Episode 43: August 12, 2008
by Stever Robbins
Today, Small Biz Tech Girl and I talk about social media.
Are you drowning in a sea of social networking sites including your all important LinkedIn account, your Facebook page, a little Twitter on the side, and the obligatory MySpace page among all the others that you are too ashamed to mention? Don't worry, there is a way to manage your social networks and to use them more effectively.
Back to managing your social networks.
I'm a firm believer in marketing yourself and your company through social networks, however, no small business owner has enough time in the day to manage even a fairly passive social networking presence. So how do you whip your social networking efforts into shape to get the most out of them?
I've invited the Get-It-Done Guy to share some ideas of getting a handle on your ever-growing collection of social networking sites.
So, Get-It-Done Guy--what advice do you have for our listeners about managing your social networks?
ADVICE FROM GET IT DONE GUY
Hi, Stever Robbins here. I just love social networking. Every day, I happily check my Plaxo Pulse, LinkedIn, Amazon Author Blog, eBay community, Facebook, Friendster, MySpace, Good Reads, Cardscan, Spoke, Flickr, Twitter, Plork, Plunk, Burple, and Plop, plus two professional sites I'm part of. Pathetically, every site I just listed actually exists. It gives me hope for the human race, however, that some of them aren't really social networking sites.
At five minutes each, it would take an hour out of my day to check in with my sites. Unless I'm paid to be a Web 2.0 marketer or I have no real life whatsoever, that's a total waste of time.
To get the most out of social networks, know why you're joining them and use them accordingly. Some sites are good for jobs and recruiting, others are more about sharing tastes or keeping a more personal connection. If you're a small business wanting to use social networking for marketing, find a site where you can reach the people you're likely to market to. LinkedIn has a feature that lets you answer questions posed by people in your network. If you want to establish yourself as an expert, go become a LinkedIn Dear Abby and post pithy, clever answers to people's heart-rending questions. If you're an author, you may choose your Amazon Author Blog as the place where you publish your writing.
Use restraint. Select just one or two sites as your central sites. Some people say LinkedIn is the premiere business networking site, and Facebook is for frivolity. Other people say Facebook is the premiere business networking site, and LinkedIn is for random networking. Don't worry about it. Just choose one. I chose LinkedIn.
Have your profile on other social networking sites simply refer people to your main site. When I'm trying to keep a dozen profiles synchronized, I always think of how convenient technology makes my life. I cut a paragraph from one site, navigate to the other, find the right fill-in form area, paste... Oh, boy. Convenient, convenient, convenient. This was sure my image of the future: technology's giving me a rich life that's truly worth living. NOT! Just say, "See my LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com/in/stever" and put all the good stuff in your LinkedIn profile.
Once you're clear on why you're social networking, decide how much time you'll devote to your social networking and make it a regular--and limited--part of your week. If you're going to become a LinkedIn expert, set aside 20 minutes twice weekly to post a question. If you're keeping up with your network to know when to call, browse the recent events feeds every other day. But only do things that get the results you want. Social networking is a prelude to actual human interaction. If you have free time, don't spend it online. Call someone you met online and get together in person. That's where you'll make your real relationships. And that advice holds for all kinds of social networking, if you get my drift.
To recap: know what you want from social networking, choose your networking site and how you use it accordingly. Limit your time, and keep a single profile.
Thanks, Get-It-Done Guy.
Advice from Small-Biz Tech Girl
I'll just add a few of my own quick and dirty tips for managing your social networks.
1. Sign up for all of your social networks through a designated email account. I set up my clients up with a single Gmail account to handle all of their social networking correspondence. That keeps their business e-mail clear of clutter and gives them a single place to access their social networking activity.
2. Use a handy cross-network posting tool. Try sites like HelloTxt at hellotxt.com or Ping.fm to send the same message across multiple sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo and MySpace. The handy tools minimize the time you spend posting but be careful not to spam.
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Bottom Line: Social networks can be a very effective forms of marketing online, however, you need to manage your networks wisely so they really work for you.
You can e-mail Stever at email@example.com or leave voicemail at 866-WRK-LESS.
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