You’ve likely heard the sentiment expressed by many people that “The best thing about social media is that it’s free!” While it’s true that we don’t technically have to pay to use Facebook or Twitter, the true cost comes with your time.
As you can tell by scrolling through my site timtialdo.com, I blog on an average 5 days per week. I post 3 times a day on my Facebook and twitter pages and spend nearly an hour daily engaging on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Throw in conducting interviews for my podcast and editing them and this all equates to about 10-12 hours a week, using social media to build my platform.
That’s a part-time job! Multiply forty to fifty hours per month by any hourly rate, and we’re talking serious money!
It’s no surprise, then, that we want and practically demand to see a return on our investment. For most of us, the benefits we see from our time spent creating great content, building community, and engaging with others is considered “intangible.”
In other words, there isn’t always a direct link between our time spent using social media and getting gigs or selling out time and energy. I constantly wrestle with the quantity of time and intellectual capital I invest in my online platform. But then an interaction happens through social media that reminds me of these often overlooked benefits of engaging with others that you need to be aware of:
- Accountability. With every tweet, post, and status update I put more and more skin in the game. Every day that I choose to create great content, engage with others, and build my online community, I’m becoming more invested in my passions, dreams, and projects. It’s a daily reminder of where I’m going and why I wake up everyday and take my seat in front of the keyboard. Furthermore, the community I’m building and am connected to holds me accountable to my mission and goals. When my projects hit a dead end or I lose my way, I remember that a community of my friends, peers, and colleagues are watching.
- Thought Leadership. Regardless of the TV industry, it’s my responsibility and obligation to stay up-to-date on trends, events and news. Social media makes this really easy. Through social networks I’m able to track with the leading voices not only in TV hosting, but in video production, marketing, social media and web technology. This not only helps me to meaningfully contribute to the conversation in TV hosting , but it helps me run a better and more productive business. I’m enriched and challenged everyday with new ideas, information, and strategies.
- Help. Whether it’s troubleshooting my latest production challenges or figuring out new and innovative ways to use social media tools, the community I’ve built through social media is there and willing to help. Sometimes it’s hard to place a value on getting top notch advice right when you need it from those are ready and willing to help. It’s the law of reciprocity and when you’re putting free stuff out to the world, karma takes it place and finds free stuff to give back. You reap what you sow.
- Real-Life Connections. Through Twitter, I’ve been introduced to some of the biggest heavy hitters in the TV industry. Some of these relationships have made their way from virtual to real life connections. About once a week I’ll have a phone conversation, Skype chat, or meet with someone I’ve connected with. Short of bumping into them at a gig or cornering them at a bootcamp, I never would have met or had the chance to form a personal relationship with many of these people.
- Opportunity. There is often a lot of guesswork involved in marketing yourself and your services. I know everyday I find new questions and challenges that I must try and conquer. Through social media, I’m able to track with industry leaders and see what they are doing to help hosts and those wanting to pursue a life on TV.
With little effort, I can see what is working and what isn’t. I’m also able to identify new opportunities for others and myself and come up with ways to connect good talented people with fun and lucrative gigs. It’s been a lot of fun to call different hosts and say I’ve got a gig for you if you’re interested! It also allows me to work with many people I love to work with.
These five overlooked benefits keep me writing, tweeting, and connecting. Social media has a price, but I’ve found time and time again that it is, indeed, worth it and if you’re interested in building your brand and marketing yourself to the world watching, you may want to follow.