While sitting here this weekend, reviewing courses that I have taken in the past two years about Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Social Media and Social Networking, it has really hit home what is really going on with the courses and how people are using these tools.
I see people using the Social Media tools to get their information out there (be it YouTube, Viddler, Blogs, etc.) while using Social Networking tools to try to build lists and followers. This practice is in most courses, online seminars and training videos out there — how to build your list/followers faster, use tools that makes the process automated so you can spend more time doing other things. I’m sure you’ve all heard about these tools and/or might even use them yourself.
However, in my opinion this is the reason why people fail in Social Networking and Social Media. They are missing the biggest part of all, the “SOCIAL” aspect, by using an ever-growing variety of automated tools to grow their accounts for them; they’re not building the friendships that social technologies are based on. So what if you have 100,000 followers or more? If you haven’t built up a relationship with them they will not be listening to what you have to say and will ignore you which your list would be as good as having one follower.
Think of the biggest social networking site around (Facebook) and why it grew to be as big as it is. If you don’t know, it’s because people wanted to see what their friends were up to; videos, pictures, trips, status updates, etc. They want to be meaningfully engaged in the lives of people in their social network.
Think of it in this way: Would you go to a bar and ask each person in that bar, no matter who they are, what they’re interested in or what sex they are? Would you tell a stranger, “I’m a great catch, let’s get married, have kids and I’ll teach you how to be a great lover”? Now this is a little exaggerated, but look at your Twitter feed and you will see exactly what I’m talking about.
Here are just a few tweets (removed the URLs):
“(Un)Frequently asked questions about quality score:”
“Womens Easy Spirit sz 9 Welinda Brown Slip-On Shoes: US $18.99 (0 Bid) End Date: Sunday Feb-13-2011 17:49:25 PST…”
“Exclusive deals Local restaurants, spas etc. 50–90% off. Daily Deals! Sign up”
You can see that people are not socializing from these posts and that is why people are failing at Social Media and Social Networking — they’re not meeting people, build a relationship and then helping each other. Not to pick on MLM (Multi level Marketing), but I have been involved with a company of that sort myself, so I know this challenge from both sides.
In the old days, when you first got into a company, they told you to make a list of everyone under the sun (family, friends, friends of friends, etc.). They would train you to think that you needed them to get involved because they were missing out on the greatest thing ever. Now, when your friends and family got word you were in a MLM company, you wouldn’t hear from them and they would avoid you at all cost. They knew that if you ever got them in a room you would try to close them to either buying your product or becoming part of the company. How is that any different from what people are doing now with Social Media and Social Networking?
Now, I know right now you’re probably either on one of two sides. Either you’re part of these companies/systems and you want to tell me off and tell me I don’t know what I am talking about (which is cool; we all have ways of doing things) or you’re on the other side where you’ve been in the position I just described and are trying to figure out what you can do to become successful. In either case, it’s always valuable to evaluate your method and see where improvements can be made — finding success can be hard and the answers aren’t always apparent.
If I haven’t lost you at this point, my recommendation is to think of Social Media and Social Networking like dating:
You go to a social event you’re interested in, you go and shake people’s hands and really get to know them (Social Networking). You tell them a little bit about yourself (Social Media), maybe even give them your phone number. You go out a few times, chat a bit, have some fun… Before long, you’ve naturally built a relationship where you know each other in a genuine way; they know what you do and who you are as a core person (and vice versa). When the connection is genuine, they’ll love to see what you are doing and talk about you to friends; if you’re really good, they may think you’re an amazing person and want you to meet people in their network, too. Now you’ve build all these great relationships and become part of a community you likely wouldn’t have been invited to if you had stuck to sales pitch networking. Communities are a wonderful thing because they tend to work together to help each other out when someone needs it.
I am sure the analytical people reading this are thinking, “How does that relate to making money? The income is secondary because if someone needs a service (say a plumber), I am more likely to refer someone from my social network that I know personally then a stranger.” Really think about that statement. When was the last time you referred a complete stranger to a friend of yours to help them with something? For the most part, when people are recommending services to their friends, people will either refer someone they know or the get a referral from someone they trust to refer to you.
With Social Media and Social Networking being a global community, people are connecting more and more each day. Watch, when someone thinks they are being wronged, how many people are getting involved internationally. Even it doesn’t directly affect them, they are still voicing their opinion and supporting.
That is why it is even more important now, and in the future, to start building those relationships. It is up to us as a community to support each other in our growth, health and welfare. That is why I do what I do. That is why I give you as much information as I can to help our global community. Like all of you, I need a roof over my head, food on the table and clothes on my back. But I make sure I do it in such a way that I can give as much as I get; the more I receive, the more I provide. That is how it was hundreds of years ago, when looking at how tribes behaved and cared for each other in a communally positive way. We are no different. The lines in a map mean nothing now. If you want test it, post a comment in your social networking tools and ask where is everyone from. You’ll see there is no such things as boarders anymore. We are one big community.
In closing, I recommend that when you use these Social Technologies, keep in mind that it’s not about the money — it’s about connecting with our community to help each other grow.
Love & Chi,
Brandon Krieger HLC, ITIL, PPS
Social Technologies Coach & Professional Speaker
For more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.knssconsulting.com/socialtechnologiescoaching.html