[caption id="attachment_698" align="alignleft" width="350" caption="wasting time with social media?"][/caption]
Unless you have had your head in the sand you have heard of social networking. Social networking is the big craze right now. Many people would tell you that if you're not using social networks with your business your missing out on customers. There are people that make their entire living teaching you how to maximize your social network. I'm not entirely sure that you need to be on social networks to have a successful business though.
The evangelists for social networking are always the people for which the medium has worked (which should be obvious). Of course you get referrals from your 4000 twitter followers. You have 4000, I would hope that one in there knows someone who needs your services.
The problem for most people is that they don't have 4000 followers or a few hundred linkedin connections so they draw from a smaller pool of possible referrals. This represents the vast majority of people on these social networks.
Next we often here that it just takes time to build up big numbers of followers and connections. Of course this is true it takes some amount of time to do anything. More of something often means more work put in at some point.
I have been on twitter since January 2008 and have done lots of posts, send lots of interesting links and don't just advertise myself. I try to just be me which is what everyone says you should do. I have 752 followers. I have watched people put up the same links I do (after me sometimes) and get more return in followers and interaction from that small amount of time.
I have watched people that started on social services after me that have far surpassed me. They will tell you how many refferals they get, which is great for them. For some reason it just doesn't seem to happen for me despite all of my time input and the fact that I follow all of the best 'advice' of the 'pros'.
Of course I sound jaded and jealous, I wouldn't disagree many days, but I wonder more how much time we waste on social networking that could be spent with our families. If we spent the time tweeting and communicating on facebook with our significant others instead I'm sure those people would feel much more valued than they do.
Really at the end of the day social networking needs to have some form of ROI. The ROI for you can be business or social, it really doesn't matter. As long as you get some value for the time you invest it paid off.
I personally enjoy twitter so for me that is enough. It's nice to chat with people and some business connections may happen but really it's just fun.
So for the future I won't participate in networks that I get nothing from (Facebook I'm looking your way) and will spend time on the ones I do get something from.
Heck if I sound mildly interesting you can even follow me Twitter Plug.
Anyone else have thoughts on the social networking phenom? Is it worth all the time we sink into it?