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23 Oct Is Online Social Networking Real For Business?

Is Online Social Networking Real For Business?
Oct 23, 201557 views2 Likes1 CommentShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Twitter
Quite honestly if you think that you can use tools like Linkedin and Facebook to build up a business and following and not really know all your followers or connections, then you are deluding yourself into a false reality. Every time I hit a new watermark of connections on Linkedin, 100, 500, 1000, 2000+ my wife would often joke that the big difference between me and others with this many connections is that I actually know or have met 95% of the people. That 5% I am quite frankly always going to be leery of since let me give you a bunch of scenarios that often happen when I let them into my network.

1. They are a total scam. Why would the CEO of Barclays Bank want to know me? I decided to take this invitation from what looked like a real person, image and all the text looked correct. I did a little further research and noticed he was using a hotmail for his email, which did not sound right. That hotmail account was connected to Nigerians, so you can guess what this was about. So I blocked him. What he was up to, who knows, but it was no good.

2. They are looking to sell us something. I do accept some invitations for interesting people who are in the tech industry or social media industry I may need for a connection at some point in time. But obviously the poorly written Linkedin message you get immediately once you agree to connect from Natasha in Kiev about how she wants to sell me web development should be a sign that you don’t want this connection.

3. Raiding my connections. You can turn off the ability for people to raid your connection list, but I actually want to leave that on and let people use my network if they need it. That’s because I have actually met most of the people on my network. That is why networking is a real thing, but the online social networking component is weak at best.

There are positive connections with solicitors on Linkedin I make and have lead to either partnerships or contracts or job offers. These are the headhunters who frequently contact us through Linkedin in particular.

I am not saying that online social networking does not exist for business. It does work for your “past” connections and it is fantastic for managing all the past connections. It is not a panacea for getting out in the real world though. You have to do some feet on the street or you are just going to be a shadow in the business world.
In fact, I would be careful in dealing with all these virtual connections you have never met before.

This will be more and more of a problem for millennials and young people who have no transparency at all, connect with everybody who asks and think that Facebook should be a place to mix business with pleasure. Remember when Mark Cuban was pushing to remove all our historical tweets on Twitter that could come back to haunt us. He was right! Here are my personal rules for social networking to keep it working correctly and to keep it real. These are all opinion, but you can figure this out on your own the hard way:

1. I personally do not use Facebook for any business dealings. I don’t believe it should be used that way. It is for strictly friends and family. I have seen several instances where it actually impacted people’s careers by using Facebook for both personal and business. If you are a famous brand, then it makes sense as a way to say fun things about your brand! If you are trying to use it for business to build up a business, let me know if you are effective, because I have my doubts.

2. Keep Twitter for business only! I occasionally slip and tweet a personal tweet about something, but I see Twitter as a great way to social network with other business or organization people connecting and promoting my stuff and their stuff. Some people ask me what is Twitter for? I still get this question like once a month. Obviously they are not promoting anything. If they were they would get it. If you use Twitter for personal reasons, well I just see too much exposure there. What I mean by exposure is simply the question of “do you want your business relationships to once again know that you are a pothead?” Not an issue for me, but it could be an issue for you.

3. Linkedin for business! Obviously all your old friends from college connect with you on Linkedin in addition to Facebook. However, notice they end up chatting with you via Facebook in the end! I will give Linkedin kudus in one respect for personal connections. It lets them change their email address and that email address remains with the connection. And most importantly you can find it and email them directly through Gmail without Linkedin. Something that I have not seen on Facebook. Other than that, it is not a personal friendship management system.

So, you may think online social networking is a real thing. I have found it to be a way to improve my real world connections, stay connected, be able to communicate quickly and effectively.

Is online social networking a big networking party in the cloud? I don’t think so.

Is it great for finding new business? This depends. For most people who sell WordPress based and Shopify based ecommerce website services like ours, StartupPOP at http://StartupPOP.com and my other website StrategicPoints at http://strategicpoints.com we find that almost all business comes from direct meetings with people or referrals. Even those $500 get a website posters on street corners are more effective for driving sales of online and ecommerce sites than social networking.

The only social networking that really works in the end is offline social networking!

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If you disagree with me, are a millennial, a social networking expert (one who has not uploaded 30,000 twitter contacts), or think that I am dead wrong, let me know. I obviously don’t know it all. Everything in this post was my opinion of course!