Your Social Media Network Has No Value
If you are active on social media, you know that the name of the game is building your Network. I mean…I guess that’s why you are doing it? But really…what is the purpose of having a network of followers? What are you going to DO with it? It’s not such an easy question to answer, and I hadn’t given it much thought until recently. One thing I do know is this: Your network has no value.
A New Platform
The first I had heard of a Social Media Platform for business was LinkedIn — around 2004 — I was working at IBM. At the time, IBM was really pushing a program to build visibility…to enable the workforce to leverage connections and create a presence online. IBM encouraged employees to build a LinkedIn profile. In hindsight, it was the first indication that things were about to change. For many employees, it was the first “resume” they had created in 20–30 years. Within 5 years, enough WFR’s and headcount reductions had occurred to ensure that no one ever considered IBM to be employment for life again. This was a big change.
I jumped on the opportunity to build my network. I was one of the first in my group to build a profile and start connecting with folks. I started noticing that many of my new connections had a lot more companies on their profile. Like…new jobs in new companies every 1–3 years. Especially in sales. I couldn’t imagine it at the time…but it opened my eyes to a whole new world of opportunity out there. Things were done differently outside of IBM…and it didn’t take long for me to wonder what I was missing. By 2010 I decided to make my move.
Inward vs Outward
Even as late at 2010, I still didn’t get Social Media. Hell, I didn’t get on Facebook until 2009. I wasn’t leveraging social media as a tool. On LinkedIn, all I was doing was collecting names. I figured the more people I connected with, the better my chances when it came to leveraging that connection to find a better job. From a social perspective, Facebook eliminated the need for me to call friends or family anymore…if they wanted to know what was happening in my life, they could see it all on Facebook. You see…I was focused INWARD. On me. And then one day, things just…changed. I had taken a new role as a transformation sales leader…it was a new job, in a new company. And I had a big problem. I needed to figure out a way to change the focus of the sales team from selling products to selling solutions. Solutions that we didn’t actually HAVE yet. Yeah…I was struggling. I was frustrated. I needed an outlet.
Get Out of Your Head
If you spend too much time in your own head, you get stunted. You get comfortable and complacent. You don’t grow. I spent a lot of time in my own head…and yeah…I was stunted, and what made it worse is that I knew it! I really don’t know what gave me the courage to write my first article…but I do know that I was scared witless. Most of what I wanted to write about was how frustrated I was with my job…and I was afraid that it would expose me as a charlatan. That was me thinking INWARDLY. At the time, I was starting to get a lot more of my news from social media and reading blogs about business. I was beginning to understand that most of what I was reading that was GOOD was not inwardly focused on the writer…it was OUTWARDLY focused on the reader. The audience. So, I dipped my foot in the water…and then dove in. I started writing, first on my blog shiftwit.com, and then on LinkedIn Pulse. And then I found beBee.com – A new platform that is spreading like wildfire.
Pretty soon…I had a small network of followers.
So now what? Does having a bigger network have any more value to me? I can’t answer this right now. Maybe you have built a sizeable network. I wonder if you have tried to quantify its value. I may get some argument here, but I don’t think the value is calculated in the way you would think. Because I don’t believe that your network SERVES you. You aren’t going to be able to quantify its VALUE…because IT is not where the value is. You have a network because what you say and write has value to THEM. Otherwise…they WOULD NOT FOLLOW YOU. Don’t believe me? Stop sharing and writing…and see how quickly your network disappears. You cannot build a network with the intention of getting something out of it…other than the satisfaction that you are helping them with your words.
So why bother? Well, if you are writing to get likes…quit now. You will NEVER be satisfied. Your value comes from the effort and focus you have on producing content for THEM…not in what you think will be good for YOU. The value is your consistency, your persistence…and authenticity. This is what I mean when I say your network can’t save you…because in reality, they follow you because you are doing something for THEM. You have a network because you are compelled to write about your passion. Your experience. You are compelled to share your pain and your elation, and you don’t care who sees it.
This is one of the things I love about beBee.com. You have to provide content that matters.
Solve Your Own Problems
Your network won’t save you. It won’t pay your bills. It won’t solve your problems. You have to do that yourself. By all means…share your struggles. But sharing is only a portion of the value you bring. You need to show your network that you ALSO practice what you preach. That you make mistakes, and look for and create solutions to those mistakes. That you don’t quit. Your struggles become lessons others can learn from.
The lessons are what have value.
Shift your view.
If you find this relevant – please say so and find a hive for this…Thanks!