Social Media – How do I make it work for me?
I was motivated to write this blog after having very similar conversations a number of times in the last few days, so I hope this helps you if it’s all a bit bewildering.......
In broad terms, your website is a brochure – it explains “What you do” in terms of your products and services and how to contact you and/or buy from you. This applies almost the same whether you’re a major brand with a string of high street outlets as it does if you have a simple eBay shop. My main sites (in case you’re interested) are: http://www.white-label.biz – an SEO web development company, for whom I’m Managing Director and http://www.athollconsulting.com, for whom I serve as a Managing Consultant.
Your blog (like this one) should do more – it articulates your expertise, gives people more of a flavour of “Who you are” and updates your audience on what’s going on with you, your products and your company. This may include personal news, as well as business stuff, but the key objective is to be informative and to produce articles of roughly 1-1 ½ pages of text on a regular basis about what’s going on.
You will then have a number of profiles on social networking sites, like LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook. On these sites you interact with a diverse group of people, build your networks and share news, etc. I tend to keep Facebook for more personal stuff and restrict the number of people who have access and, also, what they have access to. LinkedIn, Xing, Ecademy, etc are professional profiles, which don’t have so much personal stuff and have bigger networks.
You then have a series of services like Twitter, where you get links to interesting stuff (sometimes) from others, get spammed by MLMers but, most importantly, can share your news and blog updates with your network and get similar updates in return.
The key to all this, unfortunately, is an amount of time and effort is essential in order to build and maintain your networks on these and other platforms (e.g. Naymz, Plaxo, YouTube, MySpace, FriendFeed, etc, etc).
This may sound daunting, but unlike traditional media, once you’ve done the hard work, it grows and grows over time and your Reputation in the Marketplace grows with it, as long as you keep doing a bit of work on it, the same way you have to with any business development activity!
This is where it gets good......
Once you have reasonable size networks on each platform (say 200+ to start, with some overlap inevitable between networks) you can start to make your networks work for you and (assuming your content has value) the viral effect starts to happen.
Using my LinkedIn network as an illustration, the numbers look like this:
1st degree connections = 4,500
2nd degree connections = 1,452,000
3rd degree connections = >14m
Total = 15.7m
Facebook – 1,100 friends (i.e. first degree connections)
By being connected to highly connected people, i.e. people with large networks, your network grows very fast at the 2nd and 3rd degrees – Friends of friends and friends of friends of friends.
Twitter – I’m following >1300 people and >900 are following me (i.e. they get my updates) and this is rising quite fast!
So when I publish this blog, I will update my status on these networks with a link to this and, hopefully a fair few will read it. A few of those will tell some of their friends (“ReTweet” in Twitter terms) and, in turn, a few will tell their friends, and so on......
So with about 775 words of text, I am potentially communicating with millions of people. Back to reality – the likely number is in the dozens, maybe hundreds, but if you’ve got a brand, or a product, or a service, and something to say (that’s worth reading!), then the power of social media is huge and every new advocate you attract to your network is someone who will promote you next time you blog......
I know that some people will tell me that this is a massive over-simplification, and they are right (for the more sophisticated users), but internet marketers make a living out of precisely this and some make $millions from it!
So if you haven’t managed to get to grips with this whole Web 2.0/Social Media/Blogging thing going on out there, I hope this has helped you – if I can help you further, please connect with me directly, say “Hi!!” and let me know what I can do to help you..........
Have a look at this short video – some amazing statistics!!