I use ‘Social Media’ primarily for networking – finding new contacts, growing relationships with the right ones and then helping develop business opportunities for each other.
Earlier this week I was asked about the applications I thought one should keep up with, and it prompted me to write a reply which I’d like to share with you here.
There are three main platforms I use for online networking. These are:
If you are a networker already then Linkedin is great because you can set up that same network of contacts online (and Linkedin then gives you a range of ways to manage, develop and grow your network too).
I’ll be posting a ‘how Linkedin works’ post soon.
Linkedin is popular with professionals because it gives you relatively restricted access from people you don’t know. You can view my public Linkedin profile here.
Linkedin works on the assumption that you are only connected to the people you know well, and I suggest you only ‘connect’ on Linkedin with people you know (because other users will generally assume this).
But what about the people you don’t know?
Unlike Linkedin which is relatively closed (but not as much as an online community) twitter is open – its very easy to ‘listen in’ to conversations and join them – a bit like going to parties. Because Twitter is very open it gives you a much greater chance to find new people. But keep focused – what you tweet affects who bothers to follow you…
So use Twitter to find new people – go and find them, talk to them, get to know the ones who respond constructively, and when new relationships are created, speak on the phone, meet them (if you can – some of my contacts are in the US and I’m unlikely to meet them any time soon) and build your relationships from there.
(Once your conversations on Twitter turn into strong relationships, then connect with them on Linkedin too)
@UKConstruction (Twitter for UK Construction people)
@ArchitectLeague (Twitter for – and about – architects)
@JustProfs (for advice like this!) and
@subutcher (for the unexpurgated me)
3. Content – which means a Blog
The missing thing in the holy trinity is making content – the stuff people actually read (or look at) online.
Most people don’t make content, they just consume other peoples, but if you want to really say something about yourself and have an impact you have to have a home where you can create some really good content.
One of the lowest cost, highest value, content makers is a blog.
A blog is an online journal or diary – you make entries on a regular basis using a simple interface. Regular updating keeps up interest from people and google.
There are all sorts of types of blog platforms. The simplest are just a way of posting stuff online – but you have little control over what it looks like and ultimately no backup of the content either.
Many online communities also have blog features (ning.com has thousands of online communites, even PropertyWeek and Building have recently set up communities there – its free) But again, this content isn’t on your website.
If you really want to use a blog to its best advantage you should get your own using http://www.Wordpress.org which you can host on your own website domain name. This is different from WordPress.com, gives you the best control, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Whereas a good bespoke designed website may cost you several thousand pounds, a self hosted blog can cost you a couple of hundred to set up and little more than a hundred a year for the hosting and updates. You have to make the content though!
Use the three together
In addition to the blog itself creating interest, if you tweet from your blog – have a twitter account that shares and links to your blog content as and when relevant, you have the advantage of the openness of twitter and the depth of content of the blog.
When you write a blog post, you can share it with the people you are engaging with on twitter, sparking new conversations. And now with a variety of tools, including adding your blog to your linkedin profile, you can also share it with your linkedin contacts.
Over to You
So there are my holy trinity of social media platforms. Which ones do you use?
Footnote: If you’d like to check out the community where I was asked about twitter, its called DeCEx and is a forum for encouraging excellence for everyone in construction.