Leveraging Social Media

Often heated arguments erupt between Bambubhai and I over the power of the Social Media. (A quick note: Bambubhai is my sounding board, thick as brick and sharp as a harp with his tongue and wicked wit!!) Oh where was I, ah yes the arguments. He being a SM-hater and me being PRO-SM or New Media as I prefer calling all these great platforms.

Bambubhai: Pah and boo to Social Media, what social media?? This is nothing but intrusion of privacy. I don’t know why fool people want to waste time posting pics and boasting about stuff they would normally dare not get associated with including sloshed out pics and rave parties!!!!! And don’t you ever talk about getting me into all this NONSENSE.

Me: But honey, you don’t get it do you?? You need to be on these platforms and increase your network. Who knows someone may be needing your help right now.

Bambubhai: Like hell I care. If someone wants my help they can call me or meet me. See, that’s what social media does. It takes away the human connect. People spend more time on FB than they do with family. What’s the point? And networking, well I go out for a beer with my boys and yap with the gang. What better way to network, eh??

Naysayer though Bambubhai is, he still has hooked up with buddies across the globe on FB but not capitalized the rich network that Linkedin provides. Well to those of you interested to taste some of my pickled wisdom, here goes:

Facebook not only serves as a great place to hook up with friends, keep tabs on shall we say pppl whom u r green-eyed about, catch up with DJs/RJs/MCs and all the other alphabets, know the latest dos and win free tickets…FB is also a great place to set up your page if you are interested in getting your business/hobbies off the ground. I know of a theatre group, Yourstruly, which has optimally used FB to capture a ready audience.

The like/share button available on FB page also allows you to get more people involved in this type of marketing who would attract even more people on their page to see your project and thus it goes on.

Trick is to keep the content INTERESTING, involve reader participation, encourage comments, make it INTERACTIVE

Linkedin is a great platform to network professionally not only with peers or seniors in your field but related fields too. I have checked out other sites like ApnaCircle and Viadeo but personally, did not get much value from these as compared with Linkedin. (No: not getting paid to promote).

Look up for people whom you know ONLY and get connected. Very simple reason for this thumb rule: you do not want STRANGERS/ppl with whom you share a bad rapport use this site to badmouth you or spike your chances of creating helpful connections.

Join groups that are from your area of expertise or potential area so you can gain valuable insights into the industry or market. Unlike FB where you would go around adding folks with whom u would share a Hi once in six months, be selective about whom you add on in professional networking sites.

I scratch your back, you scratch mine may be crass..but it works best this way for those who are just starting off on a professional networking platform. Later, you can use even more discretion in adding folks on your connected list.

Do not go around plastering recommendation with/from people whom you have not worked on in a personal level. And even if you do, specify the key adjectives on which the commendation can be framed so it at least has credence of authenticity.

Participate in group discussions and follow normal etiquette that you would in a formal face-to-face conversation. Smart alecks and Talking down are not welcome. Initiate discussions. Be genuine.

Twitter isn’t a fad. Yes, I wrote it off a few years back when it started but the micro-blogging platform has survived and thrived despite naysayers like me. I’m a believer in Twitter reach especially after the Brigade Carlton episode. Twitter is yet to be harnessed fully.

Twitter not only provides you the freedom of creating lists but also allows you to create new trending topics with the use of a # tag. Again, follow common day-to-day etiquettes. Your stepping into the loo doesn’t require a 140-word tweet, does it 😉

Blogging is more than a personal journal.

And some new age consultants like businessblogging.com are an eye opener as was the great social media experiment I was privileged to be a part of. CIIConnect 2010 was a great experience and ardently hope that I get the opp to participate in more such events. Meanwhile, remember a blog is a great outlet to outpour your angst and showcase your wit aka ‘A’ Corner but also is a great way to increase your network and visibility.

Whether WordPress or Blogger, all the widgets these blogging hosts provide can be creatively used to increase traffic. Check HellBound Bloggers and Mashable for updated+Tips on optimal use of New Media.

Rules to be followed are same as the other platforms. Refrain from foul language unless that is your USP, but be wary of the followers you attract. Always Pay It Forward. It helps to give because end of it all .. what you give is what you get my friend.

Happy networking, and do keep on coming back to share your valuable insights and great feedback.

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