Value is a relative term – right? What means something to me might not mean the same for you. But, we all understand that when we spend time or money to achieve a goal or solve a problem, we want to see some progress to that end. In order to realize value from time spent engaging in social media, you have to be clear on why you are “engaging” in the first place.
You need to know what you want from social media – are you looking for customers, clients, franchise prospects, channel partners or collaborators, newsletter or blog subscribers, web site traffic in general, colleagues, media opportunities, or members? Maybe you want a combo — I’ll take # 8 and supersize that!
Get your expectations out of the way would be my first bit of advice. Clear reasons are good, but expectations, not so much. The reason why, is that you may or may not be a natural or skilled networker offline – if you aren’t – don’t expect that your personality will click in when you click the keys. I see plenty of people get disappointed or frustrated after working social media for a few weeks and don’t quickly sense “anything happening.”
You might be a better writer than talker – that’s cool, but unless you like networking for business and know (this is big) how to make inquiries, you might be better off hiring a pro to manage your Twitter or Facebook accounts.
Not long ago, I was called to the office of a local community leader. He wanted me to “prove” to him that social media “works” – wanted to know the value. I had to smile. My initial thought – “he does know this is free, right?” My second thought – nobody needs to prove social media or push it on anyone. You either get it or you don’t. There are plenty of players in the field. And, the funny thing is that social media is just allowing you to do over the “net” the same thing you could do and have been doing in person for years. It’s networking. Faster…and, on a bigger playground, but it’s still networking. If it has worked for you in the past, with a little learnin’ it should continue working for you.
Final thought for the community leader that I’ll share here is that you should not approach social media concerned first with what value you’ll receive. You should be concerned with what value you can bring to others. If you nail that – then the value will be returned. Simple as that.
Still confused, visit me, Mary Kurek, at http://www.marykurek.com
Visibility Consulting that focuses on using social media to secure professional introductions on behalf of clients.
Many thanks to my new Twitter friend, Doug Greathouse of Superhero Marketing for allowing me this big of space to deliver a few thoughts. He’s a pro marketer and networker and killer at working social media.
Working social media for business gain may surprise you. Doors may open to interesting opportunities that you couldn’t have guessed.