What Makes Social Media Effective?
Tim Klabunde, who is a former classmate of mine at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School pens a blog titled cofebuz of which I am a regular reader and subscriber. As fellow students of a MBA program I had witnessed firsthand Tim’s knowledge and presentation skills concerning the field of marketing, and I credit Tim in part for sparking my interest in branding and marketing. Although we both blog about marketing, his target audience is focused on the corporate sector while my audience is for small specialty boutiques and our individual styles reflect this. Tim recently wrote a blog concerning effective use of social media such as Linkedin for networking. The blog emphasizes the importance of multiple points of connection such as the “intersection of multiple communication points, including online networking sites, networking functions, follow-up e-mails, letters, association events, phone calls, lunches, coffee, and meetings.” The main point is that social networking in and of itself is ineffective and must be augmented by the other listed items. I have been thinking about this topic quite a bit lately as it is integral to my business model and I have heard strong arguments for either case. Should one limit their Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter connections to individuals they plan to follow-up with or meet, or is simply linking when invited sufficient?
My Experience with Social Media
I have used social media for about two years. Initially I was very strict with my connections and limited connecting with people I had known well, using the rationale of quality over quantity. This approach maintained a high quality level, however it was slow building and my network was really inbred with people I had known within my industry with little diversity, in other words not terribly exciting. As part of a New Years Resolution for 2008 I had resolved to increase networking and as a result met many, many more people throughout this year. This led to an increase in connections with people who became friends, acquaintances I had met at dinner parties and other events, as well as friends of friends who sent me invites to connect on the various social media outlets. As a result my network grew exponentially, increased in diversity and became more difficult to track. In some instances quality had suffered slightly and I have had to remove connections, but this has been extremely rare and it became easier to screen as I gained more experience.
To Be Continued… In Social Media Part II I will discuss what I consider the evolution of social media and my preferred approach for the use of social media. In the meantime…
What has been your experience with social media? Have you discovered an optimal approach for its use?