I spent a decent amount of time recently revising a presentation for Technopalooza, a tech event that's been organized by the Arizona Regional MLS (ARMLS). The title of the presentation I'm going to be giving is: Using Social Networks to Build and Engage Your Community.
I definitely don't want to give the "whole" thing away, (at least not before I get a chance to present it to a live audience!), but I thought I'd give a taste for how I organized the presentation so that you can (hopefully) get a better idea of which social networking sites you should be using to build your business.
First off, based on the title, I broke the presentation into three parts:
- Part 1: "Using Social Networks"
- Part 2: "Building and Engaging YOUR Community"
- Part 3: "To"
The insight I thought I'd share is from Part 1 of the presentation and it's the idea that there's a social network for everyone, but every social network is not right for you.
The idea is that if you look at the three types of personalities that tend to do well online (and by "do well" I mean generate traffic to websites), they are:
- Community Builders
I like to think of the community builders as the social fabric that keeps everyone engaged. I thought about calling these people "social networkers", but "social network" has a pretty different and fuzzy meaning so I decided not to go there. The value of these people is that they are often the ones to organize events, bring people together in social settings, introduce new people to the "rules", etc.
I use the term connector for the people who are more the business networking type. These are the people who attend lots of conferences, have a huge rolodex of names and are always on the lookout for ways to connect people together so they can do business together. I had lunch last week with a true connector. The guy organize monthly dinners at a very nice local restaurant for 8 (different) people each month even when there's no obvious way he's going to make money (yet!).
The mavens are the first-movers and the people who are always looking for the next big thing. Traditionally, these guys have been some of the best bloggers around because they're always looking for the next big trend. (I could be wrong, but out of the three, I think this one best describes me).
Once you identify where you fit into this mix, I think you'll have a much easier time finding the social network that will not only drive the most business your way, but that you'll enjoy engaging in.
- For example, for the community builders out there... try out Twitter. I think you'll find there's a huge community of people out there just waiting to engage with you. And for the people who treat this right, there's a huge potential for generating referrals from the connections you'll make using the tool!
- For connectors, there's no more popular business networking tool than LinkedIn. Engage over there. Start making a ton of connections with other business-minded networking folks. And when you hear about a great business opportunity for someone, look to spread the news to your linkedin connections. This will give you an awesome opening to start up a connection and start a dialog in a way that people on that social network want to engage!
- And for the mavens, I'm completely smitten with Facebook Pages (not a Facebook Profile mind you, but a Facebook Business Page!). Functionally, these are kind of like twitter, except general chatter is really not appropriate, so instead you can focus on topics and conversations that are related to your business or interest (in my case, it's using social media to generate business!)
My hope is that for at least a few of the folks reading this post, it can help bring some clarity to how you might engage with people on the various popular social networks!
And just to close the loop, in Part 2 of the presentation I'll be giving at Technopalooza, I talk about how to build your own community, which is where I talk about the importance of blogging and creating dynamic local content (all great ActiveRain stuff!). In Part 3, I talk about how "to" bring all the pieces together and actually use the social networks to build traffic and interest in YOUR community. If there's any chance you can make it on Wednesday, then I look forward to seeing you in Mesa!