Social Media – A Valuable Opportunity? Pt. 2: Saving time / Become a leader

I find myself discussing my Navy experience a lot lately.  Perhaps it’s because I went to Chicago’s Air and Water Show for the very first time.  Or, it could be because I’m on the job hunt and I list my military experience on my resume. (Potential employers always ask about it, even though it was 10+ years ago.)  Whatever the case may be, my maritime adventures have been popping up left and right.

I remembered living on a street called Rickover Circle (don’t ask me how I remember this).  The street was in honor of the late Admiral Hyman Rickover, the “father” of the nuclear Navy (and apparently one tough cookie).  According to Wikipedia, the admiral was, “Hyperactive, political, blunt, confrontational, insulting, flamboyant, and an unexcelled workaholic who was always demanding of others – without regard for rank or position – as well as himself.” It also states he had “little tolerance for mediocrity, none for stupidity.” And a Chicago friend of the Admiral’s quipped, “If a man is dumb, Rickover thinks he ought to be dead.”

Maybe a bit over the top, but I would have liked the chance to bounce ideas and see how he felt about certain current events.  Economic downturns – yes; Octomom or Michael Jackson – probably not.

Speaking of great conversations, I recently attended a new discussion group called “Social Media Breakfast” where leaders in social media conduct round table discussions in regards to practice.  I was lucky enough to take part in the social media utilization and business development, basically asking, “How can my company generate new business utilizing social media?”

We discussed how to utilize Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter for lead generation, talked about how to divulge the appropriate balance of personal and business information with the masses, and which mediums worked best for achieving those goals.  The discussion proved mostly fruitful and I learned a few things.

Point of interest #1:  “Where do you get your information that you share with your contacts?”  More specifically – where does one get the information they re-tweet, link back, or share on Facebook?

Answers were all over the board (news sites, blogs, journals, AdAge, etc.) and were all great responses but one thing dawned on me afterward - THESE PEOPLE ARE MOST LIKELY WASTING TIME AND WORKING TOO HARD AT COLLECTING THE INFORMATION. Wouldn’t this be an ideal situation to implement multiple RSS feeds to your reader?  These practitioners should take the time to have all their frequently visited sites brought to one location (say Google Reader, for instance).  It would save them incredible amounts of time and energy, allowing them to scan all of their resources in one location.  Then, as they scan multiple articles or posts of interest, they can take the interesting ones and share across multiple venues.  It just makes things easier and saves much needed time.  If you don’t understand aggregators or readers, read more about them here.

Point of interest #2: “How do you want to be known in the virtual world?”  I took this to mean how does a person not only want to be seen but understood. To me, it means:

Be a leader.  Be a contributor.  Be a networker.

A successful person can utilize a variety of mechanisms and gain notoriety in the social media world.  Find an interesting topic and start a new group on Facebook or LinkedIn.  After you market it like crazy, you instantly gain a larger network and create a platform for sharing ideas.  You can moderate members, allowing people you want in and blocking spammers.  Utilize these newly discovered resources by picking their brains – investigate what people find successful in business and find out what methods didn’t work.

Contribute to message boards you find interesting.  (I’ve found the response rate from LinkedIn to have an extremely high rate of return, compared to Facebook and twitter).  Send out tweets on topics you find interesting in your group, thereby generating interest and new members.  Use hashtags to track and follow your posts on Tweetdeck, keeping up with anyone retweeting your stuff, and invite them to join other interesting groups.  Make posts interesting and fun.  Growing your network is like a big pond full of fish…all you need to bait your hook accordingly.  By the way, feel free to follow me, friend me or link me by hitting up the links to the right.

Networking, in my opinion, remains the number one medium for lead generation, peer evaluation, job hunting success and a great way to improve your business. Imagine you have an Admiral Rickover in your office and impress the hell out of them (if you ask me, this sounds like a bullet point for your annual review). If you’re willing to invest in the needs of others with social media, it can provide new ways to expand your networks in ways you never thought possible.

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