Brogan: Why Social Media Aids Success

You’re hearing about social media everywhere. First it was blogs. Now, you’re being told that you have to be on Facebook and Twitter and a whole bunch of other services that don’t exactly make immediate sense. Wasn’t LinkedIn supposed to be the one-stop business site of choice? What’s the answer? How can you use social media to improve your success?

New Tools for Old Mindsets

In the face-to-face world, we know how to make a relationship. We shake hands, we make eye contact, we ask a person about herself. If we want to carry on a relationship after the conversation, we exchange business cards, and we try to find mutual value.

The social web allows for this and so much more. We can read minds by reading blogs and social network updates. We can listen for opportunity. We can share information. We can build deeper networks.

Mind Reading

Imagine going to a networking mixer where you know how other people think, how they see the world. With tools like blogging and with networks like Twitter and Facebook, we can see into what others think.

Imagine you’re going to run into Tony Robbins, personal development expert, in the next few days. By glancing at Twitter, you’d know that his new show, Breakthrough, did well, but that he’s shopping it to new networks. If you had a way to be helpful, not only could you say hi, but you’d be able to help move things forward.

Listen for Opportunity

By learning just a few things about search (we’ll cover this in upcoming posts), you have at your fingertips the ideas and thoughts and desires of millions of people. Every day, someone talks about a need, a want, or a disappointment that happened to them in their day. Imagine having the solution to these.

I recently mentioned how horrible I felt local automotive dealership websites were. Within five minutes, someone who offered a “virtual dealership” model contacted me, asked which car I was looking for, and helped me buy it. Yes, I bought a car over the Internet, and he made a decent commission. These kinds of transactions happen all the time. Do you want some of the action?

Share Information

In the old days, we’d have to work hard to get a story into the local newspaper. With subscription and circulation rates down drastically, getting into the paper isn’t that big a deal anymore. You can launch your own blog or website in 10 minutes or so (okay, an hour, if you’re a bit nervous), and publish information at your leisure.

People won’t come rushing in right away to take action on your words, and there are lots of tidbits and skills that come into play to get more attention for your site, but you’ll get there sooner (and Google will know you exist) by launching a site to share information. (We’ll talk about that more later, too.)

Build Deeper Networks

Lots of people think LinkedIn is a site where you stick your resume (or CV) and then leave it until you need a new job. It’s not. With the network updates feature, with the new advanced groups features, with the Q&A area, this site is a thriving business hub. It’s also a great place to go to keep a good view on your business network.

But how would you go deeper still? Keep your OWN list and make sure you make contact with people who matter every day. Pick 10 names a day, and just drop them an e-mail, or a phone call, not because you need something, but because you’re just checking in. Keep your name alive in their head. Keep the connections you’ve bothered making alive and well. Because left to deteriorate, they’ll be far less useful when you come to need them next.

Over the Next Several Posts

In the coming weeks, I’ll be covering more topics along these lines, to warm you up to the benefits of using social media for your success. Here are the topics I’ll cover:

  • How Social Media Maps Into Your Marketing
  • Your First Moves in Social Media
  • Listen: The Importance of Bigger Ears
  • Hotels in Manhattan : A Study in Success
  • Connect: Networks Matter
  • Hamburgers in Milwaukee : A Study in Success
  • Publish: Use Your Voice
  • Outposts and Home Bases
  • Motivating at a Distance: A Study in Success
  • Gatejumping and Social Media
  • Next Steps With Social Media

Some of these are case studies from successful businesspeople. Others are more how-to based. In all cases, we’re not talking theory. This is all based on action and effort. You’ll find that some of it will directly apply to you. Other times, you might have to squint. In all cases, the goal is to help you find your footing and feel more comfortable with social media as a tool for success.

Chris Brogan is the New York Times bestselling author of the NEW book, Social Media 101. He is president of New Marketing Labs, LLC, and blogs at [chrisbrogan.com].

This is the first in a series of guest blog posts by Chris Brogan for the Social Media 101 series, running Aug. 9-Sept. 16. To have Brogan’s posts sent directly to your email, subscribe to the SUCCESS Blog today.

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