Facebook and Twitter are not just fun things to do in your off hours; they are tools for success in business. They are living, breathing devices that create networking opportunities and business leads. If you want to continue using social media as a way to keep up on celebrity gossip, photo stalking, and your most recent game of Farmville, please do. But if you want to see what opportunities are available in your life, it’s time to truly become social.
While unemployed, I focused my life on developing an online persona. Instead of being a dime-a-dozen “yes man” floating around the Internet (yes, I did that), I began to focus a little more on creatively networking. I created a social graph that exceeded my expectations because I was completely invested in meeting new people. This is the modern day rolodex and allows me to stay in touch with old friends, make new friends, and maintain current friendships. In addition to friendships, it created networks and introductions that never would occur without it.
Why is this good for my business?
It’s simple. Regardless of your field, the network you create and maintain is important for your business. Your ability to succeed in construction, landscaping, finance, real estate, HR, teaching, culinary arts, tech, etc. is completely dependent on your ability to interact with others and create relationships. If you maintain a strong relationship with others, they may be interested in your product or service, or, if they aren’t, they’ll at least consider recommending you to a friend in need of your service.
Any business leader out there should be saying to themselves, “how can I get my employees to improve their network and leverage business for my company?”
The answer: make a social media strategy informing employees that you value their service and recommend that they spend time on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook creating relationships with others. Inside of this strategy, set guidelines for the user. So, for example, no lewd behavior or something making the company look bad. If the employee need to create a new account, have them do that. Social networks are where leads and relationships are created; don’t fall behind your competition.
But how do you maintain these relationships?
Much like traditional relationships, online friendships require a certain amount of attention and should function on a “give and take” basis. Fortunately, online relationships require a lot less time, money, and effort. Set aside 20 minutes a day to simply interact and create dialogue with others.
T ime is money. If you want to see what opportunities are available, simply start using Facebook and Twitter as more of a networking tool and less as a time-killing game.