Guest Author Blog: 5 Ways to Waste Your Time Networking on Social Media Sites by Ivan Misner, author of Networking Like a Pro Turning Contacts into Connections
The key to success with social media is to outline a strategy which considers the amount of time you can realistically dedicate each day to your online marketing efforts.
If you plan your activities, use time-saving tools, and make sure your ROI expectations are reasonable, you’ll be in a good position to succeed at social networking.
With that said, steer clear of these five common pitfalls which will surely sabotage your business’ social networking success:
Not leveraging your time.
Many entrepreneurs wrongly assume they should sign up with as many social networking sites as possible to expand their online network. However, doing this only sets you up for failure. You will never be able to devote the time to efficiently network on each and every site; focus instead on creating profiles only on sites where your target customers are found.
Once you create profiles on the sites where your participation will benefit your business most, be sure to utilize time saving tools.
Respectively, these sites allow you to send updates to multiple social networking sites with one click, schedule updates, and even view and respond to your friends’ posts—this means no more logging-in to multiple social networking sites.
Visiting a site for “work” and then running down rabbit holes, getting distracted by interesting posts.
How many times have you logged onto Facebook or Twitter, visited a friend’s page, followed one of their links to another page, and then suddenly found yourself on You Tube only to realize that the only thing you’ve succeeded in accomplishing is wasting two hours of your life that you’ll never get back? I’m willing to bet you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Plan ahead and map out a weekly schedule outlining the specific days and times you’ll spend on social media. For example, you could plan to post three updates a day—one at 9 a.m., one at 1 p.m., and one at 5 p.m. On Mondays and Wednesdays, you could dedicate 10 minutes at 10 a.m. and 10 minutes at 3 p.m. to responding to comments and direct messages. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, you might dedicate 10 minutes at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to retweeting people’s comments and thanking them for mentioning you or retweeting your posts.
Setting up a profile on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. and not bothering to consistently populate it with fresh content.
It’s important to remember that your purpose on these sites is business oriented. Posting updates such as “Hey, I’m at Starbucks today” or “I’m eating a ham sandwich” are not only irrelevant, they’re actually working against you. If you rarely post anything or if you consistently post useless updates, people will assume you have no good content to offer and they’ll stop paying attention to your posts altogether.
It is extremely important to regularly provide interesting, valuable content geared toward your company’s target audience. Consistently offer information and links to resources that people find valuable so they’ll want to read your posts. If you’re having a hard time coming up with content, supplement your posts by signing up for an RSS feedfrom a blog that posts fresh information related to your industry daily or weekly.
Neglecting to participate in the conversation.
When you create a social networking profile, the goal is to generate interest in the content you provide, ultimately generating interest in your business. However, many people incorrectly believe that it’s enough to post great content and then going on their merry way.
Just as the old business saying goes: “The fortune is in the follow up.” In other words, once you attract someone’s interest, they will comment in response to your posts and maybe even send you questions and direct messages. You need to follow up with them by responding back. The only way you’ll benefit from social media is to build relationships with your online friends through engaging in the conversations you start. Otherwise, you’ll quickly earn a reputation as somebody who wants to be heard but doesn’t care enough to listen. People will perceive you as ignoring them and you’ll never earn any business that way.
Expecting unrealistic results.
People often assume that after they connect with someone for the first time online, that person is going to want to do business with them and/or help them; that couldn’t be more wrong.
Whether you’re talking about online or face to face networking, it’s about three things: Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability—the VCP Process®.You have to first be visible—people have to know who you are and what you do. Then you have to establish credibility which means people know who you are, what you do, and they know you’re really good at it. That is what leads to profitability, where you’ll actually benefit from your efforts.
The bottom line is, you’ve got to build relationships and social capital to be successful when networking whether it’s face to face or through social media and the best way to build social capital is to find ways to help other people. If you can find a way to help someone then you’ll create a connection and begin to build a relationship. However, if you just want to get something from your new contacts then that’s nothing more than a bad attempt at direct selling and a big waste of time.
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Ivan Misner, PhD is the author of Networking Like a Pro Turning Contacts into Connections.
He is also the Founder and CEO of the largest networking company in the world, BNI.com.
The organization has over 5,000 chapters and last year alone, BNI generated 5.5 million referrals resulting in $2.2 billion dollars worth of business for its members.
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