A quick trawl through the activities of many on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and closer to home, our very own forums, regularly reveals a gulf where a strategy ought to be.
Any form of networking or connecting surely needs to have a clearly defined rationale: Why am I doing this? What do I hope to gain? And yes, ‘simply for connection and friendship’ is a perfectly valid strategy.
Unfortunately, because the world of online networking is so easy to enter, it is attractive to those with a tendency to dive in and blurt it all out.
When’s the last time someone gatecrashed a face-to-face networking event and had any success with a “Look at me!” “Look at me!” “I’m brilliant!” approach?
Online this kind of clumsy, ill-considered activity happens all the time. What’s worse, because the offender can’t see a mass of incredulous, horrified faces, he/she and other observers, assume it’s the way to go.
And so the behaviour proliferates and the medium’s effectiveness is diluted.
I’m not interested in how good you are, I want to know how you can help me.
Clearly such activity does not and will never work. The side effect is that these naïve newbies soon run out of steam and leave, never to return.
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“Yeah, tried that. It was useless.”
Frankly, I’ve been there, done that and if wasn’t for seeing how others connect via our forums, I’d probably remain inactive and ineffective.
On the other hand, those who use it wisely will find social media works a treat.
To paraphrase a conversation I had with one FS member:
“Once you do good work for someone in the forums, word spreads quickly. People tend to trust you more than if they found you on some random website. Clients coming via Google see me as a computer rather than a real person and are ten times more painful than those who find me on Flying Solo.”
Of course social media is about more than helping you promote business A more valuable outcome for many is how it can help you observe and learn from others.
Follow, connect and commune with the right people and you’ll pick up new skills, generate new ideas, create more opportunities and have more fun.
You’ll also work out why it’s well worth all the bother.
What say you? Expose yourself now and let us know what you think about using social media for business.