If you are considering joining some now, you should:
Select only a few– it’s better to do a few things really well than to “sort of” do many things. Choose carefully based on your interests, the others involved whether or not the layout/setup makes it easy for you.
Participate – social media doesn’t work if you don’t work it. Signing up and staying quiet is like going to a dance and propping up a wall all night. It’s no fun and it doesn’t help you become more visible to your potentials.
Advertise – if you are a member of a social network and you don’t tell anyone — how will you be found? Many of the people you already know (or those who know you) may be interested in becoming involved with you on a social network — if they know which ones you use…I made the determination some time ago that I couldn’t spare a great deal of time away from clients to do the “connecting” online. Why? Because my schedule was already full and this stuff swept me away. I love communicating with others. I love “talking shop” and to give me those opportunities in abundance is just begging me to abuse it. Seriously.
So I went cold turkey (almost) for awhile. I refused to check out new platforms beyond a cursory glance and I limited my work with the ones I kept. I tried to get a grip on the other things that were going on in my personal life, my family life and my business — FIRST.
So, I didn’t reach out or explore for several months.
Recently, I have gone to take an inventory of where I am and where I need to be. I’ve also investigated and started working with some of the options that I find most interesting. I’d signed up for several accounts, and then hit the “no more” point. My profiles were sadly incomplete.
Now, I’ve gone in and cleaned up some old information, have added some essential new content, have played with new platforms and want to share the best gems I’ve found:
I’ll admit that I didn’t “get” this one when I first heard about it. I figured… “Great, just what I need — ANOTHER thing to make me feel guilty when I slack off.” I figured I already had a blog, a website, a couple blogs on other sites, and a slew of things I needed to do. I didn’t get the coolness of immediate updates. So I started them a couple weeks ago. It’s pretty cool. It allows me to make a quick comment (limited to 140 characters) without feeling the need for a full-bodied blog entry. I like it.
I also put a plugin for my ActiveRain.com blog and one here on WickedBlog to share my “mini-blog” updates. I even have it working on my new iPhone with Hahlo.com, so I can “twitter on the fly!” (Now THAT’s a phrase you probably don’t hear every day.)
I regularly add my two cents to a public blog on this site aimed at new outsourcing providers. I also add regular articles to the Members Only area on topics of interest to those “old hands” among us. It’s a great community of peer providers, offers networking opportunities to those providing services to other industries (like real estate) and offers real estate professionals a place to locate the service providers they need. I’ve been on RemoteProfessionals.com for over two years now. Everyone plays nicely in this small, specialized organization.
This real estate community is blooming (I think they get over 100 new members a day at this point.) I’ve been there for nearly a year now (I joined in October of last year). I really enjoy the community and the involvement of those involved (directly and indirectly) in the real estate industry. Most people “play well with others” but (as with any large group of people) there are occasional blatant exceptions.
Facebook (rather than MySpace)
I’ve all but abandoned my MySpace page, despite a recent invitation to join the “business group” over there. It was always a little too juvenile for my tastes, but I gave it a whirl. I prefer the Facebook layout and the fact that it’s aimed at an older audience (even if the target audience is still much younger than me.) Sadly, I just recently set up my profile and my children just “tsk-tsk” because I have no “friends” on my list. (You could help by buzzing me if you have a FaceBook account, you know!) :O)
It’s getting enough airtime on the web right now, and has become such a blog “darling” that I expect it may draw an more *ahem* mature audience as time goes on. I like the local “geographic” community options for networking and classified pages. We shall see.
I’ll probably use it as a landing page when I’m out with my iPhone (using the iPhone Facebook page announced this month) more that I do pages other than my own blog and website.
There are a slew of excellent blogs in the sphere. Pick a handful to follow. Be sure they are blogs that keep your interest (offer you information you can use and are entertaining). This way you can learn, enjoy the journey and can leave a trail of intelligent comments and bits of praise on other well-written blogs. I highlight a few of my favorite blogs and other excellent finds on my Slick Saturday Sites feature from time to time.
Aimed primarily for the business folk among us, this can be a great way to “link up” with potential clients and to network with peers. I find it a bit more cumbersome to set up than most social media options, but created a profile there ages ago and have finally started actually networking a bit. This isn’t one of my favorites, but many swear by it.
Honestly, I use this more for fun than for networking, although I have some peers and clients that have extremely good luck with the social networking facet of this cool little tool. I prefer to just use it as a Firefox browser addon to locate extremely good sites in areas that interest me.
If you are a real estate agent, if you work with agents or if you are in a related industry, this may be a great forums site for you to tout what you know. It’s not one of my primary sites, but I do go over and poke around occasionally to post or answer questions. If you have the discipline to schedule your social media “touches” you may want to add this one to the once a month list. It will help drive traffic back to your site and submissions here can often pop up fairly well in the search engines.
I have spent quite a bit of time over on Yahoo! Answers giving my 2 cents worth in the past. Currently, I almost never go there, but I can say that if you are just establishing your prowess in a particular area of expertise, this may be a great way to get traffic back to your own site(s). I still have incoming traffic from answers I posted months and months ago. If you are a busy person, and you have plenty of incoming traffic, this probably isn’t the best use of your time on a regular basis.
I still go over when I have a specific interest in something — or if I have learned something new and interesting — and do a search for questions on that topic. It’s also a great way to get a direct link back to a specific article you have written on your own site about that topic. (Use the resources section and make sure you have a live HTML link to your more “expansive” treatment of that particular topic. I don’t really use it to ask questions, however.
Although this is not really social media site, it is a great “buzz builder” on your skills/knowledge in your area of expertise, so I just had to throw it in. Take a few moments and check it out.
(Note: Image taken from Morguefile.com courtesy of photographer hotblack.)