So, it’s official, I am a social media god. Well, a demi-god maybe. I’m number 79 in the tCn/Construction News “twitter100” #tCnTop100. This makes me possibly as hip as B.o.B., the rapper who features on Jessie J’s “Price Tag”. Take the price tag, and the cashback, just give me six strings and a hashtag. Dude.
OK. I know that’s not what he says, but half stack and hashtag… I thought that’s what he was saying for a while.Still, there’s a message in that, even though misheard. B.o.B. is essentially saying money doesn’t matter, and we should all just do it for love. Righteous.There’s a problem there though. If I do everything for love, my bank manager will lose his patience at some stage. I, like Jessie J and that Robert chap actually do need to get paid or things could get dicey.
Now, twitter is one of those things where you can’t easily see the return. The FD will be sat there with his calculator and his pens in his top jacket pocket saying “it’s a waste of time and money, where’s the sales?”, probably in a yorkshire accent.
The thing is, the return *is* rather intangible. What do I get for being no.79? Is there a paycheck? Sadly no. I get a warm feeling, yes, but no folding stuff. In fact, I remember chairing an excellent event about the use of social media in construction and no-one could manage a case study of direct profit made from twitter. As far as I’m aware, that’s still the case.
Who else is on the list? @GrantShapps is right near the top. Does he make money out of it? Er, no. What about @eepaul? Well, yes, sort of. He gets work as a social media consultant, and you wouldn’t employ anyone in that context unless they ranked in say the top 80 of any list, would you?
@GemmaWent, who spoke at that social media event, is also top 10. She’s a marketing consultant, and probably gets work because she knows what she’s doing with this stuff, along with a few other subjects. But does anyone actually make money directly from twitter? Well, no, not even twitter make money directly from twitter.
What the people who use it for professional purposes (as opposed to those who use it to tell us that Peter Andre isn’t their favourite person anymore) know is that participating in “the conversation” makes you look good. And that Looking Good leads to work. @GeoffWilkinson is recognised as one of the foremost building regs men around. That reputation has a lot to do with his online social media activity. And that reputation is pretty good for business for his company.
@GrantShapps does it for influence. He wants people to listen to his opinions. He may even be interested in listening to theirs. Is Grant influential? Well, he looks it to me. Martin Brown (@fairsnape) also gets his opinions listened to, but he has no democratic mandate, just a reputation for speaking sense in 140 character chunks. Twitter can build your reputation.
It’s rather individual of course – as usually people are tweeting in their own capacity rather than their companies (generally, companies prefer that as a less risky option). Corporate tweeting has the air of dullness, and smart individuals realise there’s more long term value to them in building their own reputation than their employer’s. Journalists have spotted this, and the individual accounts of @adders, @zerochamp (both in the 100) and others are much better value than the ones branded with the media they work on.
But then, it’s your people that make you money, isn’t it? Their knowledge, skills, expertise and market contacts are what bring business to your door. Therefore anything which enhances their professional reputations, will increase their ability to win you work. Reputation makes cents, etc.
So all the time people spend climbing the social media ladder, engaging in online conversation about their specialist topics, is actually, indirectly of course, enhancing your companies bank balance. As long as they’re doing it right of course, and not bleating about how nice their omelette is.
You know half your advertising money is wasted, as they say. At least twitter gives you better odds than that.
Follow me, why not – http://twitter.com/rosssturley …
This blog first published on my Total Marketing Blog, on Construction News’ website.