The Lazy Social Networker

AppleOrchard

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The lazy social networker opens a Twitter account, throws up a few inspirational tweets and a bunch of RTs, and expects the world to roll out a red carpet and hand over an Oscar for Best Performance. This year.

The lazy social networker buys into the notion that more hashtags will mean more followers, which will mean a bigger reputation, which will somehow lead to more fame and riches. Quickly.

The lazy social networker follows all the advice about writing blogs with Top 10 lists and newsjacking topics, contributing to the tsunami of noise without producing any valuable signal.

The lazy social networker then gives up when it doesn’t “work.” Little effort did not produce the anticipated big return.

Be prepared to spread a lot of useful seed, in the form of thoughtful content. Be prepared to water that effort with purposeful and caring relationship-cultivation. Be prepared to rinse and repeat for the long haul, and experience the outflow of a lot of effort with, perhaps, a good bit less return than you ever anticipated.

In other words, be prepared to work. Just like every other worthy endeavor. There may be a lot of effort with little return – for a season.

That’s how agriculture works. That’s how business works. That’s how life works.

The lazy social networker will fade off. As for you, be in it for the long haul. You’re building relationships and adding value, not grasping at some cheap short-term applause.

You’re growing an orchard, not inflating a balloon. The fruit comes in abundance — over time.

This Week’s Networking Boomerang

What is the value of investing in building a great network of people? I think it was Chris Brogan that recently pointed out the distinction between thinking of ROI (which, in my opinion, is a fine metric for a specific tactical business approaches) vs thinking of the overall value of social networking.

One huge value of social networking is that, when you add value to others and build bridges with them, good people will add value back. It’s the boomerang effect.

Sounds nice in theory, right? But here’s the value in practice, just this week:

Example 1: We had an oven that died. While my wife attempted to find a source in the traditional way, I tossed it out on Twitter, which is now my default Help Desk.

Result? Immediate response by a friend, pointing a semi-local dealer he knew of on Twitter – which company responded immediately by Twitter and phone, and got the business in minutes.

How cool is that?

Example 2: This week, I confirmed a speaking engagement as a panelist discussing social media for automobile dealers. How did I get approached for this? Peter Shankman (who became an Ironman last week – good going, man!). Peter and I got together a few months back just to chat and get to know one another. He recommended me for this opportunity. Then, in order to help with my preparation, I put out a blog post and linked it on Twitter, asking people for links and resources on social media and automotive dealers. Within a few hours, I had everything I needed via crowdsourcing for a post-event list of resources and case studies.

Example 3: I met this week with someone from a healthcare agency interested in having workshops for social media and project management (two of my sweet spots). I didn’t know these folks from Adam and Eve, but they approached me because someone else in my pharma network passed my name along and recommended me. This is the second time in the past 6 weeks I’ve had an agency approach me this way via a third-party recommendation (thanks, Rich and Jon!)

Example 4: We’re about six weeks into our weekly #LeadershipChat on Twitter, and this past week’s on Passion was wonderfully helpful and lively. How did LeadershipChat come about? Lisa Petrilli reached out to me via social networking this spring, we met at SOBCon Chicago, and have been collaborating since. Also, via networking, Lisa got to know Tom Martin, and together with Lisa Diomede, they put together this week’s CocktailsforCauses event in Chicago.

Now, that actually isn’t everything that happened this week. And I’m not even listing the boomerangs that went out for others, which will bear fruit in their lives and businesses. Or the important, sometimes life-saving things that happen via social networks totally outside of “business value.”

When people obsess over the “ROI of Social Media,” I’m forced to smile somewhat. Who can trace the actual ROI of all the hours and effort that have gone into building an opportunity network? But, is there value? – oh, yes! The boomerangs have only just begun to fly…!

Build your network. Feed your network. Be ready for the boomerang.

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Three Network Realities Nobody’s Going to Stop

For companies being “disrupted” by the new networked communications culture we’re entering, it can all seem like a major threat.

It’s an opportunity. Better still, it’s a fountain of opportunities – if you look forward and not backward.

Pandora’s box is wide open, and we’re in the midst of a revolution. Continual disintermediation. Unlimited self-expression. Bottom-up community-building. Personal control.

