'..Do we need an online strategy? Does our Company need to be on Twitter? How useful is LinkedIn in achieving my networking goals...?
Those are just a few samples of the questions I am getting every day for which no general answer can be given. That depends of course on the following elements which form the basis of effective Online Networking:
- Be yourself, show and share it in your Profile
- Target your online action and interaction towards specific Goals
- Interact / communicate with your Target the right way by addressing the Target's personal networking style. Be sure that your time spend online per client is be less than the time spend using other means of communication in order to achieve the same Goal.
The third rule may be new to you, yet it is essential if you consider an online strategy for your company.
Beware of Social Media enthusiasm
Too many 'social media experts' are preaching an enthusiastic web 2.0 'gospel' trying to convince you to 'just do it' on Twitter, LinkedIn or other Portals. Sadly they never have any real data about online effectiveness, they are just following accepted principles that do apply in normal person to person networking but that don't work online. You run the risk of having to wait endlessly for any return that will never happen because it simply doesn't work the same way as in real-life.
Giving, sharing and... receiving?
- People seemed to be more successful in getting new real business out of their efforts if their service or product had a Real Value in real life. It is e.g. generally accepted that a legal counseling service or a recruitment service has to be 'pa id for', whereas 'general knowledge' or 'best practices' about internet tools is considered to be 'freely' available online. E-networking towards the first leads to an easier E-ROI than the latter, it simply is easier to get 'being paid for' in the end.
- People also seemed to be more successful because they had a Personal Skill to target their action towards their Goal. E.g. I met an in terim manager who told me that he was really successful by getting a new job through his LinkedIn network. That makes sense, because LinkedIn is targeted towards getting new Jobs and this individual new all his 'first line' contacts personally. Also he didn't use the email service in LinkedIn, but phoned his contacts in order to find out first what the networking connection and quality in his network was before approaching his networking Goal.
This led me to create the following E-time to ROI model: