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Social Media – Is it a waste of time?

The thoughts of Richard Osborne on many subjects over the years.

Social Media – Is it a waste of time?

This morning I attending an event in Milton Keynes where the speaker gave a presentation on using Social Media Advertising in your own business. I went along hoping to learn something I am missing, pick up that little nugget of information that would help me improve my own use of online social media networking.

The event itself was fun to listen to, the chap presenting was @N3W_Media on Twitter and despite his rather dry humour did get the message across, albiet the room was clearly filled with people who had heard of the likes of Facebook or Twitter but not really used them. I also disagreed with some of his comments, such as he ignores the “noise” on the timeline on Twitter. Surely if you ignore the time line and only use robots to send out scheduled tweets you’re ignore everyone else and missing the whole point of social networking! You should interact with everyone else, it’s rude not too.

Back on topic, and the reason for this post. I met a gentleman there who attends a number of networking breakfasts and lunches, and dinners, every week. He spends, we estimated, about 25-30 hours a week networking! Yet he didn’t get the point of online networking so I tried to explain it like this.

At a networking lunch you might meet 20 people, who you will obviously exchange your business card with. This lunch, allowing for travel to and from, will take about 3 hours of your day to meet these 20 people. If you are lucky maybe one or two of these twenty people will have any interest in what you business does.

If you spend 3 hours on a site such as UK Business Forums you could contribute to about 50 threads, network with about 2,000 people, and have had your company information viewed by potentially tens of thousands of people. This is just one example, but it would be better that you use those 3 hours to spread yourself across tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and forums such as UK Business Labs and UK Business Forums. With more and more people moving to online mediums for networking and business social interaction, it is ever more important to spread your networking across both offline and online channels. What is even more brilliant about online networking is that you are target more effectively the groups of people you networking with, by common interest or industry groups. This targetting can significantly increase your prospective conversion rates making those twenty people you may have met at lunch look pretty insignificant.

With efficient use of your time and using smart tools you could streamline your time too, but linking sites such as Facebook and Plaxo to your Twitter updates. For example, Plaxo and Facebook will automatically import your blog updates and Twitter updates. This means you only need to post a Status Update to Twitter and which automatically updates these other two social networks. Likewise, post to your blog and have all your social network accounts automatically import your latest blog entries (an example would be Notes in Facebook). This dispells the myth that online networking can take too much time, you such manage your time differently that’s all.

Spend some time researching these tools, it may take a few hours of your time to find your way around but it will be time well spent. Then, start spreading your time between your online and offline networking. They both have their place, but online networking does give you a much wider exposure than any person could physically manage offline.

Comments (2)

  1. Aug 12, 2009

    Richard, a good post. Do you mind if I quote parts of it and link back to here in a blog post I’m doing for one of my sites?

  2. Sep 15, 2009

    Hopefully the use of social media will help you succeed in getting your bike returned, Richard. Happy Birthday!!!