A question that I get from time to time is, “how can I use social media to benefit my business?”
Sure Twitter, FaceBook, and LinkedIn (among others) are interesting, but are they beneficial? For business owners, entrepreneurs, sales people, and marketers is there really value in these tools?
Those who use social media extensively will argue they are certainly valuable. Those who do not use them will cite that they don’t have time for such silly activity.
Rather than jumping into the argument, let me take just a moment to put social media in perspective for you…
Do you find value in face-to-face networking? Maybe you attend Chamber of Commerce events or are involved in a chapter of BNI. Or maybe you’re a member of a group like a Lions Club or Rotary Club. If so networking is important to you at some level.
Picture how these things go. You arrive at the designated location. You enter and see a group of people. You try to meet those who are interesting. Perhaps some are good business targets. Perhaps others can introduce you to people you’d like to meet. Oops that one guy who can talk for hours just spotted you and he’s headed over! Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.
You’re stuck in a room and your potential is limited to those in the room. Everyone in the room has potential to interact with everyone else in the room, but that’s it.
Now imagine social media. Picture that room you were in with the walls extending to include the entire planet. However, just because the walls can include everyone doesn’t mean that they do include everyone. No, with social media you are creating your own room, custom filled just for you.
Your Twitter followers are in your room.
Your FaceBook friends are in your room.
Your LinkedIn contacts are in your room.
If you don’t like someone, don’t let them into your room. (Or kick ’em out later, if need be.)
Now your task, just like face-to-face networking, is to wonder around the room and meet people. Just like in the physical world, there may be some people with whom you will never do business. There may be others who become great partners. Still others may be able to introduce you to those who can make a big difference for you.
But unlike the face-to-face version, you’re not giving a business card and hoping the recipient goes to check out your website. Instead they already have access to your profile with a link to your website. They can get to know you and your business. When they’re ready for your service they already know you.
So get out there and network in your own room. And, you get to pick the meeting time.