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when are online social networks NOT time-suckers?

By July 31, 2008How To, The Business

When you use them strategically for your business. Simply put, we participate in online social networks to connect to others. For your company or work, this connection parlays into new clients, new ideas, new business. So, how do you do it? How do you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…and so many more, as a real marketing tool and not as a time-sucker?

1. Define time-sucking. Realize that to use these networks effectively, you have to spend some time on them. At the beginning you need to set up and personalize your account, connect to people and then continually communicate with them. This time spent is markedly different than time spent playing Scrabulous, tweeting about your lunch, etc. Though I’m sure you deserve a little bit of this mind-numbing, fun time every day as well. (no judgement)

2. Set up your profile to showcase your business. When people friend you or link to you or view your profile, make sure they can see who you are and what you do. If you can syndicate your blog on your profile, do it; if you can add images, do it. If you can add links, do it. And, show us your pretty face, do it.

3. Syndicate your work. Blogs fit in nicely here. When you put up a post, tell your network about it and give them the easy link. Blogs are an instant introduction to your personality and your expertise. If a project you just worked on went live, tell us about that too…showcase yourself. And, won’t your clients be thrilled.

4.  Broadcast events, success, interesting news. Literally shout it out from the rooftops, you never know when someone will be looking for exactly what you’ve got.

5. Realize the breadth of your network. It’s not just the people you are linked to. It’s also the people they are linked to and beyond. Be interesting and use the words that are key to your business, company, industry…these things are searchable, you know, if you want them to be. They can also be viral. If you broadcast something that your network thinks others will find interesting, they will share it.

6. Participate. If I’ve said it once…Seriously, why should anyone listen to you, visit your link or syndicate your info if you aren’t doing the same. Your participation demonstrates to others that there is something in it for them as well. Don’t make it all about you….even if it is.

7. Network with your network. When it comes right down to it, this is good, old-fashioned networking. Talk to people, find out about them, see where your common interests are…suggest ways to move forward.

Some days will be more beneficial than others…that’s life. But on those really good days – the days when you make an incredible connection or strike a golden deal, any time-suckage will have been worth it….and so will the good karma you sent to a friend on Facebook.

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