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Is Social Media Worth Your Time?

Every one – from politicians, businesses, musicians, celebrities and many other groups of people – uses social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social networking outlets to spread their message, build their businesses and connect with others.

Do they know something we don’t?

Networking, whether online or offline, is a great use of time when done properly. As with anywhere you spend your time, knowing why you are doing it, how you will measure success and having a plan is the best approach.

With that said, I jumped in with both feet last year with the guidance of a social media expert, and I have found clients, joint venture partners, speaking engagements and other great connections through various social media outlets. I am a member of more social media outlets than I can count, but I currently focus on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. While I am not an expert in social media, here are five reasons to take some time to learn the benefits of social media.

1. There Is No Direct Cost

There is no direct cost unless you opt for an upgrade, if one is offered. I haven’t paid for an upgrade and have steadily increased my list to include over 1000 followers between just three social media outlets, and without much effort.

2. Build Your Business by Connecting With Peers

Are you interested in finding joint ventures, affiliates, guest experts or other peers you can bounce ideas off of? In the last few weeks alone, I have located one large joint venture partner and have had several other partnership opportunities cross my desk. Business owners just like you are using social media to connect with others who are interested in using your articles, hosting you as a guest expert on teleseminars, webinars and live events, and even creating projects together!

3. Build Your Business by Following Reporters You Are Targeting

Would an article written by a certain reporter make your year? Follow them on Twitter or Facebook and see what is of interest to them and what they are writing about. You don’t know what golden nugget you’ll find by following them online that may open the door at the right time. Follow them and invite them to follow you as well! Or with LinkedIn you can find out how many degrees you are from them. You may surprise yourself by being only one or two degrees away from your target!

4. Showcase Your Expertise, Build Your Platform and Attract New Clients

Social media is an interesting animal. While many people use it to grow their businesses, you must be mindful about outright promotions. Generally speaking, heavy marketing of your products and services on these sites is a big no-no. Here’s how I do it. I’ll post something like this: “Just got off the phone with social networking guru Nancy Marmolejo. Now I’m off to finish writing my sales page for the Business Breakthrough Series.” People who are intrigued will check you out and may end up deciding to follow you and … bingo! They have just entered your world!

5. Reach Large Audiences

The world is your oyster in social media. There are only a few businesses that are truly limited by geographic boundaries, especially if you are in the information marketing business. Being active on social networking sites eliminates geographic boundaries and allows you to reach a vast number of people from all over the world. If you have products and services that can be purchased by anyone in the world, being active in social media is an absolute must for you. I recently held a teleseminar with people from over 10 countries in attendance, all from the comfort of my home office! And my sweat pants!

So, is social media worth the time? It depends. Social media is absolutely the wave of the future, and you will need to know something about it at some point. However, whether you work it into your plan for 2009 depends on your goals. If you have a goal of increasing your reach to prospects either locally or internationally, you can do that quite effectively through social media. However, if you can cannot and will not commit to learning how to “tweet” on Twitter or communicate on Facebook or use your connections on LinkedIn, it will not be worth your time.

My advice to clients when they are just starting out is to select one social media outlet, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, and master it before jumping into every outlet possible. You obviously need to schedule time for connecting, so select the social networking outlets that will benefit you the most.

Now that I am experiencing the financial results of my online efforts, I understand why this is such a great use of my time and I’m hooked!

About The Author
Meredith Liepelt, President of Rich Life Marketing, offers a free report called “101 Ways to Attract Ideal Clients, Build Your List and Raise Your Profile,” which can be downloaded immediately at www.RichLifeMarketing.com .

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