About one month ago I decided to deeply establish myself in Social Media. I figured that this was a way to find new clients. So here’s a report on my successes and failures so far, along with some observations.
In the interest of BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) here are my conclusions:
THE BOTTOM LINE? For your business; should you be on Social Networks? I’ll let Business Week Magazine answer for me from their article on the subject:
Social Media Will Change Your Business
Look past the yakkers, hobbyists, and political mobs. Your customers and rivals are figuring blogs out. Our advice: Catch up…or catch you later
Spend your time on LinkedIn and Facebook. Connect with your friends and business associates and make a point to put a little bit of work into it each week.
Now the details:
LinkedIn- This is THE BUSINESS Social Network. When I started I had 18 connections- today I have 97. Not so impressive, but not bad either. I’ve joined several groups and I joined an off site Yahoo group for LinkedIn Power Networkers. According to LinkedIn I have 97 1st Degree Connections, 36,400 2nd Degree and over 2,845,000 3rd Degree Connections (see graphic above). If nothing else that’s a good marketing ploy.
Progress towards finding new clients: I’ve had some inquiries about potential freelance projects. However, they’ve only been inquiries, I keep chasing they keep dodging.
Facebook- This is the FASTEST growing Social Network. Which seems to be primarily targeted at college kids but it’s growing up quickly. I started with 6 Facebook Friends a month ago, now I have 115. I’m in all sorts of business groups but they are mostly crap as far as I can see. The public pages, and emails from them are mainly get rich quick schemes, “try this new pyramid scheme it’s different than the last one!” But
However, Facebook allows me to tie in my LinkedIn network and my blog. So the Facebook page is active and constantly updated. I’m putting some time into Facebook because my friend Jason Alba was kind enough to send me an advance copy of his new book “I’m On Facebook, Now What?” (Jason I promise the review asap! But if you don’t want to wait for my review- get the book it’s great!)
Progress towards finding clients: a few nibbles, but nothing solid.
MySpace- The largest but in popular decline Social Network. After spending some time poking around MySpace I decided to not put too much work into it. This is because all of the under 30’s I spoke with told me it’s overrun by spam and pyramid schemes etc. My throughly unscientific investigation confirmed that impression so I have a page but try to direct people to my website or LinkedIn.
Progress towards a Clients: zilch.
Plaxo- is billed as the “Address Book for Life”. I’m not using it that way, I’m using it as a a LinkedIn alternative. Plaxo is a much more global community, I’ve got friends all around the world, which is kind of neat. In addition, it is a kind of aggregator because it will pull your LinkedIn activity, your Twitter posts, you Facebook updates and put them all into the “Plaxo Pulse.” Which is a kind of collection of all the social things you and all of your Plaxo friends do on the web.
Progress towards new clients: I’ve gotten some freelance inquiries from here too. To tell the truth, Plaxo is the most active of all of my social networks with the least degree of care and feeding required. It seems that people there want to connect with me- does that mean I’m an easy mark? I hope not…
Twitter- Isn’t at all like the other sites listed here, a public instant messaging site that is popular with bloggers. You “friend” (btw, I hate verbing nouns) people and then you can see what they say and they may friend you back, or not. Watching the Twitter stream can be intoxicating, and addictive. Twitter will automatically post your new blog posts so all of the Twitteratti can see it.
Progress towards new clients: Twitter has actually gotten me some freelance work. Therefore, for the purposes of this article it’s the only winner.
Flickr, Pownce, Rize, HelloTxt, etc. I’ve tried these sites, I have pages and I’ve not spent much time with any of them. But here’s a quick run down from my perspective:
Flickr- very popular photo and graphic sharing site. I’m not very graphic, but I use it as the source for all of the images I use on this blog. It would be easy to not care and simply grab any picture I wanted but that’s not right. Instead I use images that are marked, OK for Commercial Use and I always label them with the original artist’s Flickr ID.
Pownce- an alternative to Twitter. I don’t use it because I can’t find a Firefox plugin. Twitter has a FF plugin so you can use it as if it were your bookmarks window on the side. However, Twitter has had some outages recently so, maybe Pownce afterall…
Rize- billed as an alternative to LinkedIn. Appears to be very strongly female oriented with a large female membership. I was offered a premium membership temporarily, and I’ve since let it lapse because I saw almost no activity.
Tanks for reading,