Archive for April 26th, 2010

There’s No Such Thing as Social Networking

Ha! That got your attention, didn’t it. Let me explain…

Social networking is nothing new. It’s simply the latest catchphrase for something that has always existed and will continue to exist in business: networking and relationship-building.

The only thing that’s different is that we have new technology tools available for nurturing and facilitating those things.

Now, I’m not saying social networking is bad or not to use social networking tools. Not at all. Just be smart about it. Use your head. Know your target market.

It makes little sense to expend days and months twittering away if that’s not where your serious clients are spending their time and all you have to show for your effort are a few nickel and dime project customers.

So here are some questions that might help you gain some productive direction in your social networking efforts:

  1. Is your target market there? If not, you might as well be blowing bubbles in the wind. If your target market has its own, more concentrated industry forums and groups, it’s far more productive to focus your time and energy in those places.
  2. Are the interactions meaningful? If you and your prospective clients aren’t able to really engage, might there be quicker or more effective means to get in front of them and really connect?
  3. What’s the ROI (return on investment)? You want to engage in networking activities that yield the highest, greatest return for your marketing/networking time, energy and budget.
  4. Is your effectiveness being diluted by spreading yourself too thin trying to everywhere? You can do a lot of things not very well or you can do one or two things super duper well. Don’t be afraid to buck the bangwagons and stick to your favorite platform for better results.
  5. Are you interesting? Remember what you’re there for. Prospective clients are interested in how you can help them. Tie your conversations to that interest whenever possible. Provide good info and also ask questions to learn more about them. Clients are also people. They may not care what you had for breakfast or that you are now taking the garbage out, but sharing a funny anecdote or the day’s pet peeves (from a cheerful, humorous perspective) can be great conversation starters that also let them see you as a real person.

Social networking can be a great leveraging tool for finding and getting to know new prospects and drawing them into your own pipelines. It can also be a complete waste of time if you’re doing it without any thought or intention.

Do your homework so the former is the case for you. :)