Social media is loosely defined as the technology behind social interactions online in our daily lives. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Web forums, wikis, and others are all social media applications. Social networking is utilizing those platforms to interact with your friends, family, colleagues, to communicate and (usually) profit. A social media guru is someone who can optimize a social network to maximum benefit.
In my experience, most social media gurus would never call themselves that and probably are generally unaware that they are, in fact, experts at social networking. On the flip side of that coin, most self-proclaimed social media gurus, well… aren’t.
There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to social media and networking:
- More is better, so having a million followers is much better than just having a hundred that you interact with all the time.
- Quality is more important than quantity and having a few, active followers is much more important than having many, inactive ones.
As with any new phenomenon, there are millions of would-be’s and wannabes latching on, creating and over-using buzz phrases to describe social media. Usually they do so in order to gain attention for themselves and often so they can sell a product, service or scheme.
Interestingly, there are only a very few real social media gurus who actually know how to create, maintain, and utilize a proper social media network. Most of the time, these people aren’t really aware of their knowledge and expertise. More often than not, they are doing it because they enjoy it, not to necessarily profit from it.
Going back to our schools of thought, you’ll find that most wannabe “experts” in social media will proclaim the “more is better” doctrine. The rest will claim the quality doctrine as a way to be “different and better.” In the end, they’re both wrong.
Interacting with a network is great and fun, but it’s also time-consuming. The larger your network, the more time will likely be required. As with any investment (time is money, so it’s an investment), you’ll eventually reach a point of limited return. With social media, this is often sooner than later.
However, having a few thousand followers who never really participate or interact is like having a poster advertising to the blind. What good does it do?
The proper balance is to use both strategies in moderation. Target your time with your network to not only build value for them by participating, but also to create the interactions that build strong relationships. At the same time, build your network by doing those things which add quality members to it. Usually, both will happen at the same time, as those in your friends webs of friends will see you and join in.
This quality and quantity approach can steadily build towards a large network of contacts who can, eventually, become not only a vibrant community to market towards, but also a viral sales force to help you make money. All while interacting and giving one another value through your shared knowledge and expertise.
There is a lot to be said for social networking. Like any tool, if used correctly, it can become the most valuable one in your box.
JAMES BURCHILL shows individuals and companies how to profit from the innovative use of Internet technologies, strategic content and social media marketing. You can find out more at James’ website and you can subscribe to his J-List and get over 40 articles, reports and advice on Internet Marketing today.