Isn’t social media simply a waste of time? Isn’t social media simply a waste of time?

Isn’t social media simply a waste of time?
30 Nov 2015

Lately, I have viewed and even entered into debate on posts and in discussion forums relating to LinkedIn and a number of changes to the platform. There’s no question that some of these changes and in certain cases breakdowns in the platform’s ability to provide a once reliable level of functionality can be frustrating to say the least. So, is it time we stopped relying on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and revert back to more traditional methods of people engagement and business promotion?

If you’re reading this post and thinking, “I’ve not heard about these problems with LinkedIn” then I don’t propose to go into them here - you can check this out by searching Twitter hash tags, LinkedIn updates and Google. In the main, they relate to the management of LinkedIn groups.

What value does social media really provide us with in business?

Quite rightly, a number of LinkedIn members are voicing their concerns about some of the operational changes to LinkedIn’s platform, many of which centre on the management of LinkedIn groups.

During the past six to seven years, LinkedIn has become an important part of my daily professional and business development life, so if it shut down today I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t create a significant void for me in my business, especially the LinkedIn training aspect of course. Am I better therefore, to go back to more traditional forms of doing business instead?

Let’s examine the principles of LinkedIn and social media for a moment and consider if we could apply or in fact, re-apply some of these in a physical environment, rather than on-line?

Meeting new people

There’s no question that social media platforms have presented us with a limitless choice of people, from all kinds of professions and backgrounds, who we can reach out and connect with and follow.

Could we get out more and attend events, networking meetings, conferences and meet similar, albeit fewer people? We would undoubtedly make fewer connections, but would the quality be better - the ‘less is more’ principle? The argument might be that attending events requires considerable chunks of time away from the business, but would this mean that we would value that time more?

Engaging with those contacts who are important to you

Social media allows us to comment, like and share content shared by those we have chosen to connect with and follow. In doing so, we raise our profile with these people and, if done well, nurture, know, like and trust them.

In the ‘physical world’, if all these business contacts were regularly posting comment in newspaper columns or writing articles in magazines, we could write to them or pick up the phone to let them know that we either enjoyed or disagreed with their thoughts. I think you can see the challenge with this approach without me pointing it out. This one interactive form of engagement alone sets social media aside from anything similar we can achieve in the physical world.

Promote your expertise to a wider audience

I have never attended a journalism course - I therefore have no certificate to hang on my wall. Neither do the millions of other social media bloggers, LinkedIn posters and Tweeters. Yet every day we have news and content delivered to the palm of our hands, often written by people just like you and I that can have a significant impact on our businesses and our personal lives as well as global events.

A handful of years ago, this ability to reach millions with our beliefs, advice and expertise would have been unthinkable. For every inspiring piece of content shared on social media sites there is, at least, an equal amount of dross but one could argue that this is not too dissimilar from the choice provided by our national press industry.

Engaging in debate to get across your point of viewpoint of view

I don’t know about you, but I was never in the debating society at school. This pastime always seemed reserved for those brighter pupils or those more adept at speaking. Instead I played football or hung around the sixth form common room playing ‘Wheels of Fire’ by Cream or similar vinyl masterpieces.

With approximately two million LinkedIn Groups, many Facebook Groups and Twitter public lists, the opportunity for any of us to engage in debate, on virtually any topic we have an interest in or have a passion for, is almost limitless.

Once again, there are good groups to join and there are very poor ones, but you have choice, certainly a choice not afforded to most of us before social media came along. The great news from my point of view is that I can be involved in a group discussion whilst playing Cream’s ‘Wheels of Fire’ on my smartphone simultaneously!

I have to be honest - as I began to write this article I wasn’t certain which side of the social media v physical world argument I would come down on. I have raised the question, posted in this article, in various forums and the almost overwhelming comments have been that social media is not, at all, a waste of time, as long as it’s done right.

I had always wondered if all the blogging and social media postings ever paid off until I recently completed a masters in digital marketing. My thesis was titled ‘Inbound marketing - does it deliver ROI’ and after an exhaustive and extensive research project and over 1,000 surveys to businesses I can categorically say it does pay off! So hang in there and keep writing and talking to all in your target group and who knows where it will lead you!

By Steve Phillip, managing director of  Linked2Success Ltd. Since 2009, he has helped hundreds of professionals around the UK and in Europe, such as FedEx, The EDHEC Business School and many universities and professional service businesses to raise their online profiles and generate hundreds of new client opportunities, using tools such as LinkedIn and other social media.

