Beating a dead horse…or why you need to get LinkedIn if you haven’t already.

One of my favorite pastimes is challenging some of my more stubborn friends and colleagues in the mortgage industry on their absence from the wide, wacky world of social media.  Most of these folks are extremely intelligent, extremely successful and have been at this for a long time.  Usually, when I ask why they haven’t gotten involved in something like LinkedIn, I get a wrinkled brow, a smirk or wry grin, a low, guttural sound and then an explanation from the following list. So, just for fun, for all my holdout friends out there (not that you’re reading my blog…but at least I can refer you to it the next time we meet), here’s why you need to be using social media!

I don’t have the time.   And yet, you have time for airports, meetings, e-mails, phone calls, et al.  What this really means is “I don’t have time to play.” It means “Social media is a child’s toy and I have real things to do.”  Granted, you probably are very busy, with very important things.  But many thought e-mail was for teenagers, too.  That was about 20 years ago…

I’m too old.      And yet, not too old to use that Droid, Blackberry, iPad or iPhone?  Not too old to be aware of the latest trends and developments in the industry?  If you’re alive, breathing and working, you’re not too old.  Weak excuse guys!

I can’t monetize it.       Yes you can.  The same way you monetize your marketing communications.  The same way you monetize advertising.  The same way you monetize your network of relationships. Deployed and executed thoughtfully, a social media strategy is no different than any other form of marketing communications or public relations.  You can even measure it in many ways!

I don’t really care to waste my time hearing about what my “friends” had for lunch. Me neither!  Funny thing is that, in my professional network, I don’t hear those things.  That’s why a forum like LinkedIn is a great place to start.  The demeanor tends to be more professional.  And if you find you have a contact that does waste your attention with his/her silly status, questions or information, well, you just have to “de-friend” them.  It’s that simple.

I don’t want to open a door to harassment or nuisance.  This is valid, especially for those in C-level positions.  There are things you can do to limit the pitching.  Use an alternative e-mail address.  Don’t offer your direct line in your contact information.  Have a staff member or consultant help you manage the account.  Don’t accept invitations from people you know are solely seeking to pitch you, and if a friend makes that kind of introduction to the point of nuisance, ask him or her to cease and desist.  At the same time, we live and operate in a world where there will be less privacy—especially in business.  Our customers are going to expect more transparency and availability.  If you don’t believe that, have a look at this. Not a banner day for that brand.  Not that you should stand on the street corner shaking hands every chance you get.  But, properly managed, LinkedIn or other social media will not be the time drain some believe it to be.  At least, no more than the phone or e-mail!

Ok, holdouts.  There’s my nutshell answer to your objections.  I’d be delighted to expound, but this is a blog, after all!  Bottom line?  If you spend any time in an airport; if you find yourself doing work at home; if you work on the weekends; if you send e-mails or make phone calls to maintain key relationships….you have the time and ability to use social media.  I’m willing to bet you’ll find it actually makes many of those tasks more efficient for you.