While this whole social media thing is new and yet evolving, experts have emerged. Ninjas even. All these folks that lay a claim to knowing everything there is to know about social media. It was the same with multi-level marketing (MLM) aka network marketing. It was the same with real estate investing. It is even the same with SEO (search engine optimization).
So many experts. Of course, they are experts. When the mass majority doesn't have a clue about something, anyone confident can come along and be taken as an expert. You know what a Confidence Man is? A Con Man.
When I first joined LinkedIn, there was a group called LIONs. These were the numbers people - chasing to be connected to everyone on LinkedIn. (Today, you can buy that ability from LinkedIn.) I learned early on that it wasn't a game of numbers. I could connect with any of the Top 5 LION's and reach their whole network, so why go crazy?
There is a sense of accomplishment when you hit 500 connections and even more when you hit 1000, but it isn't about the numbers. It's about the quality.
I know quite a few people like the LIONs. I call them Promiscuous Networkers because they want to connect with everyone. One is very good at it. But let me tell you something about the Promiscuous Networkers: they can't hold a job.
No one is paying them per Fan or per connection. Along the way, they forgot what they were connecting for. Was it just to have an audience? It might be. But that doesn't pay either. Bands know this. You have to have something to sell them -- and then you have to package it the way your audience wants to buy it -- and then you have to actually market it to Ask them to Buy.
You can use social media as a broadcast medium, as a PR tool, but that is most likely not going to result in sales. Sales come from engagement. That's right, you have to engage the prospect, uncover the perceive pain, then provide the solution for that pain. That can be automated for commodities like DSL or LD or books, maybe even for a T1, but not for IP Comm. (And in my case, not for consulting or training either).
When building that network, you have to know something about the people in your network. One Promiscuous Networker likes to send out quotes and a popular one is about it's about how you make people feel. If that were true, how do you make them feel when you Face-tweet link after link? It's the engagement that people seek. You want to know that someone is reading your tweet, your blog; that someone got something out of the article that you got something out of.
I've kind of given up on Linkedin these last few months. It's so noisy now that people tweet to LinkedIn. The questions section is littered with repeated questions and baiters (people that send out a question to bait answers so they can connect with more people). The spammers, people that automatically add me to their newsletters, events announcements, etc., tired me out.
One segment kills me: the people who pimp out the groups. Do I really have to go to five or more groups to get an answer to a question? Yes, because the industry has been so fragmented by ten or more people setting up their own groups instead of adding to the communities that are already established. That's not a Linchpin. That's self-serving. But then Promiscuous Networkers may say, "What can I do for you?" but underneath they are thinking, "What will you do for me?"
A thing to remember about social media: What are you there for? All your actions stem from that.
You can automate what you do on social media using apps like Hootesuite, but what part of engagement or social is automated? Do you automate your offline sales and marketing efforts as well? Are sales good? Maybe it works for you.
Certainly, broadcast can work if you are looking to drive traffic to a website. That website will then need to have an excellent landing page and conversion system. (Most don't.)
You wouldn't run into a networking event in-person and do half the stuff people do online. Think first. Sales is about making a friend.