Why Social Media Works

Doesn’t really matter the platform: MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, various forums. People migrate from place to place. At one time Ryze was one of my favorites, now it is almost a virtual ghost town. You’ll find spammers, stalkers, scammers along with great friends. Old friends are reunited, business partners found, shared brainstorming (crowd sourcing). I mean, people even find their true love online. You have to use common sense and keep yourself and your computer safe from the bad guys.

So what is the pull? Why has social media increased over the past few years?

In this age of automation, “please press 1 if you speak english”, “enter your 16 digit account number”, people are hungry for what they miss, human interaction. Real people who believe that you have value, that you are special. Validation.

I believe that people go where they feel good, connected to others, where their voice matters. And when those needs are no longer being met, they’ll go elsewhere. People go where they feel important, where others care, where they can make a difference, where they feel validated.

Online or off, take a step back. How do you interact with others? Do you validate them as a human being?

Twitter Customer Care

Does it really matter how much your virtual stock is selling for on Empire Avenue? Who has the biggest fan base on Facebook? the most followers on Twitter?

Sure, if you are connecting with more people, chances are more people may be taking note of your business, what you are doing. My youngest calls followers, friends “stalkers”.

Some “game” the system. At one time, and still going on, are those who follow a bunch of people, week later, dump those who don’t reciprocate, follow more. Or go around on endorsing a whole bunch of blogs which they’re never even read, looking for ea brownie points?

I realize some people just don’t get social media. In truth, your time and resources only stretch so far. And with anything, it is all about how you use the tools. Yet, for any business, no matter how big or small, it is important not to ignore your brand on social media. Today I’m using Twitter as an example.

How much time does it take to set up a twitter account? couple minutes
How long does does it take to search twitter with your brand name? Another minute or 2? Of course if you’re quite popular and you check in several times a day, it may take a little longer. But how much time and $ does it take to do market research and gather the public’s opinion the old fashioned way?

My son, @creationix was impatiently awaiting the arrival of a new computer. Now Tim has been obsessed with technology since . . . Hmmm. Can’t ever remember him not. I mean, this is the kid, that as an infant, would sit in his crib and dismantle it, carried around a purse as a toddler packed full of tools, who I rushed to the ER for stitches after he climbed up the back of a rocking chair trying to reach the Commodore 64? (or was it the old Bally?). Never the less, he was impatiently awaiting the arrival of his new computer. And when it didn’t arrive as expected, he was bemoaning the fact on twitter.

twitter fedex

A sharp FedEx employee picked up on the complaints, offered to help, looked up the shipment, called the FedEx driver, and let my son know when he could expect his package, apologizing for any inconvenience. Soon Tim was happily setting up his new system.

Kudo’s to @FedExLaSheila. Instead of a an unhappy customer, complaining to his friends and family, or worse yet, waiting on the phone to talk to customer service, you have real time interaction, smoothing out a problem quickly. And those who saw the complaint, also saw how quickly the issue was resolved via twitter.

So bottom line, it may not matter so much the number of followers, fans you have, your virtual stock price; but how you interact with your customer base is priceless.

Virtual Stock Trading

Empire Avenue

Ok, I’ve been hearing rumors of this social media place where you can buy stock in people’s social media stock. Sounded interesting, but I’ve been busy, getting a new wordpress tutorial blog up and running, watering my plants in this hot Texas heat so they don’t die, eye surgery (cataracts – sure go ahead and correct my vision while you’re at it), girls out of school for the summer, chipping shredding tree which storms damaged month or so ago, etc. Finally, after an invite from @bwoodsdesign I decided to take the plunge.

Kind of reminded me of when I first dropped into twitter without the fail whales. Pulls you in, I did not mean to spend that much time over there, I was just checking it out. Other Empire Avenue members were quickly investing in my virtual stock, so I hung around a checked it out more. Having been there only a few days, I am by no means an expert the in’s and out’s of Empire Avenue.

(e)TXMOM on Empire Avenue

Don’t get overwhelmed, simply add your links to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and a short bio. You can add your rss feeds and other social media links. The more active you are on the social networks, the more your value will climb.

As others buy your stock you have more money to invest in others. If you search around on the internet, you’ll find lots of advice for using Empire Avenue.

