Warning: This post contains nothing of substance and is primarily just a rambling of my thoughts regarding social marketing. You won’t learn anything here, but you may find someone of similar mind. If so, comments are always appreciated! And if nothing else, this post has a image!
It will come as no surprise to anybody who knows me; I’m not a social butterfly. Put me in a room with 20 other people I don’t know, and I’m the guy sitting back watching everybody interact. Small talk is difficult for me, and I tend to bore people with business talk. In fact, if I’m not talking business, I really don’t have much to say… aside from cracking a few jokes at someone else’s expense (a skill that I have honed to near perfection.)
Just to give you an example, a few weeks back I went to a Kings game at Arco Arena. I spent most of my time analyzing the ad displays all over, how often they changed and how relevant they were. Need more? I watched the Superbowl but didn’t actually see the game. I spent most of the time rewinding the commercials so I could blog about them.
My lack of social and networking skills has posed a significant “opportunity” (code word for “problem”) for me in business. Like many business people, I spend most of my time operating my business and very little developing relationships. For much of our ten years in business, I’ve operated as an island. It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve actually started developing relationships in the SEO community. I’ve made it a goal to become known and, to a large extent, I have succeeded at that. The problem is, I still don’t socialize much.
Adding insult to injury, the online world has become a hotbed for social sites. I remember years ago participating in chat rooms on Yahoo, but that was always short-lived. Then it was online forums, and I found one or two to participate in for a while, and then I would disappear. Then blogs, which I scan a great deal but never spent any significant time commenting on. And now there is MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, Mixx and a whole host of other social media sites. Not to mention the offline networking functions such as AMA, Chamber of Commerce and other local clubs that bring business people together.
As someone who gets no more than six hours of sleep on weeknights, puts in 50-60 hours a week working at home or the office, tries to make time for my wife and five kids and get in a few hours of leisurely activities each week, I wonder, how does anybody have the time to socialize?
I suspect for some it’s just a way of life. For people like me, it’s a chore. I’ve got a friend who can strike up a conversation with anybody anywhere. I don’t like to small talk, so talking to anybody, anywhere is more of a chore. Sure I can make a good crack about someone, but that’s not the fast track to making friends.
Online socializing and networking isn’t the same as offline, but there are some similarities. Both take time and both necessitate the need to be involved with more than one group. That means building multiple profiles, participating in the community, engaging others, etc. etc. etc. In fact, just about the only difference between the two is whether you meet people fact to face or not.
So here I am, sitting on the outside of the social marketing world (both on- and offline) and slowing working my way in. But here is one thing I know: While it’s good to be recognized within your industry, good social networking should get you outside of your industry. After all, business doesn’t come from your competitors.