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Mastering Social Media: Dr. Ivan Misner Explains

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Listen to my podcast with Dr. Ivan Misner, a networking specialist and author of the new book, Networking Like a Pro. In this podcast we discuss enterprises use and misuse of social media and exactly how the experts use social media.

Listen to or download the 8:21 minute podcast below:

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PS: What are the top three mistakes businesses make in social media networking?

IM: Absolutely, the first and foremost is spending too much time on nonproductive things, jumping down rabbit holes, going from one link to another and kind of getting off track as to why they should be on there. That's absolutely the biggest mistake I've seen. The next is not leveraging their time effectively, not doing things and techniques online that will leverage their efforts. And I think the third is assuming that they're going to generate business quickly. This is not a get-rich-quick-scheme social networking and so you really got to have a plan and it takes time for it to be implemented effectively.

The next question that follows is what is this ideal plan for the most effective and efficient social media?

Well, you have to go into it understanding that it's about brand building. There's a concept that I have that applies to both face-to-face networking and online networking and it's called the VCP process. VCP stands for visibility, credibility, profitability. And what basically what it means is you first have to be visible. People have to know who you are and what you do. And this is chronological so it goes from one to the next.

The second is credibility. That's where people know who you are, what you do, and they know you're good at it. The third phase is profitably where people know who you are, what you do, that you're good at it and, and they're willing to do business with you, they're willing to refer you or use you. And so it takes time to go through those three processes. So the ideal strategy is understanding that this process -- online social networking as well as face-to-face networking but online social in particulars is a brand builder -- it's building you, and your name, and your company as a brand.

And so, it's very important that you have a plan where you're going to spend a certain amount of time each week on it. It doesn't have to be a lot of time. It can be 10, 15 minutes, three, four, five days a week. Certainly, if you can connect on it on a daily basis but there are ways to leverage your time, which I can talk about here during this interview. There are ways to leverage your time to make it more effective. So have a plan and understand it's about brand building and that you have to go through those three stages if you want to be effective at this.

Great. Now can you drill down a little bit more on how much time they should be spending on both Facebook and Twitter?

Absolutely. Leveraging your time is a way of really eliminating a lot of the time that people are spending. For example, a lot of people go to Facebook, and then from Facebook, they go to Twitter, and then from Twitter, they go to LinkedIn. There are techniques that you can use and systems and computer software that will allow you to, basically, communicate on all three at the same time. There are programs like Seesmic, S-E-E-S-M-I-C.com, Ping.fm, CoTweet. These different programs allow you to go to one site and let's say you want to -- right now I'm in New Orleans at a conference and so I want to let everybody know on my LinkedIn, my Facebook, my Twitter, all my accounts that I'm in New Orleans. I can to go Ping.fm, or Seesmic.com and just put in a message, I'm in New Orleans at the Referral Institute Conference. In all of my social networks that gets posted.

When I have a news brief, on BNI.com, if I say something in my news brief that automatically flows out to all the sites so it looks like I'm spending hours on all of these when in fact, it's literally minutes. And so, you can have an effective system of managing your social networks at 10, 15 minutes a day, 20 minutes a day is all it takes. You can use systems like CoTweet where you can actually scheduled your tweets. So my new book that just come out, Networking Like a Pro, I've taken short excerpts from the book and my business operates in 24 different time zones. So I schedule the tweets to go out three times a day at different times during the day. So it looks like I'm getting on there and sending these out every four, five, six, seven hours when in fact I've just scheduled it on CoTweet. So you can leverage your time and literally spend a fairly short amount of time and still be active on all of these sites in terms of sending messages out.

Right. I actually use Seesmic myself and Twitter didn't really even make sense until I started using it through Seesmic. Now how long should a company look until they start to see a return on their online investment?

There's a concept that I write about called the "time confidence curve" and it think that's really applicable here. It varies depending on your profession. And you have to remember that it's going to take a certain amount of time before people have confidence in your ability to provide a quality product for service. So if you're a florist, the time confidence curve is short. If you're a printer, it's a little bit longer. Somebody will use a florist pretty quickly. They might go to a printer fairly quickly. If you're a real estate agent, it's going to be longer. If you're a financial planner who's investing people's retirement income, you're at the end of the time confidence curve. It's going to take a long time before people have confidence in your ability to provide a quality product or service. So it really depends on the profession. You have to kind of look at your profession in terms of other professions, but the short answer is you're looking at six months to a year before you get from visibility to credibility if you're using your network effectively. If you're on there regularly and communicating regularly, you're looking at six months to a year minimum to establish that kind of credibility.

Very interesting. Now how should enterprises evaluate this return on their investment of time?

Well, you have to remember that in my opinion it's a brand builder. I had a PR consultant many years ago when I came out with my first book. And she said to me, Look, Ivan if you think you're going to sell a ton of books through the public relations that you're doing, think again. It's about building your name, building your credibility, and it's a slow build that grows over time. And yes, we absolutely will help sell some books but it's about building your brand.

I say that because I think it's the same for social networks. It's about building you as a brand. Building your expertise, building your credibility and it will take a fair amount of time before that happens. One of the things that you can do to help eliminate some of your effort that I'm not sure I talked about yet is use nonproductive time to get online. If 9 to 5 is when you're most productive and you're dealing with clients the most, then you know what, get online at 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 at night to do some of this stuff. So what happens is a lot of business people get online and they're doing this kind of stuff during their most productive time period and that's the last time you should be doing this kind of thing.

I think the one truism in social media is you really cannot afford to ignore it because somebody else is doing it as well.

Yeah, there's one more thing that I would add. In order to access your success, which was the primary question, you want to use systems like Google Analytics to track your websites and there are many other analytic programs that you can use to track the kind of click-throughs that you're getting on a lot of your activities and that's important too. But sometimes you'll need to bring in an IT person to help you with some of that.

Excellent info, Ivan, Those listening make sure you check out his book, Networking Like a Pro.

1 Comment

Tremendously useful - thanks.

ebizQ’s expert blog team covers a broad range of BPM, business integration, business analytics/monitoring, collaboration, content and related issues.

Peter Schooff

Peter Schooff is Contributing Editor at ebizQ, and manager of the ebizQ Forum. Contact him at pschooff@techtarget.com

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