SOCIAL Media: It’s More Than Just Sharing

“Just talking to people is networking – getting out and socializing, meeting new people and expanding your social groups is networking.”
The Three Secrets to Great Networking

Those simple words were a powerful navigator for me.

I had read so many articles and books about social media. They all talked about when to share your content, how to share your content, how to get more followers, or what to say in your copy of a social update. All of them did not once mention that social media is for socializing, or better known in the business world as networking.

I never put the two together.

Networking was what you did at conferences. And sharing content was what you did on social media. This was my view of how business was done in the modern age.

But you know what? It is no different now than it was 20 years ago before the Internet.

People are still people. Business is still business. And networking for business is still just getting out there and talking to people. The only difference now are the tools. We now have this beautiful yet massive social media system.

Yes, there are so many social media platforms that any newbie online can literally feel like she is getting sucked into this vortex of updates and pages and likes and shares. It can surely be confusing.

Yet, after reading Alan’s book and especially that simple sentence above my social media vortex closed and I knew which direction to surely head.

I was going to socialize. Sure, I’ll still share my articles, articles of other sites and even my photos. But more importantly I was going to talk to people. Literally have conversations in those small areas called the “comment section.”

How to Network on Social Media

How do you start to actually network on social media? The answer is quite simple, you start looking for people like you. People that share your passion for making the best jewelry. Or love accounting just as much as you do. Or even people that simply share your same lifestyle like single dads or working moms or young entrepreneurs. Find a common bond that you both are excited about.

Next, start following, circling or friending these people. Don’t worry if they don’t respond or outright turn you down, there are many others.

Now is the fun part, get to know them. Read their bios, posts and updates. And then the magic happens, converse with them.

The Best Social Media Platforms for Networking

No surprises here, these are what I consider the top 3 social media sites (at least they’re the top at the moment) for conversation and networking:

Google Plus

Though many are still wondering if they should migrate to Google Plus, I say try it out.

I believe it is the top platform for conversation with people in your niche and with your interests.

Google Plus makes conversation very simple. When you share an update you simply mention the person you want to draw attention to by placing a “+” in front of their name. This notifies him or her that someone has tagged them and would like them to take notice. Of course, it is up to the person to respond. If he or she does, let the conversation begin.

Google Plus has also integrated a wonderful feature called “hangouts”. This is when you and 9 other people get to actually meet virtually for discussion. They can be private or open to the public. Who says networking needs to take place in cafes or conferences, hangouts work great.

LinkedIn

One cannot ignore this very powerful platform that literally was set up for networking.

For any professional and business minded individual LinkedIn is where to be.

Start out by making sure your profile is equipped with a great image of you and describes your business. List as much detail as needed as to attract people to network with you. Use keywords that are frequent in your industry. And welcome people in your profile.

Once you have a powerful profile start searching for people in your industry, alumni you may know, people in your contacts or even simply people you know already know from previous interactions. Ask them to connect with you. Once you have connected check out their profiles in depth. Who are they linked to? Would you or your business benefit from linking with that person also? What groups do they belong to? Industry groups are great places to have in depth conversation.

Linking up and growing your network is key to connecting and helping you and your business grow.

As you get to know who is in your network, feel free to recommend them or write a nice experience you had with that person. This only helps to create stronger bonds between you two.

Facebook

Facebook is social media defined. Everyone is social on Facebook. There is a lot of sharing and liking and talking going on.

But is it good for business? Is it a good platform for networking?

Of course, it is just a little harder because people on Facebook are looking for fun not serious business.

So when you network make it fun. Make it interesting and cool.

The best place to network is your own page. The people that follow you are your fans. They like what you like. Talk to them and make them feel at home on your page. Find out how both parties can benefit from a relationship that is started virtually.

Social Media for Socializing, Who Would Have Thought?

In the world of sharing, following, liking and circling, we have been caught up in the idea that social media is simply a place to bombard people with our blog posts and funny updates. This is not true. Social media is for being social.

Conversation and networking do have a place on social media, you just need to know how to do it.

Like Alan said, simply get out there, talk and expand your networks.


Comments

SOCIAL Media: It’s More Than Just Sharing — 12 Comments

  1. Great post, Allie!

    I love that you broke it down and took us back to the ‘social’ in social media.

    Since I provide social media management for a client, it can seem like I do the same redundant tasks every day. But when interaction occurs, that’s when it gets both exciting and rewarding. 😉

    Although the technical aspects are important in order to allow people to see your posts and interact with them, the real goal is to provide value and strike up a conversation. I have formed a lot of close friendships with “strangers” online, and it’s all through networking/social media. Use it and enjoy it!

    Thanks for a personal, yet informative post, Allie and Alan!

    • Jennifer,

      Thanks! Alan really opened my eyes by making networking such a simple task, now I am not so scared on social media.

      It does seem like we do the same task day in and day out, how boring. Yes, we still need to do them but when we get that spark with someone else and a conversation starts, the boring gets fun and interesting. To me, that is what needs to be done in social media.

      Thanks so much for commenting!!

      ~Allie

      • I still suspect we’re going to see a further evolution of social media to make it even easier to do just what you talk about in this article Allie, i.e. having actual social interaction rather than sharing & link dumping.

        I’m not sure what it looks like yet but I bet there will be another shift soon in the way we use these tools – maybe it is just a simpe case of integration – e.g. being able to reply to a comment/status update/post/whatever you want to call it from anywhere – but we’re not quite there yet.

        Perhaps we’re not too far from actual verbal conversations, video conversations and text only conversations all being seamlessly integrated – so something like you could configure your phone to buzz or ring every time someone sends you a message and have the option of continuing that conversation seamlessly via any of the 3 formats in realtime or offline (leaving VM/text or video message).

        just a thought.

