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How smart is your Social Networking?

By : Ziad K. Abdelnour| 26 June 2010
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I am frequently asked by people what I think of social networking at large (having such a high profile on the World Wide Web), how on earth do I have the time to get involved given the incredible pressures I face on a daily basis running Blackhawk Partners and what do I really have to say that would be of interest to strangers?

Well, all what I can tell you is that since I started my social networking journey back in 2004 (the same year I founded Blackhawk), I’ve met some wonderful people online, generated a ton of business, empowered thousands of entrepreneurs, and made some great discoveries. Having said that, I strongly encourage every self-made man out there seeking to build a solid “brand” to do the same.

Frankly speaking, I don’t think this is about finding only people you know but rather pushing the envelope and getting out of your comfort zone.

How much personal vs. business?

My rule of thumb mix is about 20% personal, 30% interaction with others and 50% business. That’s what works for me, but it’s important to do what makes you stretch beyond your limits, yet still feels authentic.

How much time should I spend on social media sites?

This depends on your goal. If it’s simply to get acquainted and see what happens, try 15-20 minutes 3 times a week. If you wish to build relationships, find resources, and gain business, then at least an hour a day may be required. I personally spend an hour a day out of my gruesome 12 hour a day work regimen on social networking.

How do I know if it’s working?

Success is measured in many ways, and like most marketing much of it isn’t directly measureable. I know that my presence on social media sites is working for me because I enjoy it; I’ve made it manageable (despite my over 10,000 connections already on 12 different social networking sites), met great people, learned a bundle, found amazing resources, and gained for Blackhawk at least a couple of hundred clients.

How do I find the time?

Well, I personally schedule my social networking time just like I would an appointment. I put it in my calendar and stick with it. Consider it marketing and know that it takes practice. I usually combine checking my email and checking out FaceBook, LinkedIn, aSW and Twitter – I schedule these activities into timeslot somewhere in my day. Nothing of course beats the one on one meetings….but this only after getting to really know the people I am meeting face to face.

Who do I connect with?

I am approachable to all, and I will try and answer all….unless people start sending me blind invitations to connect with no reason whatsoever or plainly asking me to forward a request (such as on LinkedIn) with no explanation why. My basic rationale is very simple: I don’t like to spam my friends. After all, social networking to me is not about collecting names. It is in my personal opinion mostly about Intelligence gathering and networking with like minded people for self and mutual empowerment.

So many people I know spend so much time worrying about someone disagreeing with them or thinking whatever…. Get used to it, these things happen. But isn’t that what makes this world such an interesting place? Everyone has an opinion and varying viewpoints. I find the social networking environment to be friendly and forgiving overall – enjoy it, make friends and just see what happens!

Looking forward to doing business with you and to continue being your resource for deals, capital, relationships and advice.

Your feedback as always is greatly appreciated.

Thanks much for your consideration.

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