When it comes to using social media for networking purposes, plenty of gurus have sprung up with ideas about how to leverage the latest tools.
But few people have probably served as a better example of how to use social media as a networking tool in practical terms than former Apple Computer chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki, now Entrepreneur in Residence at Garage Technology Ventures.
While many marketers may use social media tools around the Net as a way of simply amplifying a single stream of content (say from their blog for example) and others, like Seth Godin, have resisted jumping into using too many tools, Guy has been very active through a number of channels, especially Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and his blog "How to Change the World", and often creates unique content for each.
This on top of a highly visible career as an author, public speaker and entrepreneur.
So, how can you learn from Guy's unique approach and use social media as the ultimate networking tool to manage career and other connections and drive your brand and vision while locating others who share your passions and interests?
Too many approach social media, from blogging to Facebook to Twitter and all points in between, by worrying about the kind of image they hope to convey. Guy uses his blog, Twitter, Facebook and other means to share his own vision and some insight into his thoughts and ideas. From promoting his latest investments, like AllTop, to commenting on everything from legalization of Marijuana to the effect of home computers on students' grades, Guy's social media efforts are simply a reflection of who he is and what he's about rather than a well-planned online marketing campaign.
Focus on brand.
While Guy's approach to social media is certainly not as a marketing-only channel, he is able to focus much of his content around a simple but powerful brand created out of his mantra to "empower entrepreneurs" and all of the things he shares through his various social media hubs focus on information that enhances the self-development, lifestyle and ideas of entrepreneurs like himself.
Taken from his book The Art of the Start and repeated in many of his public appearances, this two word phrase explains an important component not only of what makes a great startup but also of what makes great social media. More than simple content shared with no cohesive structure, and with the high signal-to-noise ratio inherent in sites like Twitter and Facebook, Guy's content is focused on sharing value with his followers. Think of a conversation you might have at a chamber mixer or other get together with fellow business leaders. Consider the meaningless small talk about weather and traffic you might experience on one end of the spectrum versus the endless pitching and hard sell at the other. Now compare this with a conversation in which great information and insight is exchanged. Which of these participants would you most want to network with and possibly do business with in the future?
Using social media for networking involves more than just one person and is not one-way communication, any more than a conversation is. When networking with social media, don't simply talk at your audience. Ask for participation…and don't be afraid of what you receive. For example, Guy's last few posts are part of an "examples needed" series in which he is trying to gain input on a variety of issues like how companies celebrate success.
Keep it real.
While blogging and social media experts insist on a regular editorial schedule and a consistent online marketing strategy, including analysis of keywords and other SEO, Guy brings a really simple approach to his social media networking, talking when he's actually got something to say and on topics that interest him. Never a disciplined blogger, as the term is usually applied today, Guy once took a nearly month and a half vacation, from April 17 to March 27 of this year, between posts. It has never mattered to his fans because, with Guy's network, it's all about keeping it real. Make no mistake! Regular editorial schedules and attention to online marketing considerations can be critical to a blogging or social media marketing campaign. However, when using social media for networking, remember to use it like you would any social interaction in the face to face world.
Are you interesting in harnessing the power of social media for your online networking needs? Learn more about how social media networking can help grow your business today!
(Shawn Hessinger is a professional blogger at PostRanger.com providing blogging and social media for a variety of businesses and organizations worldwide. Shawn is committed to creating blogs and social media services that are beyond the ordinary and works with a variety of clients to this end including helping businesses and organizations get their blogs and social media presence off the ground.)
Category: Social Media