Social Media – Networking in the 21st Century

As social iconsGeorge* talked about his company’s approach to Social Media it became clear that he was laboring under a fundamental misconception about what Social Media is all about.  The result for George is that his company has invested hundreds of man-hours and thousands of dollars with very little to show for their considerable, and growing, investment.  Unfortunately, George is not alone – there are many whose investment of time and money in Social Media has produced disappointing results due to a common, and fundamental, misunderstanding of Social Media.  What about you?  Do you share this common misunderstanding of Social Media?

It’s about connecting

A good understanding of what Social Media is about and how you can put it to work in your business is less about the technology and more about your message and connecting with others through this exciting new medium.  Think of Social Media as 21st Century networking.  Successful networking is not about pushing yourself on others – it is about building relationships.  It’s not about “selling” people, it’s about engaging folks in conversation.

Networking the right way is about forming connections and building those connections into relationships.  It is about adding value to others.  Successful networking comes as a result of the universal law of reciprocity, where the more you give, the more you receive.  The path to Social Media success is governed by this same universal law.

It’s not rocket science

Don’t be intimidated and distracted by all the geek-speak surrounding Social Media.  Instead of thinking about Social Media as a collection of tools and technologies, think about the underlying purpose – connecting with others.  Recognize that what people are responding to through Social Media is not the platform, but the individual/ company/brand and its message.  In other words you’re not attracting people and interest because you have a Facebook page, you are attracting people to your Facebook page because of what you are doing with it.

How can you use your Facebook page in a way that your target audience finds interesting and helpful?  What can you provide to your audience on Facebook that they aren’t already receiving somewhere else?  How can you add value to your target audience through the social technologies that they are already using?

In order to harness the power of Social Media for you and your business, you don’t need huge advertising budgets, scores of interns, and a guru on staff, but you do need to know the fundamentals.  Done wrong, Social Media can become a distraction that will consume time and money with no benefit for your business.  Done right, Social media can add tremendous value to you and your business in just minutes a day.  Find out how you too can achieve great results for your business with 5 Ways to Grow Your Business Using Social Media.

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