Imagine this – you are on Twitter. You see a retweet of one of your comments by Guy Kawasaki, sales and social media guru. For those of you that do not have the time or inclination to get on Twitter, it is a mini-blog service where you answer “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less. A “retweet” means someone basically copies and pastes your comment on their board and gives you credit. It looks like this:
RT@DonnaHighfill “To be or not to be, that is the question.” – Shakespeare
Anyway, the Guy Kawasaki episode happened to me and I was sure it meant that I was destined for Social Media greatness. Twenty-one people immediately retweeted and started following me. I was on my way. . .right? Not necessarily. Social Media can offer phenomenal tools and is certainly the way of the future – but they are tools only.
Because I wish someone done this for me, I wanted to take a minute for those of you who might not be as Social Media savvy and give you some points of learning based upon my first three months of Social Media experience
1. Make sure that opportunity is not a mirage. When you converse on Facebook all night, or see 500+ colleagues on LinkedIn, or pass the 1,000 follower mark on Twitter. . .you feel like a huge success. In the current business desert you look up and see not a cup of water, but an entire river of oppurtunity. Then you realize that most of your “connections” are trying to sell their wares and have little interest in buying yours. You work twelve hour days coming up with clever updates and answering questions from interested parties, but at the end of the day you haven’t collected one more dollar or brought your business any additional work. Don’t get delirious – Social Media is hard work.
2. Don’t confuse immediate results with immediate impact on your business. You will get immediate followers if you put out invitations. For example, on Twitter I have found that for every person I follow I get about a 75% return. Follow 100 people, and about 75 will follow you right back. The question is – will these followers buy your product? I have found that if you’re a Social Media guru, maybe. If you sell something else, it’s a little more complicated.
3. Social Media is NOT a magic bullet. I tell people this in sales all the time – there is NO magic bullet. The best salespeople succeed not because of the newest tool but because they work harder at their job than anyone else. Social Media provides fascinating tools, but it’s not fair to assume it’s the magic bullet we all yearn for in this economy. It’s a new way to connect with people, that requires hard work and dedication.
Social Media is like any new business endeavor – unless you have the right business or product at the right time you will spend a couple of years investing before you see the pay-off. I’m only at three months with lots of followers – I’ll keep you updated. Maybe I’ll have to eat my words. I hope so!