  2. I think what you’re saying here is important. When you say that most people talk about when to share and what to share or how to share, you’re focusing too much on one side. Conversations aren’t supposed to be one-sided. It’s suppose to be going back and forth. I know it’s hard to get to know the other person – many people only like to focus on themselves – but it’s necessary.

    I think of networking as getting to know another person. I can’t just share things about myself, what fun is that?

    That’s why I try to connect with like-minded people. That’s why I’m on those networks. It’s always frustrating when people who are blogging about the same things as you or write about very similar topics don’t care to interact with you at all. I always think, “isn’t that the point about being on social media? To connect with people like you?” I guess they don’t think so.

    • Hey steve,

      I know you are someone with very little time – yet when you interact on social media or comment you always leave thoughtful and genuine comments and actually engage in the conversation.

      Which is awesome and just goes to show, even if you don’t have the time, when you do take a few moments to interact, at least interact!

      I couldn’t agree with you more my friend. Thanks for this comment & have a great Xmas.

      The other thing that sometimes gets me is the fact that very often there is one comment and one reply – like ‘I commented, I replied, that’s it, we’re done’ – sometimes it’s appropriate because of the content of the comments but often it’s just an exchange rather than a conversation, which seems odd, especially when people show up then disappear – though that can sometimes be due to notifications not happening properly. On the other hand, when someone just always always asks a question at the end of the comment to try and drag every conversation out just to get as many comments as possible, that’s a bit dodgy too.

      Sorry, how did this become a rant? My bad.

    • Steve,

      I agree, so much of what we see on social media is one-sided. It has gotten to the point where I will comment on an update and the author seems surprised and will give some canned response. It feels fake, almost like they want or expect social media to be one-sided. I find this sad.

      And yes, so many bloggers don’t seem to want to interact. What is wrong with them? It is like they are in their own bubble and can’t get out. If they want to be successful they need to come out of their bubbles and talk to people.

      When I find people on social media especially in my niche, that interact and we have conversations I almost latch on them in desperation. Not that I am desperate to talk to someone but more like someone to talk to on social media. I feel the need to connect and when I finally do, I hold on tight.

      It’s nice to talk to you again. Have great holidays!

      ~Allie

  3. Hey Allie,

    Nice to see you here 🙂

    Yes, indeed. Social media is about socializing 😀 I have been investing a lot of time into commenting and social networking. Well, not so much social networking. I just share, reply to thank yous and so forth. But, they don’t feel like conversations. Most of the conversations I have occur in commenting areas, and that’s why I love commenting 😀

    I do plan to put more effort in social media, look for good communities and engage in them (I have only found a few so far, most of the online communities are just link dumping communities. Not that it isn’t bad, but a community should be about conversations, right?).

    My plan is to divide social media sites into two categories: a permanent set (with sites like Twitter, G+) and a monthly rotating set. The latter will allow me to test out other sites, find if they work for me.

    I am hoping to narrow down the list in 5-6 months (so, I can just concentrate on those sites and stop worrying about not using everything I can to promote my blog posts).

    Anyways, thank you for the awesome post, Allie 🙂 Appreciate it!

    • Jeevan,

      Hey! Nice to see you over here at Alan’s new blog!

      I completely agree. I don’t get when communities on social media just link dump. It frustrates me beyond belief. The concept and definition behind a community is to be a group of people that are in one place working or talking together. At least that is what I believe a community to be.

      And yes, when I find a good community you will find me there often because conversing with people can be fun and such a learning experience.

      Thanks so much for commenting!

      ~Allie

      • Awesome idea about cycling the media Jeevan,

        I love the idea of experimenting, creating systems and finding ways to stay on top of the ever changing technology landscape that we’re faced with.

        Awesome idea!

        P.S. Don’t forget to let us all know the moment your new site goes live.

  4. Excellent points, Allie! I agree with Alan and you! It is really about networking. I think we have lost that idea somewhere along the line. Social media has been about promoting and pushing, not dialog and communication. I am still working my way around G+ – once you get the hang of it, it is great. Facebook is doing my head in, but still valuable, especially if you communicate outside of Facebook, because others will go there to communicate with you if they want to.

    All in all, I think that this idea that social media is about conversation is an excellent tool. Thank you for breaking it down for us. 🙂

  5. Alison,

    Hey! How are you? Nice to see you here!

    I agree, we need more dialog. I can say, at least G+ has Hangouts which can be a great tool to get to know people. Since it is limited to 10 participants the conversation has the potential to be in depth and focused.

    I love Google + for networking. I have found some amazing moms in my niche where we talk in our own circle. It is so easy to using tagging and reply. I have not been able to do anything like that on FB but my page gets pretty good responses, that is all I can ask for there.

    YOu are right, I do get people messaging me via FB every so often, they do use it to communicate.

    Social media is so valuable once you break through the one-sidedness and find people that want that interaction like you do.

    Thanks so much for your comment! Have Happy Holiday!

    ~Allie

    • Hey Allie,

      when you say it’s so easy to use tagging & reply, isn’t that something that Facebook has always had too? I haven’t used it very successfully in the past (or Facebook at all for that matter) and have even been annoyed by getting too many emails saying I’ve been ‘tagged’ in this & that – usually on my birthday, old school class photos or christmas trees with lots of little photos on them – that kind of thing – but I thought FB always had tagging as well. Is it easier or better in G+?

      G+ seem to have a big advantage integrating it with email so you can just rply to mails to continue the conversation via social media but I think Facebook seem to be adding that kind of email integration too…

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