with people as a newcomer to the industry. If you like this article or have questions, please comment.