When it comes to conversations regarding “Social Networking,” I am often struck by the conflicting points of view shared by the same person. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘social media’
As a budding entrepreneur, I have just begun to understand the value of tracking and analyzing the traffic to my website. (more…)
Google+ is rapidly expanding its reach since it was launched three months ago, and it will definitely give other social networking giants a run for their money. (more…)
Social media tools are useful in many ways both personally and professionally. We can connect with those we know (more…)
Whittaker Associates is pleased to announce that we have just launched our brand new website. The website contains a fresh design, easier usability, detailed explanations of our services, updated content, and a built-in blog. (more…)
Social media tools have become many people’s go-to sources for the latest news. Has anyone found out the result of a sports game by a friend tweeting from the event, or realized your college roommate is now married from their Facebook status?
It seems like everything we read today emphasizes the importance of social media. We constantly read and hear about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other forms of this new media. We are told about the importance of social media and how critical it is to create your own community. While I use social media, I want to challenge the level of importance being placed upon it. Think about it. You are a busy executive with potentially hundreds of contacts at different organizations. Are you really going to sign up to receive Tweets from each of these companies? I highly doubt it. So how much time should you spend on social media?
I would propose using the complexity of the transactions your organization is trying to generate and the size of your company as guidelines. If you look at the development of online sales over the last decade, there is little room for doubt that more and more complex sales are happening online without human intervention. Think back to when you purchased your first book from Amazon.com. It might seem like eons ago, but it was probably only ten to twelve years ago. Today, online commerce has evolved to the point where people buy cars, computers, and other big ticket items without human intervention. Another thing that has evolved in the last decade is email marketing. How many emails do you delete every day without even reading them? Probably quite a few if you are like most people.
Now, let’s assume your company generates complex transactions. If your organization is large enough to support a marketing team, you will definitely want to dedicate resources to social media. It is becoming part of the requirements of even being in the game, similar to websites and business cards. However, what if your company is smaller and does not have a multimillion dollar marketing budget? You will still want to dedicate some resources to social media, but be very careful to measure your results. It is easy to get excited by the latest technology and take off with it. Remember though, you are selling a complex product or service (or location). These complex sales are closed through relationships. Close relationships. Do not fall into the trap that you will Tweet (or email) your way to a deal. These large transactions require trust that must be built through live forms of communication such as phone calls, face-to-face meetings, and the old-fashioned business lunch.
So go ahead and take advantage of social media. There is a good chance you can generate and nurture some leads. Just don’t forget that complex deals are usually struck between people who know and trust each other. There is an old commercial that says it best: Reach out and touch someone.
For those of us who did not grow up connecting with friends or even making new friends online, the world of social networking seems a little odd. We have a hard time comprehending why one would want to share photos of themselves with the world on sites like MySpace or share what they are doing from moment to moment on twitter. But social networking sites like twitter, Facebook & MySpace have become a part of life for many, especially those under 30.
Many say that sites like twitter are a total waste of time. The skepticism about social networking sites is portrayed well in the image above. When you first open a twitter, you may find yourself agreeing with the creator of this image. But after spending some time looking at the tools within twitter and considering its potential business use, you may have a reason to rethink your position.
If twitter was so worthless, why do we hear speculation that Google or Apple may buy the company for over $150 million? Why would we hear it mentioned dozens of times on television news networks like CNN every day? Why were people in Iran using twitter to send messages to the whole world during the recent post-election crisis in the country?
An analogy that I saw on YouTube has helped me understand how social-networking sites fit into our world today. Think of twitter like a party. Why do we go to parties? We go there to meet friends, meet new people and make conversations, or more accurately, to make small talk. That is exactly what twitter is. It is a place where we can meet new people, connect with old friends and make small talk. What do we do when we go to parties? We dress up, try to make interesting conversations and listen to others.
One complaint that I hear from novice users of social networking sites is that they do not know what to do after they open an account. The answer here is simple: Dress up (make sure you complete your profile), style your hair (upload pictures so that others know who you are) and make interesting conversations (regularly update your profile and send out tweets often).
Economic Development is about relationships. They are built on trust, respect, and commitment. New tools have emerged in Web 2.0 (the evolution of the internet) to foster online collaboration and social networks. Applying these new tools to economic development offers interesting challenges and opportunities.
Recently, Whittaker Associates has assisted two clients to create social networks of their community leaders and prospective company leaders. By connecting community leaders with CEOs of prospective companies based upon common interest, we can facilitate the creation of new business relationships. One benefit to this approach is that it engages community leaders more fully in the economic development process and gives them a meaningful role to play. In addition, business networks bypass many of the filters in an increasingly noisy ad-cluttered world clamoring for our time and attention.
These social networks connect people and build relationships based upon common interests and in many cases common values. Why? Well, for one reason, we tend to do business with people we trust. Social networks are in essence a referral system based upon virtual introductions by people we trust to people we would like to know.
There are three examples of emerging Web 2.0 social networks. The first is www.MySpace.com . For the un-initiated, it is a step into a virtual world of the “young and restless.” Myspace.com has 21 million users (most in the 18-25 age bracket) and is growing at the rate of 150,000 per day! The website was sold to News Corp. for $580 million last July. It represents an enormous opportunity to market to this crowd of predominately young people and is now the fourth most popular site on the Internet as it creates networks of friends. Do you want to better understand your children and their friends? Check out their MySpace.com page.
The second is www.facebook.com . This site caters to college students by offering a way to connect via the college attended. Much like MySpace.com, it offers the user an opportunity to share a personal profile of interests along with a network of relationships.
Many prospective employers scout facebook.com when interviewing candidates for employment.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly from an economic development point of view, www.linkedin.com is designed to facilitate business relationships. By creating a user profile of business contacts, user expertise, and type of business opportunities sought, it provides a business referral network. Linkedin.com operates on a subscription basis and is often used to connect with potential new clients. Like the previous two networks, it too is often frequented by headhunters to identify job candidates.
In January of this year, I had the opportunity to present “Collaborating through Technology” at the International Economic Development Council Leadership Summit along with two of my colleagues, Joel Burgess , VP Economic Development at Whittaker Associates, and Mark James, President of ED Solutions. In our presentation, we discussed social networks, collaboration tools, and their use in economic development. You can view the presentation at: www.whittakerassociates.com/resources.htm.
Applying social/business networks in an economic development setting is at the forefront of Internet technology. They will accelerate careers and are a precursor to the “always connected” era that we have entered. Is it time for you to get “connected?”
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