Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Is Seth Godin Right? Social Media Networking is a Time Waster.

Seth Godin, in a recent interview, gave his opinion on the validity of the size of your social media network. In his opinion, it's pretty meaningless if all you do is get friends/followers/associates/links or whatever.

A friend of mine, Ed Bisquera, who seems to be doing the Social Media thing right, posted the above link. While I don't respond to all links, this one caught my eye.
  • It was from Ed, (a friend)
  • It was about Seth Godin (an expert) and
  • The Title was controversial. (There's a marketing lesson for you right there.)
In the video, Seth likens Social Media to a giant cocktail party. There's a lot of people who are in the same place, who have a few things in common, but only a few would really go to bat for you. In his opinion, and I would have to agree, it's not about how many friends you have on FaceBook or twitter, or associates on LinkedIn or ActiveRain, but about the relationships that you have with those people.

Liken it to the real world. I have thousands of people who I know and would call my friend or associate, but a much smaller number who I would really call a good friend, and only a handful who I could go to in a time of crisis, need or emergency.

That said, we shouldn't just throw Social Media Networking out as a waste of time. There is value if done right. If not, it can be a complete time waster.

I see Social Media Networking as:

  • A way to let my existing friends know what's going on in my personal and business life in a fairly non-obtrusive way.
  • A way to attract new, potential friends, clients or business partners.

But to use it to just sell products can be risky. You need to bring something of value to the table. That is either a slamming good deal, free product or advice, or you need to reach out and connect on a personal level.

I'm going to focus on the reaching out and connecting, as that is more fun and ultimately more meaningful.

For me, FaceBook is a relatively private portal. I only "friend" those I would invite into my house or life. It's a little more private. LinkedIn is professional and I will allow most anyone to be an associate. The same with Activerain, a Real Estate site. NAYMZ is mostly a place for me to bring it all together and get great SEO rankings. I also have a Reverse Mortgage marketing guru who has signed me up for a bunch more.

But let's look at twitter, since it's the rage right now.

I've been on twitter for about 1 month and have 634 followers. This is up about 50 from yesterday. Now many of these I have sought out as we have something in common, or I want to "draw them in" to promote my mortgage and SendOutCard businesses. I find it interesting., twitter is mostly about people talking and not listening. I reply to many tweets and am surprised at how few respond back. These people don't get it. They are making noise, and bringing relevant info to the table, but are missing out on a possible connection.

Depending on who you ask, it takes from 6 to 10 "touches" to turn a prospect into a client. If I respond to a tweet, I've responded to their 1st touch. If they respond back, that would be a 2nd touch. Each time we communicate we draw closer to having a meaningful relationship that could result in a sale, referral or just a friend.

Here's what I do. I use twitter as a fishing pond.

  • I am looking at building a large pond of followers.
  • I tweet relevant info (hopefully) about mortgage news, products or rates, as well as marketing through SendOutCards.
  • I do have an autorespond for those who follow, but it's not about me. I ask why they followed. Those who respond get a response back.
  • I reply to tweets that I feel are interesting. (Oh, I don't spend a lot of time reading tweets. Maybe 5-15 minutes a day.)
  • Those who respond will get a "connection" card from SendOutCards if I can find a mailing address for them.
  • That will most likely lead to a phone call and possibly a coffee meeting.
  • From there who knows. But I've taken that "giant cocktail party" and turned it into a connection.

Ever exchanged business cards or phone numbers? Same idea.

The same can be done with ActiveRain, Naymz and any other Social Media site.

So, if you respond and give me enough info to find you on the web, you'll get a card from me...

Better yet, call me, and let's get together to discuss how I can help you maximize your Social Media networking with a "Personal Touch".

Larry Morris


Ed Bisquera said...

I enjoyed your post Larry greatly (and no bias here, since you mentioned me in your opening paragraphs. :-)

But seriously, I'm learning that Social Media Networking is more about how much I can share and also learn from others. Maybe something to save money during a recession, or perhaps sharing a fun moment with friends or my kids or posting information to help with marketing or sales.

Yes, we both mention timely information regarding the mortgage industry and rates, but I believe it's to share the best information we have and to allow others to recognize that we have value to share.

I look forward to more "real-life" networking to benefit from all this Twitter and Facebook connections. Face-to-face is the ultimate goal in networking and sharing ideas, isn't it? :-)

To our continued success,

Ed Bisquera
Mortgage Matchmaker and The Web 2.0 Evangelist
Follow me on Twitter

Larry Morris said...

I agree Ed. Thanks for the comment and I look forward to getting together.