I like to think of Empire Avenue as your social media accountability partner. It grades your activity on various networks. And the more you interact with others, the better your score. You can see where you need to spend more effort and where you are doing well.

More later. But if your aren’t already there, you can sign up with my link: http://empireavenue.com/?t=my0xnt8c

Using Social Media for Job Search

Image by SashaW

You mean you can use Facebook for more than playing games with friends?

What is Twitter?

Is it worth the time you spend online?

Should I become active in various groups and forums?

What is the value of social media?

These are all questions I’ve been asked. I love social media, it is of great value to me. I’m always looking for more business. I mean, who doesn’t want their business to grow? Let’s say you are looking for a graphic designer to quickly do a project for you. You want someone who is available right now who will do a great job for a reasonable price. Ask your friends on Twitter, LinkedIn, Ryze, etc. Who do they do who does graphic design? They pass on your message to their friends, who do the same. Within the hour recommendations come in along with introductions. In just a few hours the job is complete, money exchanged. A win for both sides.

But what if you aren’t self-employed? Can you find a job, employed by someone else through social media? Yes, it does work. Connections are important along with being visible.

Here are a couple examples from this past month. I started to look for local groups to connect on twitter. Pleasantly surprised to see local job offerings posted on Twitter, and I often retweet. One came through that looked perfect for my 15 year old daughter. They were looking for ushers at the Perot theater. Now my daughter has a very busy schedule with school, swim, driver’s ed, etc. Her schedule doesn’t fit a normal job. However, this one you choose the nights you can work. I responded to the tweet, and received an application in my email. My daughter printed it out, got reference letters from a couple of teachers and sent it all in. Within the week, she had the perfect job for her all because her mom was watching the local Twitter Tweets.

My son is a top-notch programmer. Ruby is one of his favorite languages, so he hangs out in the local Ruby online groups.
He set up a LinkedIn profile which works much like a resume with references. He set up a GitHub page (social media for open source programmers) to share his open source programs with others. He got a call from a company wanting him to come in for an interview:

“But I’m not looking for a job.”
“We want to talk to you anyway.”
“I don’t want to commute downtown.”
“Neither do we, we have an office near you.”
“You wouldn’t work around my classes.”
“Yes we will, come in for an interview”

So he did. Much of the interview was the company finding out what it would take for him to want to work for him. They’d already done their research through the Ruby group, his LinkedIn profile, and GitHub. Within an hour after the interview he had an email with an acceptable job offer.

Not all jobs are found through social media. This summer one of my sons needed a summer job. He’d put in an application and wait for a call. Surely they’d call him back soon. He go out and put in a few more applications and wait. I told him that
wasn’t working, you can’t just wait around a expect a job to show up because you need one. We talked about what his ideal summer
job would be. He decided he wanted to do yard work, but didn’t know who was hiring. I said call and ask, better than driving
around and applying everywhere. He went online, searching for local lawn care/landscaping companies and within a couple of hours
had an appointment with one that afternoon, and started work.

Now if my programmer son was looking on twitter local to me, he’d have never found his new job. My daughter would never have found hers by hanging out in the DFW Ruby group. Not likely to find a job with a Texarkana yard crew by looking among the DFW Ruby people either. Heck, lawn crews spend little time online during the busy growing season. Spend time where your preferred employer would hang out.

My tips for finding a job online:

      Use social media to show off your expertise, participate, be sure and fill out your profile.
      Be in the right places, go where those looking for your expertise would hang out.
      Let others know you are looking for a job or more business, have them keep their eyes open for you.
      Check local listings unless you are wanting to move, then check listings for your desired location.
      Be creative. Smile. Enjoy life.

Update:My programmer son has been hanging out with the nodejs programmers,developing code. One evening he wrote his own code to create his own blog, tutorials on using nodejs which were in short supply. We talked about his unique blog, how to make money with it. He wanted it a tutorial only, allowing others to provide content too. Consensus was if he got the traffic, there’d be a way to make money with it.


Within 2 weeks he had job offers in his email. Soon after speaking engagements. His blog was talked about in his niche, many tweets and links from top blogs in his field. Thousands of readers, quickly jumping to a PR5 site, further proving content is king. He was contacted by a publishing company to write a book, as a known expert in his field. When the time came to find a new job, he let his online connections know and several companies contacted him within hours.

Social media can and does work!