Dr. Misner is very active on social media and thinks it’s great for brand-building. But for most businesses, social media does not replace all other forms of marketing. Unless you’re in an Internet-related business, social media doesn’t generate referrals in the way that face-to-face networking does.
The 2011 Freelance Industry Report survey found that networking-related activities generated 69.5% of freelancers’ business. Social media generated only 2.8% of business. Yet social media ranked #1 in terms of activities that freelancers planned to focus on in the following year.
Despite that professed intention, the 2012 Freelance Industry Report survey showed that social media still only accounted for 2.8% of freelancers’ business, with networking generating 74.3%. But social media was still the #1 activity that freelancers planned to engage in the following year.
Put your effort into the place that your business is coming from. If that’s social media, invest in social media. But if it’s face-to-face networking, invest in that.
Brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube.
Complete Transcript of Episode 527 –
Hello everybody and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube, which features Dr. Ivan Miser and many other networking experts. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan, how are you?
I am doing great, Priscilla, and I have a fun topic today, or an interesting topic. Will social media replace face-to-face networking? I need to start off by saying I love social media. I am really active on social media, particularly Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I have found that social media is fantastic [for] brand building. I also believe that social media will not replace all marketing efforts for most entrepreneurs and salespersons. In fact, here is the controversial part. In fact, for many businesses, it just does not generate the majority of their business.
I know that there are people out there right now who are officially apoplectic, my social media coordinator in particular. Brian, I love you man. This isn’t about what you do. I want everyone to take a deep breath. Know that I love you, involved in social media- and that I love social media. It is a fantastic tool. It’s a fantastic tool for me to retain my audience and keep everyone engaged. It is a fantastic brand builder.
I have also seen the marketing data. Social media, I believe, is great for brand building but it doesn’t necessarily generate referrals unless you are in the Internet business of some kind. So unless you are in the Internet business of some kind, then it doesn’t replace social media. If you don’t believe me, let’s look at the data.
Here is a great example of a couple of reports. One sent me back from 2011 and one from a couple years after that. In 2011, the Freelance Industry Report did a really thorough survey of the industry. One of the many questions they asked was, “What has been your most effective method of finding and landing clients?” Four out of the five answers were all networking related. Word of mouth, referrals, personal professional network, local networking activities – these added up to 69.5% of all business development from the respondent. Almost 70% of all the business they got came from networking or word of mouth referrals. Social media ranked number eight on the list with only 2.8%.
But wait, that’s not the most important and most amazing thing about it. In this report, when they asked, “Which marketing methods are you planning on spending more time and resources on in the next 12 months?” Social media ranked number one with 46.1%.
So they got their business, 70% of it, through networking. Only under 3% through social media. The majority wanted to focus on social media during the following year.
Wait. Still not the most amazing thing about this story. You see, the next year’s report came out and networking-related activities for how respondents actually generated their business that year now moved up to 74.3%. So it went up the next year.
Where is the social media, you ask? Well, with all their commitment to focus more time and resources on social media, the report found that the respondents moved the needle to 2.8%. Wait. It was 2.8% the previous year. So it hadn’t changed.
Here is the most amazing part of the story: Despite their commitment to pour more time and resources into social media to generate new business the following year, the respondents actually didn’t move the needle at all. Zero, zip, nada. The really, really, really crazy thing is that year, 42.8% of the respondents said that next year they were going to focus more on, you got it, social media.
So there is a saying for this. What is the definition of insanity? Doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. In two separate very thorough reports, professionals were generating 70% or more of their business from networking-related activities. They generated less than 3% from social media.
Don’t you think that it would be a good idea to increase their networking efforts as well? Not even decrease their social media. I am a fan of social media. I have nothing negative to say about social media. I am really active online. But to say we are going to spend more and more and more time on something that isn’t getting the majority of the results seems crazy to me. And it is one of the reasons I keep writing books on the topic of networking.
The data speaks for itself. Networking is a great way to build your business. Not the only way, but it is still among the very best ways. So why not spend more time honing that skill? Just saying.
That is my message for today, Priscilla.
Great. I have one question for you.
How much time do you spend every day on social media?
That is a fantastic question. You know, I don’t have a good answer for you because I have a social media coordinator. I mean, you have to remember in my social media platforms, I have over 100,000 people following me, so social media is a very important tool for me. I have somebody whose primary focus is to handle my social media. They don’t do it full time, but it is the gentleman I mentioned early on, Brian. Several hours a day, I would guess, with his time and my time because I also get on my social media, particularly my public Facebook page. But if you count my podcast and my blog, that is a fair amount of time.
I spend more than the average person. I think the average person probably doesn’t need to spend much more than an hour a day. That is my-
That is a big commitment, though, don’t you think? An hour a day?
That’s the max for the average person, not the baseline. You don’t need to spend more than that. You know, you can use tools like Hoostuite, where you know, you can spend an hour and do three or four different things to post throughout the week.
Right, right, right, right.
When I didn’t have such a big following, there is no way I even spent an hour a day.
The bottom line is you have to determine where your results are coming from and put more efforts where your results are. If your results are coming from online, then that is where you need to put more effort. If your results are coming from face to face, then that is where you need to put more effort. If that isn’t like brain dead obvious, I don’t know what is.
That is why these Freelance Industry Reports just confused me because they kept saying, “We’re getting three-quarters of our business from networking, but we are focusing on what is getting 3% of our business.
Really? Okay. That’s all I’ve got. I would love to hear your guys’ feedback. Remember social media people who are listening to this, I love social media. Don’t give up on it. You know, I am telling everybody. Don’t give up on it. Use an expert if you can. Have someone else network for you. So hire the people that are in BNI. Just remember face to face is still top.
Okay, that’s great, Ivan. Thank you so much. I think that is it for this week. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by the Networking for Success Channel on YouTube. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we look forward to having you join us again next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.