The Real Value of Social Media (I’m Googling You Right Now)

Alisa BonsignoreI’ve listened to a lot of speakers talk about the importance of social media. They tell you that you need to have a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a blog or a LinkedIn account. “It’s to connect you to your customers,” they say.
I’m no social media guru (and I generally distrust anyone labeling themselves as such), but that just doesn’t get to the heart of the matter for me. I can connect with my customers in a multitude of ways, and don’t need Facebook to do so. So why do I have all of these things?

Go ahead, Google yourself. I’ll wait.
What did you see? Because I can almost guarantee you that any prospective client is doing the same thing when they hear your name. It’s the first thing that I do when I meet someone new.

What appears on the first page of Google search results? Is it your blog? Your Twitter stream? Your LinkedIn account? Or is the third entry embarrassing high school pictures that you were tagged in on Facebook? The more content you publish, the more you control your Google search results. Your user-controlled results will appear higher than the things that you don’t control.

Oh sure, those pictures will still be out there, but unless you’re running for office or discovered to be having an affair with a celebrity, nobody is going to take the time to click through to the 11th page of results to find them.

That, in my humble opinion, is the real value of social media. Do you agree?

Listen to BTW: [audio:] At last year’s Creative Freelancer Conference, Colleen Wainwright (aka the communicatrix) gave a session on how to think about social media and put it in context. Check it out here.