I took notes in 2011. About a lot of stuff. Here are some of the top things I learned last year from scouring all of my social media platforms. It’s not all I learned, to be sure. And they are in no order. But here are some observations I made by being on social media every day last year:
1- The telephone is really the most powerful social media utility. I saw several articles last year on this very topic. For all of the domination that social media takes in the news, the telephone rests in the background, quiet, with its sovereignty. I have made copious amounts of new connections in the past year from social media. They were all solidified by picking up the phone. I made a lot of new sales leads from social networking platforms. The telephone sealed the deals. Social media is not going anywhere. And neither is the phone.
2- Small businesses don’t really care about or know about social media - but they have enough prescience to know they need to. I know this isn’t all small businesses. And it is even some big businesses that carry this attitude. But we have to be honest about who is really on our beloved social media platforms with us right now.
My career is in the recruiting industry… plus. In late Spring I had a friend invite me to lunch to ask about Twitter. He had no clue. At all. I showed him how I used it to promote our work. We talked about the technologies and waxed a bit philosophical regarding the positive and negative impacts SM is having, and may have, on humankind. I set some stuff up for him. He had the audacity to go and tell his buddy. Another lunch. Another setup.
By December I had been in contact with over 12 different small business owners who don’t care about Twitter and facebook - some even abhor social media - but they somehow knew they needed… wait for it… a presence there.
Then, being in the recruiting and career field, college students began to approach me.
I am no self-touting guru of the social media space. But I am not dumb either. Let the Mashable types and the big guys consult for the other big guys. I know a lot about social media (sometimes I even know a couple tricks the big guys don’t know). More importantly, I know how to engage and when. Any fool can see that skill-set matches a need. There is a market in your area, too. There are businesses that want someone to worry about social media for them. I now do recruiting work and… Dear God, social media consulting.
So now I have a little page. Check it out and give me a “like” press: http://www.facebook.com/HeyOverbey
3- Linkedin has limits. Gasp! I am in love with Linkedin. No doubt. But I am not going to marry it. Being a sourcer (developing the names of top talent for open positions) I naturally use the platform. And I cannot wait to be a LION or GORILLA or whatever it is. But it has limits. As with facebook and Twitter, there are duplicate accounts, deceased accounts, placeholder accounts and most severe of all… accounts that are not updated and fresh. A lot of the information on Linkedin is stale and has just been sitting there. Once people get the job they want they do not go back to update. I use it every single day - weekends, too. But see #1 above. To really be adept at using Linkedin we have to know its limits.
4- Tailored Google search results. I did not know. I thought the web was free. Not in cost but in exchange of ideas and information. I felt silly that I didn’t know this. But when I found out that Google uses my IP address, the location of my laptop, my previous search queries, and more to determine what appears when I make a search, I was changed. I have a responsibility to genuinely sift through what has been presented to me for my consumption. When important, I will cross-search with http://www.duckduckgo.com They do not track.
5- Twitter bio importance. Of all of my 5,000 Tweets last year I got the most ReTweets on this one:
“Google uses the keywords in your Twitter bio to help determine how you appear in search results. Choose your words carefully!”
So load it up with some juicy keywords. Whether you are in sales, a job hunter, a quilt maker or a rapper… make every word in your Twitter bio do hard work for you.
6- Linkedin skills section. Even as late as the Fall people did not know about this. To be found by recruiters, people looking for your small business, or other possible connections, fill out your skills section on Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/skills/?trk=skills-global-nav
7- Why Google+ really does matter. I am not going to argue the finer points of Google+ vs. facebook. Or, will Google+ die off? My only point is discovery. So go to do a search on Google right now. The very first tab in the top black header bar is +You. Google is ubiquitous. They are the #1 search engine. They use your Google+ profile to affect searches about you and your product or message. Don’t you want to manage that by owning this piece that they will use in query results surrounding your name? Still don’t need a Google+ profile? Even one as a placeholder?
8- There is no such thing as a social media expert. Social media is changing weekly. Sometimes it feels like the coders don’t even know what they are doing. Like almost every day now that Twitter hiccups on me in mid-Tweet. The powerhouses are those people who stay on top of the trends and tweaks and adapt. It’s a Darwinian-type thing. I cringe when people call themselves an expert in social media. An expert would have known 5 years ago that a Pakistani Twitter user would have captured photos of the US raid on Bin Laden and tweeted it before the world knew he was dead. No one dreamt of that utility. Not to mention the impact of overthrowing governments in the Arab Spring. We simply do not know where social media is going. It is powerful. It isn’t a fad. We have no idea how it will be used next… or what layout will be introduced tomorrow. Each time a platform makes a layout change, the way users interact with the site changes at a visceral level. How can someone be an expert on that? All we can do is immerse ourselves in the arena and change as it changes and pass that information along in our message and business.
9- Empire Avenue. Ick. I didn’t even want to include this one. People in my network, especially on Twitter, loathe and despise it. I think a big reason is that recruiters thought initially that they could source candidates from it. Of course they could not. Not really. But if you look at it as a social media game you might be able to get some uses out of it. I never Tweet about it or even talk about it, really. But I cannot deny - in any way- that Empire Avenue has introduced me to a lot of people I would have otherwise not connected with. I’m all about the networking stuff. I have been introduced to great new content. I have even gotten 103 new likes for my facebook page in the last two weeks of December from it. Instead of Modern Warfare, I play Empire Avenue - and I get a lot of useful bonuses out of it. Of course, if one is using social media platforms solely to develop a pipeline of candidates for their open positions, EA is probably not “for them”. But if networking is a passion, check it out.
10- Klout measures engagement, not influence. I our Klout score app bemoaned on Twitter every day. But Klout is definitely a useful tool. Not for measuring influence, I don’t think. Having influence over someone means you drive them to a measurable action. To a purchase, to organize around an idea, to do something about your message you can monitor in spreadsheets and with pie charts. Klout cannot track that. They are tremendously adept at measuring engagement though. For social media, engagement is where you get things done. Engagement is king. When I changed my perspective on what they actually measured, I got a lot more out of Klout. I even wrote a somewhat funny piece on it: http://heyoverbey.tumblr.com/post/12005750768/klout-blondes-and-other-distractions
So if we think of the score as an engagement number then I think we use it better.
And P.S., I have some +K to give away so let me know if you need some. Seriously!
11- Three types of successful personalities on social media. We have (a) the controversial or pot stirrer (b) the funny one and, although no good deed goes unpunished, (c) the genuine helper. There may be others (I’m thinking about those in the art community niche). These three are my favorites. The mundane and the repetitive get ignored… and blocked. I think what people mean when they tell us in blogs and posts “to produce quality content” is to be genuinely helpful, sometimes controversial or maverick, and be humorous. I just never hear them articulate it that well. Look up synonyms to adjectives. Vary sentence length. Like this. And vary the structure of your sentences. Poke fun of yourself. Tease the senses. And for the love of all things holy, please suck up to people. Don’t be sloppy about it. But mention, ReTweet & share, and read their work and comment on it.
12- Wordy is so 1911. Link to your blog and articles and keep the posts short.
There it is. Twelve musings from my social media diary. I would love some heated and juicy comments.