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June 3, 2010

Stop Wasting Time With Social Media

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time The Following is a guest post by Dan Schawbel , recognized as a “ personal branding guru ” by The New York Times, he is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, LLC, and author of the Personal Branding Blog The 2 nd edition of his book Me 2.0 , will be released October 5 th .

 

A lot of people are surprised that their thousands of followers on Twitter aren’t converting into leads, but I’m not. Ever since departing my social media job and starting my own company, Millennial Branding, LLC, I’ve been focusing on monetization. Basically, figuring out which platforms actually convert into cash, and which do not. The issue that people seem to have is where to invest their time, and depending on your goal and what’s working for you, you should allocate accordingly. If you aren’t seeing results in six months using a tool, then you might want to rethink your strategy, and how much manpower you put behind the tool . Aside from starting a company, I read the Inbound Marketing book by Brian and Dharmesh , which has inspired me to rethink lead generation. For instance, I used to spend two hours a day on Twitter, yet it didn’t result in enough opportunities to prove its marketing value.

Email vs Social Networks vs Blogs

Here is a breakdown of the significance of each platform as it relates to generating leads for your business. An email subscriber is worth more than a blog subscriber, which is worth more than a social network follower. This hierarchy isn’t changing anytime soon.

  1. Email: An email contact is worth approximately $948, as noted in an IBM study . The loyalty of a single email contact is stronger than any social media follower (unless Oprah followers you) because users are not only opting in, but providing you personal data that they might not submit elsewhere. Typically, the exchange is a name and an email address for access to free material, and a possible lead for the company. I’ve been noticing that despite the advent of social networking, 71% of marketers believe that email will be more important this year. Email, if done right, is targeted, personal, and directs subscribers to other websites, including your own. You’ve also noticed that when someone sends you a Facebook message or adds you as a contact on LinkedIn, you still receive email notifications.

  2. Blogs: A blog's value is much different than other platforms because of different benefits. The benefits you’ll have from blogging include: ranking high in search engines, becoming a voice in your indust ry, having a community of users that can support your future growth, having something in common with 200 million bloggers (networking), and building a list of subscribers engage your content . Subscribing to a blog takes two clicks, which is faster than it takes to sign-up for an email newsletter. This means that blog subscribers are less valuable than email subscribers, but are more valuable than social network followers. A social network follower only has to click one button to read your content, while a blog has two.

  3. Social networks: I’m willing to bet that a lot of your Twitter followers are people you’ve never met before. I’d also like to wager that your followers don’t receive most of your tweets or Facebook status updates. They are simply following too many users to read all of your material, so it falls into the social media “black hole” (and the Library of Congress ). For this reason, it is reported that a social network contact is worth a mere $3.50 . Social netw orks are not marketing platforms , which means you have to start using them differently. Build relationships on social networks on a one-to-one basis and you’ll be more successful.

Marketing Takeaway

I'm not saying that you should stop using tools that you enjoy using. I'm trying to get you to think of how much time you're allocating to participating in each community, with growing your business in mind. There’s a reason why the top bloggers have email newsletters, in addition to their posts. It’s because they realize what’s more valuable and they’re making the investment to get a larger return. If you’re smart, you’ll invest in an email newsletter, and then leverage your current platform to convert your viewers into subscribers. This way, you’ll have a strong list of people, who would potentially do business with you.

Photo Credit:
laffy4k

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