This is not just social media. It’s the tide of technology driving point-to-point, peer-to-peer, person-to-person real-time access.

Here are the three realities to embrace, which will shape the way we do business:

1. Connecting opens up new opportunities

2. Collaboration creates bigger pies

3. Communities (co-operations) will become the new corporation

It’s time to stop thinking about “companies,” and to realize that the new, more organic, more human and evolving structure will be the networked organization, in whatever form(s) that takes.

I, for one, welcome it!

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The Twitter Help Desk

I have the best Help Desk in the world. It’s called my network of smart people on Twitter.

Just yesterday, one of my partners (my biz model is operating as the eHarmony of pharma training and e-marketing – matching up my business partners with client needs) asked me about a need they have to control distribution of .pdf files. How to limit the viewing/copying of files to a set number of licenses?

I was clueless, but I turned to my network on Twitter. In short order, four responses (so far) came back:

All of this occurred in a short period of time, and I was able to just pass on the suggested resources to the person who asked. Investment of time? Minimal. Good will created all around? Plenty. Because people like to help and share, at least good quality folks – and those are the kind you want in your network.

Here’s the point – build your social network by identifying really great people, who are smart and have a pay-it-forward mentality. Add value regularly – be helpful and generous when they have needs. And you’ll find that they are more than happy to add value back. Many times I’ve turned to my Twitter Help Desk, and I cannot recall being disappointed.

Just remember – it’s not about Twitter, and it’s not about having 100,000 “followers.” It’s about building a smart network. Do that, and you give yourself a totally unfair advantage!

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Getting Started: Social Networking

It can be a little bit intimidating for many folks, getting started with social networking. What’s a blog? How can I use LinkedIn? Should I be on Facebook? Does Twitter matter? How do I start?

Cover_smEvery active networker had to just…start…at some point. Maybe we can make things a little easier.

Here is a free e-book(let) download for those looking to get involved (or more deeply involved) with social networking: Getting Started with Social Networking. A condensed slide show is also available here on Slideshare.

The e-booklet is only 15 pages, but it’s packed full of helpful links and advice. Briefly, the What and Why of social networking is covered, then in a very practical step-by-step fashion, the How. Plus, there is a bonus Appendix with worksheet to help you define your “personal brand” and refine your message.

There is also a special Appendix with resources for pharmaceutical professionals.

Many thanks to those bloggers who provide such valuable/linkable content, as well as those who helped with suggestions, reviews, and edits;  Chris Brogan, Angela Maiers, Kirsten Wright, David Armano (cover graphic), Robin Broitman, Ann Handley, Mike Sansone, Doug Meacham, Tom Clifford, Ross Teasley, Jonathan Richman, Marina Martin, the Mashable team, the Commoncraft team, Molly Infolode, Jennifer Berk, Byron Woodson, Liz Scherer, Dawn Foster, Dan Schawbel, Brian Solis, Guy Kawasaki, Nick O’Neill, the Butterscotch team, the eHow team, Alison Driscoll, Kirsti Scott, Dave Fleet, Darren Rowse, Paul Chaney, Gavin Heaton, Liz Strauss, Lisa Hoffmann, Beth Harte, Karen Swim, Mack Collier Shwen Gwee, John Mack, Deirdre Breakenridge, and Ellen Hoenig Carlson (hopefully I haven’t forgotten anyone!)

Feel free to share the link, or forward the .pdf file, freely to any who may benefit from it.

AND – if you want more (free e-book) starter guides, check out this one by the always-helpful Amber Naslund, and this broader view from Antony Mayfield.

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Five in the Morning 012809

10 Ways Social Media will Change in 2009. From ReadWriteWeb. Mostly self-evident stuff, but everyone on Twitter was re-tweeting it, so it must be authoritative and all that…right?

Rohit Bhargava gives us Six Non-salesy Ways to Ask your Customer to Promote You.

Chip and Dan Heath write for Fast Company on Incentives – Irresistible, Effective, and Likely to Backfire. Thought-provoking and a bit amusing.

