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The “Hi!” efficiency of social networking

Thursday, 29 January 2009 — by

Being polite on the web or on social network like Twitter is no different to real life. Some feel time spent on the web is time wasted. But doesn’t that all depend on what you’re doing?

More recently, there’s been something of a minor backlash against social networking, with claims that places like Twitter are a waste of people’s time. I imagine that for some this is true, but the reasons aren’t nearly as prosaic as a simple blame game.

I find it surprising that I should have to write such an article, but it does seem to be a popular theme for some to criticize the time they’re spending aimlessly socializing.

Rarely is a moment wasted saying “Hi!” to someone, especially when that someone is a potential client. Saying “Hi!” and generally being polite and cordial is for me an investment of my time. I’m not talking about idle chatter. No, this is about stirring up conversations and generally keeping myself in the minds of my clients.

The social web — it’s all about the conversation

Being active on a social network is much like working form home; you need loads of self discipline. Think of the last time you worked from home, now think of the hour you wasted making an over-elaborate lunch, and the several hours wasted watching TV. The moment you break from your work routine, you screw with your productivity.

So the next time you’re in the office and you have your favourite social network open, think before you click!

Also, if you must be active on a social network, think about what you want to achieve. If it’s just a case of socializing, then do it on your own time. But if you’re looking to build quality relationships with other businesses and potential suppliers and clients, saying “Hi!” really isn’t the worst thing you could do.

Sure, make sure that initial “Hi!” doesn’t progress fully into a detailed textual excursion into your morning eating habits, a blow-by-blow account of the arduous school run or an analysis of your current mood, drug-induced or otherwise.

Thinking about social networking? Think about your personal “brand”

The great thing about the web — or more specifically social networks — is that anything you do is seen almost instantly around the world. The bad thing about the web is that anything you do is seen almost instantly around the world!

So it’s best to give some serious thought to how you want to present yourself on the web. Here I’m thinking about how the pros manage their personal “brand” on-line.

If you’re on Twitter, for example, it’s very easy for people to be drawn into sending out casual messages that don’t convey the kind of message that the sender might have expected.

Worse still, it’s easy to be drawn into an initially passive and fun debate that degrades into a tirade of abuse and foul language.

And here’s the thing, the web is so deeply social these days, it’s very easy to connect with clients and colleagues, but it’s vital that a professional attitude is maintained.

So keep saying “Hi!” to everyone, get the conversation going and make sure you’re the one your clients think of first, because there’s no prizes for second in this game.

Wondering what Twitter is and wanting to know more about social media and social networking? Why not download my new ebook: The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media right now, for free.

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