Making Sense out of Social Media

This afternoon, I received the following question from a colleague, Michael Goodman, a highly skilled and broadly respected sales professional, via "LinkedIn Answers:"

"With all the social media available, including linked in, Blogs, twitter, plaxo, second life, et al, what is the best way to utilize all this stuff, stay ahead of the techno-bleeding edge, and really, just find another customer to tell my story to?

"I can't keep up with all the social media, web 2.0 marketing movement. Really, all I want to do is find the next customer. I am hoping someone has figured out the magical answer to taking advantage of technology and simply find new people interested in what I have to offer. Anyone?"

The answers offered were as interesting to the question. It appears that this question struck a nerve, prompting some long, thought provoking answers.

Alan Sabo offered this interesting insight:

"So, the best way to "utilize this stuff" [technologically] is to integrate your efforts among some 13-20 different services (don't be scared by the number, the key is INTEGRATION - touch one, others update ... get the picture?).

"However, technology aside, the best way to utilize this stuff [strategically]is to learn to become transparent. To share yourself and your expertise through case studies and testimonials where others can observe you doing for others - this "story telling" will go a long way to attracting the right prospects to you!"

I think the key is that the answer is not just technology. Social networks may be enabled by technology, but when it comes right down to it, the folks that "network" are humans, who must ultimately sell themselves to accomplish their goals.

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Discovering Identity was founded on blogs.sun.com in May 2005 as a means of documenting my exploration of the field of Identity and Access Management. In February, 2010, I switched to hosting the blog at DiscoveringIdentity.com. In March 2012, I began posting Oracle-related information in both places.

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