The Power of Your (Social Media) NETWORK

You don’t give it a second thought:

  • How many followers do you have on Twitter?
  • How many of those are active, meaning they send more than one Tweet per day?
  • How many contacts do you have on LinkedIn?
  • How many messages a day do you get from them?
  • How many subscribers do you have to your blog?
  • How many ReTweets and comments a day do you get?
  • How many likes have you had if you maintain a Facebook page?
  • How much of your content is generated across the web that is picked up by Google Alerts, Social Mention or Twitter.search.com?
  • When was the last time you networked or met up with your contacts, connections or followers?

Do you even care?

You ought to as otherwise why are you putting so much grunt into all those profiles and social media platforms that you maintain.

Ok, it has been fun up to now.

You have made some friends, exchanged some ideas on joint projects and you may even have secured new business; but with social media beginning to take off in a big way, you need to be much more focused on developing and, dare I say, exploiting your network.

Twitter

I don’t care the number of people you have following you.

The question you need to ask is how many of them do you regularly Tweet with?

Very few I would wager.

I know from my own experience that without sitting on Twitter all the time, you don’t really get a sense of what is going on across your entire network (you may be surprised that not as much is going on as you think). In addition, if you were to see who was active there is every chance that only a small percentage of your contacts – say 20% – were active at any one time. Some may be inactive (I have a few of them I think).

Where does that leave things?

What do you do?

Unfollow them all these in-actives?

This brings me back to one of my biggest frustrations with the uptake and adoption of social media – the lack of objectives.

Come on don’t tell me you have these mapped out!

Is it?

  1. To sell;
  2. To grow your brand awareness;
  3. To expand your connections to a certain number; or
  4. A mixture of all of these.

If Twitter is going to be accepted into the mainstream of business, then sooner or later you will have to justify all that time you spend looking at your laptop, tablet or your mobile (you can always tell those people at an event who are Tweeting because they hardly ever look up at the speaker for fear of losing out on a Tweet or #).

The reality is that most people are only too happy to see the number of people following them go up, but when it comes to who you are following, do you have objectives mapped out.

If we were talking about your firm’s database, don’t tell me you would be as indiscriminate to send out emails to any person or business you came across? No but that is how you approach Twitter.

It pays to map out your key clients, influencers, referrers and sneezers (see the Idea Virus by Seth Godin) and then see if they have a presence on Twitter.

If they don’t is that it?

I would suggest that you consider using every touch point in the business – emails, business cards and letterheads – and make sure they are emblazoned with your Twitter widget with an invite to follow you.

What you are trying to do is to make a strong connection. Yes you can look at other Twitter users and follow the people that they are following but does that fulfil your objectives?

Once you have your list of objectives, you need to consider what tactics you are going to employ to engage with your Twitter followers.

Again, will you?

  • Reach out make a direct connection;
  • Organise a meeting?
  • Inform them about the really WOW parts of the firm?
  • And most importantly of all, how will you make a real difference to their lives.

Eh?

Yes you heard correct.

They are going to get pretty fed up if they just see you endlessly Tweeting about your wonderful firm and its plethora of services. Surely they can find that out from your website? In the end they may just fee that you don’t care enough.

As someone once pronounced: “You have to be specific to be terrific.”

Think about a Tweet up with your connections. Are you really the Go To person for what you do? If you are why wouldn’t they want to come, particularly if they could the benefit off of your network.

Finally, the temptation on Twitter is to try to be everyone’s friend. Fine as it goes but really what you want to be doing, which my networking post on Wednesday addressed, is to introduce your connections to one another. That really will make you stand out from the crowd.

LinkedIn

A lot of the same points apply.

You have passed the magic 500.

How many times a month do you make contact with your connections?

You don’t I suspect unless they come knocking on your door. If you do, it is a minute number compared to the overall portfolio of clients. Groups don’t count. I mean your connections.

And there is the opportunity, subject the type of account that you have, to seek introductions to others outside of your network using your first level connections­­.

And there is the ability to get recommendations.

And then there is the need to join groups and speak with an authoritative voice on your chosen subject.

And then …

And then …

The point is that LinkedIn is not just a CV, or another CRM system. You should view it as your personal website and address book where you maintain contact wherever possible and look to see how you can offer valuable assistance, or share content that has the potential to influence the buying decision.

And when you are done thinking about Twitter and Facebook and throw into the mix a blog, YouTube, Posterous, Tumblr and your contacts on Outlook, Gmail or Yahoo then hopefully you can see the opportunities.

One of the biggest failing of all lawyers is that they take too much for granted. Your network connections are no different. They won’t turn from a pumpkin to a Princess on their own. They need love and affection.

Now that you have mastered this social media lark, start paying more attention to your network. How can you in the immortal words of David Maister Superplease them? If you can’t because the connection is so poor then surely you need to think carefully about what you do.

If you are not sure what you connections need then ask them. Either crowd source, prepare a survey on Survey Monkey or speak to some on Skype or phone. You need to understand what they are hoping to get out of the relationship. They may be as in the dark as you are.

Don’t underestimate this job. If anything it is only going to get harder and harder to confront as your network grows.

You certainly don’t want to be left with a massive network without an idea what they and you expect.

~ Julian Summerhayes ~

2 responses to “The Power of Your (Social Media) NETWORK”

  1. Miriam Said says:

    A connection on it’s own is just a thread linking to you.

    To make your connections work and mean something then you have to link those connections or threads to others, in other words, introduce your connections to each other.

    Doing this then creates a link up of connective threads, to make a net.

    This then becomes your network, both online and in real life.

    For your net to work you have to be connected to it and to be connected means that you have to interact with threads/contacts frequently.

    I do this by asking questions to gauge who I can help or who can help me with certain things.

    This is the referral process.

    Your network won’t actually work unless you engage with it, so just sitting there and doing nothing is not an option.

    Connect with every one at every opportunity and your network will grow and become a beautiful aid to your working life and your social life.

    The rewards are there for you to reap. You just have to communicate and engage.

    Go on…get to it….Julian and I have given you the tools and the advice…Were you listening?

    Engage.

  2. Miriam Said says:

    A connection on it’s own is just a thread linking to you.

    To make your connections work and mean something then you have to link those connections or threads to others, in other words, introduce your connections to each other.

    Doing this then creates a link up of connective threads, to make a net.

    This then becomes your network, both online and in real life.

    For your net to work you have to be connected to it and to be connected means that you have to interact with threads/contacts frequently.

    I do this by asking questions to gauge who I can help or who can help me with certain things.

    This is the referral process.

    Your network won’t actually work unless you engage with it, so just sitting there and doing nothing is not an option.

    Connect with every one at every opportunity and your network will grow and become a beautiful aid to your working life and your social life.

    The rewards are there for you to reap. You just have to communicate and engage.

    Go on…get to it….Julian and I have given you the tools and the advice…Were you listening?

    Engage.

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