Social Media is it Worth it?

Jazz musicians are often disdainful about social media, and don’t want to bother with it. “Whats the point” they say, “I’m not interested in knowing what people had for breakfast (twitter) or having connections with people or ‘friends’ I have never met (facebook, Linkedin, Ecademy etc).

Well if you have a web-site there is a very good reason. Search engines. There is not much point in having a web-site if no-one ever sees it. And most people find web-sites nowadays via the search engines, mainly Google.

For example, web-site statistics for my Landlord-Law site show that about three quarters of visitors found it via Google. However, to get Google to recognise your site and put it on the first page of that search report (most people only ever look at the first two or three pages at most) you need to have lots of good quality links going to your site. This is because Google will place more weight on a link from a popular site (such as the BBC site) than a link from a small web-site no-one ever sees.

Social media links are good therefore because they are high ranking links and if the search engine spiders and bots find your site linked from there, it will get higher placements on Google searches.

Contacts. Social media is an excellent way of keeping in touch with your contacts. “But” I hear you say, “I can do that via my address book. Why do I need to do this on the internet?”. Well you can of course, just rely on traditional methods. But social media goes a step further and provides a more positive way you can keep in touch.

Firstly, there is less danger that you will lose touch with people as a result of their moving away or changing firms or telephone numbers. Assuming that they keep their Facebook or Linkedin account (and most people will), you can always contact them via this. And they will be able to contact you.

Secondly, if they are active in social networking, you can also keep tabs on what they are doing. For example you might learn that they have set up a new company, or are launching a new product. If you are active in keeping your account up to date, all your contacts will know, for example, if you develop a new service, or write a book.

This may open up possibilities for business. For example if you have just written an article on business tenancies, and one of your contacts is considering renting new premises, this may prompt them to instruct you and your firm to act for them. Or you may find that the office widgets they have developed are just the thing your office manager has been looking for.

Thirdly, when you connect with a contact online via social medial, you also get to see who their contacts are. All sorts of things can develop from this. You may get back in touch with someone you knew years ago. You may learn of someone offering a service you require, or they may find out about you. The possibilities are endless.

Contacts and people and making connections are at the heart of social media. It is a new way of connecting with people and can be a very productive one. Its worth a try!

A very useful function of social media is to allow you to keep up to date easily.  How?  Well:

You can follow blogs via RSS

If you use the Google homepage method, then on your Google homepage will be blocks for each of the blogs you follow with a list of the most recent three blog posts.  You can run your eye over them every day to see if there is anything you want to click through to and read.  If you follow lots of blogs then you can have separate home pages for each which you naviagte by clicking tabs.  Its fairly straightforward, but you need to register with Google first (worth doing as there are lots of other benefits).  To follow blogs click the orange square with the white curvy lines on it.  I have found it easiest to do using Firefox.

You can sign up to get blog posts by email

Not all blogs offer this, but if they do, and if it is a blog you are particularly interested in, it is worth doing.  You will then get sent an email of all their posts, which you can read quickly and easily in your email in box.  if you decide you don’t want them any more it is generally easy to unsubscribe.  (Note, if you want to get posts of this blog by email, there is a link to do this at the top of the side bar).

You can become fans of facebook pages

You will then see their updates on your facebook wall.  If you use facebook a lot this is a good way to keep up with what they are doing.  Again it is easy to block them or stop being a fan if you get fed up with it.

You can follow people and do searches on twitter

Many lawyers think twitter is stupid solely because of the name.  This is a mistake, twitter is a serious business application now.  You can follow people and organisations you are interested in and keep tabs on what they are doing and thinking.  There is also a very useful search function where you can search on words, to find out what people are saying about them.  Try a search on your firm’s name!

You can sign up for Google alerts

This is another benefit you get from registering with Google.  You  give Google the relevant words and every day they will send you an email summarising search results.  Use this for key words in your professional work niche, and also for your own name and the name of your business to find out what people are saying about you.  I have found out loads of interesting things from Google alerts.

You can keep any eye on updates on your LinkedIn home page

The LinkedIn home page is similar to the facebook wall, and you can often pick up what people are doing and writing about by scanning this once a day.

Thats all I can think of just now.  Do you know any other good ways of keeping in touch using social media?