Why To Use Social Media When Its a Waste of Time | Front Office Box

Why we use social media when it seems a waste of time is readily demonstrated by a couple of real life examples – business benefit we achieved in the last 24 hours. More of that in a minute. First the background.

Earlier this week we wrote Why Social Media is a Complete Waste of Time and followed up with How Social Media is Changing Everything as it Dies.

The message we were trying to get across was simple. Anybody, from a business perspective, dipping a toe into the social media water right now will be doing so with high expectations. They’ve been led to believe this is an easy and cost free route into simple and cost free marketing. That’s what the snake oil salesmen are pushing. But it’s not true.

There are massive benefits to using social media to enhance business opportunities, but they aren’t what the evangelists say.

The first article attracted a derisory comment from a consultant in Canada. “Great title, Weak Content” he posted on Twitter. Benefit number 1 is at least he knows about me. Who was it said “It doesn’t matter what they say about me, as long as they say something”? When I asked him to explain the line went quiet.

Laying in bed, reading my Google Reader I “shared” one of our articles about a business line we’re pursuing in Europe. Within a few minutes somebody Tweeted their interest in talking. Two hours later we had the partner we needed for a $ multi million project in European research.

In a different business line, this morning we posted an article about a local hotel. Within a few minutes somebody Tweeted they’d had lunch there and enjoyed it. A reply asking for a comment on the blog post resulted in a new testimonial for the hotel, on our site.

As far as I’m concerned these are real business benefits, but they didn’t come from me wasting hours connecting with people telling me about their hangover, or their kids, or their latest scam to help me make money out of social media.

They came out of the new behaviour – publish and subscribe.

Social Media is creating that behaviour.

In our case self hosted WordPress blogs help us share ideas with the world. Feedburner adds tags and publishes them on Twitter and Facebook.

Meanwhile Twitter search watches the Internet and sends us, over RSS, a note of what’s been said and Google Alerts monitors the news and blog posts for other stuff we want to know. Everything comes through our Google Reader.

Technology enables us to publish ideas we want to share and watch for other people doing the same. Luckily others are doing it as well.

It’s the behaviour that’s changed, and how we get the benefit.

The ultimate win from social media is the ability to publish and subscribe, and the behaviour to do just that.

It doesn’t take a lot of time – just a clear view of how the technology and associated behaviour changes everything.

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