It is always nice to get a quote in the Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately, it seems other advisors aren’t having such a positive experience with Twitter and other social networking websites, so I thought I would expand on the notion that these sites are not “measuring up” and talk about some of my own personal experiences and what has and hasn’t worked.
In terms of my own personal use of social networking sites, I first started with LinkedIn, then Facebook, then eventually went Twitter. With all of these sites, I think there are some common stages of acceptance. First comes “denial” (that will never work), next “curiosity” (my friends and colleagues keep talking about this thing, perhaps I should check it out), next “acceptance” (may be interchanged with addiction for some), and lastly “adoption” (figuring out where it fits). With each of these services there was initially denial, “that will never work”. With Twitter in particular, I already had over 5000 connections on LinkedIn and I couldn’t figure out why I would ever need to use anything else. Having explored each of these services in some detail, I can tell you that that they all do different things and having an opinion on one should not have you forming conclusions on the others. The key to success in social networking is, knowing what you want to get out of it before you start. Unfortunately, if you haven’t taken the time to learn what the services do or what they are about, it might take some time to figure out how to get the most from it.
Let’s address the issue of “measuring up”. What does seem clear is that you should check you expectation of your social networking profile being an instant client magnet. If your expectation is to put up a profile and have droves of qualified clients start emailing and calling you, you can forget it. For sure, your expectations won’t measure up. So what good is it?
Twitter is by far, one of the best ways to keep up on news in your niche, find out who the influencers are, and be in the know about what’s being discussed when it comes to things you are interested in. As was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article, within a very short period of time (less than a week as I recall) of joining Twitter, I followed Jean Case and The Case Foundation. Because I was blogging and talking about philanthropy and social entrepreneurship related topics, Jean Case followed me back and started listening to what I was talking about. Soon we also connected on Facebook as well. It turned out, while our relationship was limited to online, we shared a few common Facebook connections whom I knew offline too. While Jean and I have Re-Tweeted a few posts from each other, our relationship has remained one of “social networking acquaintances”. Since she and I connected, I discovered the great work their organization does. We are both on each others “radar” if you will. Who knows what will come in the future. Had it not been for Twitter, we would not have know about each other. There have been dozens of people I have met in the social networking world, many whom I have actually met in person and have developed business relationships with.
Social networking helps me cast a wide net and meet people who are interested in the same things I am. If you use social networking properly, these relationships can turn into business opportunities as they have for me. Having a philanthropic and social entrepreneurial wealth management practice isn’t something that you just hang a shingle and advertise. Social networking is a key tool for building your reputation, meeting key contacts, and emerging with a niche. It has become an essential and effective tool for me and makes meeting new people easy, effective, and fun.