I saw this post over at Kevin O’Keefe’s this morning and realized that there was one sentence that really jumped out at me about social networking, because it’s something I don’t think a lot of people realize.
Social media is not something to do ‘when you have some time’ – make time for it or you won’t see the benefits.
This is something I see time and time again with people who are new to social networking. They sign up for a Twitter account, or a Facebook account, post a status along the lines of “Just checking this out”, and connect to maybe a handful of people they already know. Then they forget about it. A couple of weeks, or a month later, they come back and post another update, something along the lines of “Still trying to see if this works for me”, and go back to ignoring it again. Then, maybe they give it a third try a couple of months later. Eventually, they give up and declare the whole thing a waste of time.
It takes more than that. Just like in-person networking, it involves much more than simply showing up at a networking event, saying hello to two people, leaving, and awaiting all that great follow up you heard about. Good networking requires you to spend some time conversing with people, interacting with people, and following up with them. Online networking is no different. Making good connections requires interaction, it requires listening and it requires time and effort. Anything short of that will not lead to the best results.
The great thing about online networking tools, is that the time requirement is actually much less. I can pass along an interesting news item, blog post, or event to hundreds of people at the same time. I can skim through my Twitter stream or Facebook newsfeed and keep up to date on the happenings, and interesting things my connections are sharing, learning more about them and how I might be able to help them in the process, in very little time each day. It’s remarkably efficient, and effective, when you take the time to figure out how to work with the tools, and how to really interact with the people you want to connect to.
Building relationships takes time. If you don’t have the time to interact with me, why should I want to connect, let alone do business with, you?