9 Blog Failures and Remedies. Good, practical stuff from Jay Baer.

While we’re doing 6 this, 9 that, 5 the other – here’s 10 Ways to Increase your Twitter Followers. Actually, this isn’t one of “those” posts (“I got 6 billion Twitter followers in 7 days!!”) – these are pretty helpful practices, from someone who should know, Kevin Rose.

PLUS: From Jon Swanson. Reverberant Silence. Just read it – and think.

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It’s great when we move beyond virtual, into real-life. Enjoyed a great tweetup last night in NYC (thanks, Chris Kieff and Ripple6!) with Jason Falls, CK, David Polinchock, CB Whittemore, Jon Burg, and many others.

ripple6tweetup

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Five in the Morning 121508

5-lit-upSocial Media Predictions 2009 – a bunch of them from top bloggers, all consolidated in one free download! Cool. Thanks for the link, Joe Jaffe!

Writer’s Toolbox – 35 best tools for writing online. You’ll be familiar with a bunch in the top half of the list, but the second half has some less familiar resources.

Brands don’t belong on Twitter! Brands absolutely do belong on Twitter! Point – counterpoint, from the Mashable blog. What do you think?

ROI and Social Media. Here’s an interesting take, from the training world – a 4-point framework for measurement, based on Kirkpatrick (I’ve been involved in the training industry for years, so this is an interesting spin). From Mel Aclaro. Plus, is it easier to measure ROI from social media as opposed to traditional media? Thought-provoking post from Jacob Morgan.

Chris Brogan addresses the whole blow-up over sponsored advertising on a blog post. Really, folks, take a deep breath. The guy practices full disclosure, he experiments with new methods for advancing on-line business – what’s the problem here? Are we chasing some mythical ideal of the pure Oracle (sorry, Larry Ellison – not your Oracle) that will speak to us from on high with no taint of personal bias, no worldly interests, no brushes with the horrible and impure practice of commerce? If that’s what you’re looking for, then you’re after some Kool-Aid that you’re not going to find anywhere in the blogosphere – or on planet Earth, for that matter. Social media (or any type of media outlet) is not populated with angelic beings practicing “pure” journalism, “pure” conversation, or “pure” anything else. I have enough to keep busy striving toward some level of personal purity of heart, let alone imposing unrealistic expectations of “purity” on other bloggers. Sheesh…!

PLUS – an example of clear communications (under 140 characters!) from a 7-year old.

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Five in the Morning 121108

John Moore (Brand Autopsy) begins a series sharing thoughts from Inside Drucker’s Brain (IDB Project). Intro here, first post here.

27 Practical Ideas that will Transform Every Organization. Distilled wisdom from Tom Peters.

The Catchup Lady breaks up with UmbrellaToday.com. Why? Well, you just gotta deliver the goods…

Kirsten Wright shares the ABCs of creativity. Well, 25 of them. Can anyone help her with “x”?

Blogger’s Choice winners for Open Web Awards. Actually, that post isn’t terribly interesting, now that I look at it. So why not visit Olivier Blanchard‘s rant on business cards?

PLUS – Are these folks just amazingly creative, or do they simply have too much time on their hands? Either way, it’s cute, and worth 1 minute and 20 seconds of your time! And while we’re at strange on-line holiday celebrations, have some fun Destroying a Fruitcake.

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Five in the Morning 120808

green5Upgrade your brainstorming! Paul Williams over at MarketingProfs Daily Fix shows us how.

Does your brand pass the CUB test? From the good folks at Brand Aid.

Right on, Target. One smart little move by Target makes a better shopping experience – and earns them more cash.

Buyology. Ivana Taylor reviews an interesting-sounding book on why we buy.

You’re read about the Zappos (shoe retailer) social media success story. Now, take a pictorial tour of HQ, courtesy of Guy Kawasaki. Never seen nothin’ like this before!!

OVERDOSE ON WOODRUFF BONUS – if you missed it at the end of the last week, the latest StickyFigure spoof: Social Media Museum has Bloggers All A-Twitter. Plus, on my personal blog (Steve’s Leaves), a Sunday Muse: Finding Grace. (And, Ann Handley just told me that my new MarketingProfs Daily Fix post is up: I’M PURSUING (niche) DOMINATION! This is probably the only time you’ll have a “Five in the Morning” trifecta – Woodruff links on three different blogs…)

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