Bring the web to you: Google Reader
What if a newspaper dropped on your doorstep every morning with news tailored just for you? No more throwing away this and that section or going straight to Sports or the Business section. Instead everything is relevant and hand picked. This is Google Reader in a nutshell. It’s simple to set up and all you need is a Gmail account. It uses something called RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology that pulls info as it’s released/updated across the web on the sites you want to follow and/or news you want to be privy of.
Other RSS Reader option:
Read smart people: Blogs
If you could be a fly on the wall, listening into someone’s thoughts, who would that someone be? For me, it’s Mark Cuban. I really, really like what he has to say and when he speaks, I listen (doesn’t mean I heed all of it). Lucky enough for me, he has a blog where he talks about a variety of issues that I value – economy, sports management, start-up business, etc. While not everyone is a fan of Mark Cuban, I think you get the point I am trying to make – why wouldn’t I read insights from someone whose thoughts I value on a particular subject matter? Blogs are an easy entrance into Social Media by way of being a spectator and, in combination with the RSS technology mentioned above (Google Reader or like tool), it’s super efficient.
Many thought leaders in various fields have a place where they go and freely share their thoughts.
An excuse to say ‘Hi’: LinkedIN
Any good business development person breaks the token sales rule – ABC – Always Be Closing. They follow a different rule – ABB – Always Be Building. LinkedIN is a perfect tool for building a relationship with someone over time. How? Conversations are the key to business development, and LinkedIN, if used correctly, is a conversation starter for professionals. One tip is to stop carrying business cards and instead immediately Link-IN with the people you meet via your smart phone. While this doesn’t fly if you are doing business in Asia, for example, it can fly here. This gives you a much easier way to contact people as well as expose them to a stream of information coming from your profile. All it takes to set up a profile is 20 concentrated minutes while at home in between a house project or your favorite sitcom.
Never take your spouse on a bad date ever again: Yelp
So, Yelp isn’t as much about business decisions as it is about good life decisions. It’s also a good taste (pun intended) regarding the power of Social Media. Basically, whether you’re in your hometown or in a new location, the surest way to find a good local food joint or watering hole is via Yelp. It finds places of interest based on user reviews and clues you in on on do’s and don’t’s of that particular establishment. It can even be used to find a good mechanic, park, or hotel – but it’s best known for restaurants.
Listen in to niche topic conversations of interest: Twitter
Listen before you speak. It’s a great rule in general and can also be applied to Twitter as a way to get involved. Twitter is a conversation and ‘news’ curator of sorts. ‘News’ being defined by whatever you deem relevant to you. So in my case, I listen to industry consultants, my favorite sports team insiders, companies I want to know more about, and friends/family I want to stay in touch with. Listen to whomever you like and, if someone gets annoying, just un-follow them.
Wanna waste time? Facebook
Frankly, I think Facebook is a huge waste of time for 98.7% of the people on it. This goes for myself (I am now off), my wife, friends, and most of the people I know. I wear this emotion on my sleeve and tick off most of the ‘social media savvy’ folks I know with it. Frankly, Facebook hasn’t converted to be a good business tool for B2B professional service brands thus has not demanded my attention. While I do advise CPA firms to have a ‘page’ for presence purposes, I don’t advise many to spend time or money on it. There are two caveats to my thinking:
- It can bring value from a recruiting perspective or
- If you are a small firm looking to entrench yourself with your clients’ personal as well as professional lives.