Are You a Social Media Believer?
Those who find success using social media are the ones that truly believe in the medium. They’re out there using it consistently, and they’re constantly making new contacts. They know how to play the game. It’s not just a marketing trend to them. It’s a way of life. A successful life.
The legitimacy of social media is often called into question. Managers are often hesitant to have their workers adopt it. They cite things like the slowing of productivity and the lack of benefit measurement strategies as reasons not to. These are certainly valid concerns in some instances, but people continue to prove time and time again that there are benefits there. I think the LinkedIn user I discussed the other day is a good example of that.
Another good example is Chris Brogan, the President of New Marketing Labs, a social media agency and education company. He’s clearly a social media "believer." People like Robert Scoble, Jason Calacanis, Danny Sullivan, and Steve Rubel are social media believers.
What do all of these people have in common? For one, they’re making good livings online. Most WebProNews readers recognize the names mentioned above. They are big, well-respected names that lend credibility to their own respective businesses. How often do offline businesses attract customer attention based on their founders’, presidents’, or CEOs’ names alone. Customers tend to flock to businesses because of the products they offer, but these guys have names. They have products too, but their names are a good part of their brands. Why is this? Could it be that they’ve spent a considerable amount of time networking online? Blogging? I think these things play a pretty big role.
These guys make use of the medium frequently. They are constantly tweeting and communicating with their respective networks. They are frequently making new connections and relationships. Brogan for example has nearly 25,000 followers on Twitter, and over 500 connections on LinkedIn. They also managing their reputations.
They blog frequently. They write topical posts that readers find interesting, and respond to. Communities are often built from this alone, which is why I consider blogging to be very much a part of social media. When they don’t have time (or sometimes even when they do), they have guest authors make relevant posts too. When they blog themselves, they sometimes get personal. This helps them convey that they are human and not just cold lifeless, business entities. They’re regular people that others can identify with, and find it easier to trust.
Most of All, They Care.
The most important thing to note about these social media believers is that they care about what they’re doing. They’re not just blatantly marketing their products. They’re communicating and enjoying doing it. They’re discussing things. They’re helping people. They’re learning themselves. They’re staying informed. Watch this recent video from Chris Brogan.
He cares so much that while he is clearly very busy, he encourages people who want to talk to him in person to meet him and stresses the wants to meet them no matter what. It doesn’t sound incredibly remarkable, but the enthusiasm he shows about just wanting to reach out to the community speaks volumes about how seriously he takes it.
"If ever we’re in the same place at the same time for some kind of event, would you be willing to help me with something? It’s this: Please never ever ever ever think that I don’t want to meet you, or that I’m too busy, or that you’re not important," he says. "I travel all over the place to meet you. You! Okay?"
A big part of caring about social media, is caring about your own online persona. This means keeping your profiles updated. Brogan even talks about keeping your Google profile in order, something that is often overlooked, despite Google’s tremendous popularity.
It also helps to show people where they can find you. For instance, include links to your various social profiles from your blog, and other profiles. Include links to your blog/site from your profiles. Give people access to every possible communication method you have. The more options they have, the more likely they are to reach out to you.
The Rising Trend in Social Network Use
There are plenty of reasons to get serious about social media, but perhaps the biggest one of all is the obvious fact that use is becoming increasingly widespread. Just take a look at these graphs (courtesy of Compete.com) showing unique visitors to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn:
Perhaps this really isn’t just a trend after all. Perhaps, it’s just how things are now. I don’t see any signs of social media deteriorating. In fact it just keeps expanding. New services like Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect will only add to this. Social media has inspired a ridiculous amount of communication just among the public in general. It gets people talking to old friends that they haven’t spoken to in years. It keeps families in touch. It keeps business people building relationships.
If you’re not taking it seriously already, you may find in the future that you should’ve been the whole time, and you may find yourself behind the times. From a business standpoint, I can’t think of any examples where "behind the times" was used to describe a company in a positive light. Something to think about.