 

Lately, I have viewed and even entered into debate on posts and in discussion forums relating to LinkedIn and a number of changes to the platform. There’s no question that some of these changes and in certain cases breakdowns in the platform’s ability to provide a once reliable level of functionality can be frustrating to say the least. So, is it time we stopped relying on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and revert back to more traditional methods of people engagement and business promotion?

If you’re reading this post and thinking, “I’ve not heard about these problems with LinkedIn” then I don’t propose to go into them here - you can check this out by searching Twitter hash tags, LinkedIn updates and Google. In the main, they relate to the management of LinkedIn groups.

What value does social media really provide us with in business?

Quite rightly, a number of LinkedIn members are voicing their concerns about some of the operational changes to LinkedIn’s platform, many of which centre on the management of LinkedIn groups.

During the past six to seven years, LinkedIn has become an important part of my daily professional and business development life, so if it shut down today I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t create a significant void for me in my business, especially the LinkedIn training aspect of course. Am I better therefore, to go back to more traditional forms of doing business instead?

Let’s examine the principles of LinkedIn and social media for a moment and consider if we could apply or in fact, re-apply some of these in a physical environment, rather than on-line?

Meeting new people

There’s no question that social media platforms have presented us with a limitless choice of people, from all kinds of professions and backgrounds, who we can reach out and connect with and follow.

Could we get out more and attend events, networking meetings, conferences and meet similar, albeit fewer people? We would undoubtedly make fewer connections, but would the quality be better - the ‘less is more’ principle? The argument might be that attending events requires considerable chunks of time away from the business, but would this mean that we would value that time more?

Engaging with those contacts who are important to you

Social media allows us to comment, like and share content shared by those we have chosen to connect with and follow. In doing so, we raise our profile with these people and, if done well, nurture, know, like and trust them.

In the ‘physical world’, if all these business contacts were regularly posting comment in newspaper columns or writing articles in magazines, we could write to them or pick up the phone to let them know that we either enjoyed or disagreed with their thoughts. I think you can see the challenge with this approach without me pointing it out. This one interactive form of engagement alone sets social media aside from anything similar we can achieve in the physical world.

Promote your expertise to a wider audience

I have never attended a journalism course - I therefore have no certificate to hang on my wall. Neither do the millions of other social media bloggers, LinkedIn posters and Tweeters. Yet every day we have news and content delivered to the palm of our hands, often written by people just like you and I that can have a significant impact on our businesses and our personal lives as well as global events.

A handful of years ago, this ability to reach millions with our beliefs, advice and expertise would have been unthinkable. For every inspiring piece of content shared on social media sites there is, at least, an equal amount of dross but one could argue that this is not too dissimilar from the choice provided by our national press industry.

Engaging in debate to get across your point of viewpoint of view

I don’t know about you, but I was never in the debating society at school. This pastime always seemed reserved for those brighter pupils or those more adept at speaking. Instead I played football or hung around the sixth form common room playing ‘Wheels of Fire’ by Cream or similar vinyl masterpieces.

With approximately two million LinkedIn Groups, many Facebook Groups and Twitter public lists, the opportunity for any of us to engage in debate, on virtually any topic we have an interest in or have a passion for, is almost limitless.

Once again, there are good groups to join and there are very poor ones, but you have choice, certainly a choice not afforded to most of us before social media came along. The great news from my point of view is that I can be involved in a group discussion whilst playing Cream’s ‘Wheels of Fire’ on my smartphone simultaneously!

I have to be honest - as I began to write this article I wasn’t certain which side of the social media v physical world argument I would come down on. I have raised the question, posted in this article, in various forums and the almost overwhelming comments have been that social media is not, at all, a waste of time, as long as it’s done right.

I had always wondered if all the blogging and social media postings ever paid off until I recently completed a masters in digital marketing. My thesis was titled ‘Inbound marketing - does it deliver ROI’ and after an exhaustive and extensive research project and over 1,000 surveys to businesses I can categorically say it does pay off! So hang in there and keep writing and talking to all in your target group and who knows where it will lead you!

By Steve Phillip, managing director of  Linked2Success Ltd. Since 2009, he has helped hundreds of professionals around the UK and in Europe, such as FedEx, The EDHEC Business School and many universities and professional service businesses to raise their online profiles and generate hundreds of new client opportunities, using tools such as LinkedIn and other social media.