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One of my clients told me that he really didn’t need to know what Ryan Seacrest has for lunch (or something to that effect) as he was explaining that he did not see the value in Facebook or Twitter. My immediate response was; “You are not getting the right stuff.” By that, I mean that if you are going to derive some business value from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, you have to seek out providers of content who give you something worth your time. The likelihood of any benefit derived from knowledge of some celebrity’s diet regimen is very small, unless you believe that eating like Ryan Seacrest will somehow contribute to your own celebrity status, which may be evidence of a different problem. I say, “let’s move on.”

Deriving value from social media is either very simple or very complex, or it is neither or both. It depends on your approach. It can be simple, as in; signing up for a personal account, creating a profile that makes it easy for former classmates and coworkers to find you, seeking out the people you would like to have as connections on your account, and posting content relevant to what is going on with you. That’s the path I think most people take and that’s fine for personal needs. You can make things more complex by taking on too much at the outset, as you may find you have to pare your list of friends later to simplify things. Today, you can acutally use Facebook in a number of ways by being selective with your privacy settings for each new post. Whether that adds or reduces complexity is a matter of opinion.

Where business is concerned however, you’ll have a few more things to consider. Things like, how to best represent your value to the audience, what you have to offer and how to make that message clear, and whether or not your sales pitch involves pulling prospects or clients from Facebook to your website for a more in-depth experience of your brand. There may be some merit in simply putting forth your entire proposition on your “Facebook for Business” page. I cannot help but view the creation of my business page on Facebook as (yet) another website I’m creating for the same purpose as my original website, only aimed at a different audience. The big difference is as much about attention span as anything. If readers see something of value on my Facebook page, my hope is that they will be drawn to my website, where they may spend a bit more time getting to know more about what I do and how to engage with me for the services they need.

Regarding Twitter, my use of this social media platform has mainly been to post something of a lead-in to some other thing I’ve written or posted elsewhere with more expansive content. Given that you are limited to 140 characters (including a link), you have to hook someone fast with very few words. Most often my tweets refer to a blog article I’ve written, or provide a link to some other web content I’ve found that is useful to me and potentially useful to my followers (as your readers are called in Twitter). Likewise, I’ll follow Twitter accounts of people who are posting content similar to mine or content that supplements my interests in helping people with technology. As those people see you are follower, so too, may they begin to follow you.

Naturally, since I’ve mentioned blogging, well, here we are! My website is relatively static, except for the occasional changes I make to links or icons (which are generally geared to new social media or mobile technology) or other minor tweaks I may make to my pages. This is in stark contrast to my blogging sites, which are updated every time I feel the urge to further elaborate on why I do this and how it may help businesses improve their marketing efforts. Case in point, I’m writing on this topic and hope to use it to feed a teaching gig I have coming up, as well as a speaking engagement I have in the near future. In one case, I plan to provide several hours of material, in the other, I plan to condense this down to about 10 minutes of presentation. Wish me luck.

To recap, I think blogging is the ultimate tool to more fully express yourself, while Facebook and Twitter (for me, as of this writing) are more like the hooks, bait and tackle I use to do my fishing for additional prospects and clients. Give them enough to garner interest and a link back to my website or blog for more information and contact information. If it seems to you that I may know something about this subject, that’s all the more reason to think of me if you need help with any of this social media stuff.