“How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?” Seth Godin
Social Media is here to stay. It may morph, change and evolve into something unrecognizable to what it is today but it's here to stay. The sheer number of participants sways even the most hardened of old school communicators to admit that there is connection opportunity - personal, business or whatever - there is opportunity. It's narcissistic, it's shallow, it's prevalent and there is a whole lot of fluff out there but there is also opportunity. So what do you do with that opportunity? Well it depends on your goals naturally. All I can do is relate my experience - One year of disciplined testing (a little more without a program) - 1,000+ tweets - a few hundred friends, followers and connections and a program. Here is that program.
Reach out to people, that I would otherwise not reach out to with conventional networking, to learn, expand my horizons and establish a first touch point. Add my existing connections to social media portals.
After establishing a base of a few hundred connections deepen those connections by phone and email "offline". Evaluate After One Year.
Write a blog and use that to "broadcast" my values and views and try to present a representation of who I am to those I was reaching out to and connecting with (This is who I am & what I think kind of thing).
Touch and link each connection on all three primary portals if possible - Facebook, Linked In and Twitter.
Select five new people each week and deepen the connection. Using a conscious effort to learn more about that person by visiting their web site, reading articles they had written, comment on their blogs, communicate (rather than broadcast) with them using social media at least a couple of times during the week and, most importantly, reach out and call that person on the telephone. Deepen the connection.
Identify and learn the expertise and interests of each connection and do my best to become conversant in those topics so that additional communications, after that first week of deepened connectivity, had mutual value when future online or offline conversations took place.
Social Media is a valuable tool. It provides a tremendous opportunity to reach out, qualify and learn from people that we might not have the opportunity to otherwise. Social media, in business, can be a fluffy time suck if you do not have clearly defined parameters, objectives and focus. Social media can be addictive. Social media needs to be deepened with offline communications to be productive and monetized. Social media is an effective way to broadcast your brand, values and interests. It's an efficient way to share information and establish an initial, first touch connection. That connection needs to be deepened.
After one year of disciplined testing the results are - It makes sense to continue using it. If you are looking for ROI - keep looking. If you are looking for linear results then it's difficult to quantify after a year. If you are looking for one simple guys opinion based on whether you should spend time with it? The answer is yes but have a program with clearly defined objectives to communicate online and then move the best of those "high value" communications offline. Old school - But it works.