What does Social Media Mean to Building a Personal Brand, Brand Builder or Time Waster?


If you are interested in personal branding, chances are strong that you regularly engage in some form of social media.  If so, I ask you this question – is social media truly beneficial to your brand, or is it a giant waste of your time? (Not a rhetorical question, let’s hear your answer in the comments section!)

For comparison’s sake, let me make a few generalizations about your social media activities.  My guess is that you are active on Facebook and/or Twitter, and have a profile set up on LinkedIn.  Aside from the “big three”, you probably have a few accounts at smaller niche sites.  Altogether, you might spend an average of 1 hour per day networking online.

Assuming the above is true, or close, you spend roughly 365 hours per year on social media.  Allow me to play the role of devil’s advocate, and offer a few alternative ways you could spend that 365 hours:

Honesty time – I haven’t done any of the above.  Not even close.  Instead, while writing this article I’ve clicked links from Twitter, updated Facebook, and even formed a new connection on LinkedIn.  Why?  Because I’m a huge believer in the brand-building power of social media.

But, after reading the alternatives above, let me ask you again:  Is social media worth YOUR time? If so, prove it in the comments section below with concrete evidence – who have you met, what have you learned, or how exactly has your brand benefited as a direct result of social media?

Ryan Rancatore can also be found discussing social media and more at Personal Branding 101.  Connect with Ryan on Twitter at @RyanRancatore, or on Linkedin, Facebook, or Brazen Careerist.

Photo credit, gnackgnackgnack.

12 Comments

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  1. 1
    Lyle

    Time on Social Media, is worthwhile I have established a lot of contacts on Linded In, Face Book, and Twitter. I established a group for the establishment of an indoor amusement park on linked in, I have developed business relationships on facebook and twitter, and also found a few friends on the various sites. So I would have to say social Media, does work…

  2. 2
    scottscanlon

    Social media is worth your time if you are truly connecting with people. I’d suggest one step beyond just social networking, take it offline. Pick up the phone, connect with people. A lot of people don’t do this one additional step, but this is the key.

  3. 3
    Devon Jordan

    Wow, second time commenting on one of your blog posts, I feel a bit stalker-ish…

    With that out of the way, I am a strong believer of Social Media as a tool to increase you personal or business brand recognition, get a job, or increase business. Almost everything I have read, online and otherwise, reinforces my opinion. Take a look at the Socialnomics book, and you'll know what I mean. Ultimately it is how you use Social Media to get ahead though. Casual browsing and chatting with your friends probably isn't going to land you your next job.

    Has it actually helped me? No, not yet, but I'm still new to the “Using Social Media to Get Ahead” game. I'm building “Brand Me” and knowledge as we go, and in doing so have met some awesome people, both online and in the real world. I know that these connections will ultimately help me find a job if/when I get this college thing out of the way. I have demonstrated enough confidence and understanding in the SM field to get my Dad to let me manage his venture into the field.

    If this doesn't all work out, I'm going to be pretty bummed, I would have loved to have finished 73 books last year…

  4. 4
    David Lanphear

    Most of the other options listed above are static. Social Media is constant, dynamic and changing. That’s why it feels more rewarding and has a bigger draw. Is it actually beneficial, though? I’d say so. It helps you stay informed, make connections, and helps you grow and enhance the other aspects of your life you use the other 23 hours in a day for. So social media isn’t a replacement for time, it’s a jumping point to express and grow your interest in the other 23 hours a day…and possibly build a following of likewise believers.

  5. 5
    Cassie Wallace

    I got an interview through Facebook. I was looking at someone’s profile, went through to their company, applied and got 2 interviews with the company. Didn’t end up taking a job there, but made some strong connections with a few people in my field.

  6. 6
    bretsimmons

    Love this post, Ryan. For me, it is a brand builder. I do know a lot of folks that are wasting time because they are either getting bad advice or just too lazy to do this right. They want something for nothing. No instant pudding in personal branding. Thanks! Bret

  7. 7
    Ryan Rancatore

    @DrBret Good point – the response certainly differs depending on who is answering the question.

    @Cassie That is awesome, I'd like to hear more about the process if you don't mind.

    @David Great answer – I suppose it is the tangible nature of the listed items that makes them so easy to measure and evaluate, vs. social media which is ever-changing.

    @Devon Stalkers are welcomed. 🙂 Isn't that what social media is all about, forming lasting connections via meaningful interactions? Best of luck to you, I appreciate your input.

    @Scott True – I'm with you, continuing the conversation via multiple channels is the way to form REAL connections.

    @Lyle Thanks for providing a real-life example, sounds like your group would have been near-impossible to coordinate without the help of the social web.

  8. 8
    JCR

    Engaging in social media is essential for almost every company and a huge majority of uni alumni. Compared to what it may gain in future the time you spend today on social media is well invested.

  9. 9
    Melissa

    Social media is definitely worth my time. I completely agree with Scott regarding the importance of online activities translating into either an in-person meeting or a tangible business agreement; without that, it's a bit of an illusion. However, more initial connections are happening via social media among people who perhaps would never have met without it. The sharing of ideas that is happening as a result of those online connections is adding significantly to the overall conversation.

  10. 10
    Loribeth Dalton

    Social Media…specifically LinkedIn has been directly responsible for me obtaining new clients as an Executive Career Coach and for helping several of my clients make connections that landed them jobs. My primary goal is to connect my executives to Headhunters and key executives nationwide. I have been able in one year to have over 3100 first level connections and 15 Million in my total network. This has allowed me to quickly and efficiently make introductions. That's my mission! Twitter has helped me to stay on top of what's hot and current by following though leaders in my areas of interest. I am an open networker on LinkedIn….please connect to me and let me know how I can help you!

    Loribeth Dalton
    Executive Career Coach
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/loribethdalton
    [email protected]

  11. 11
    Cassie Wallace

    @Ryan The guy had friended me on FB, randomly I suppose based on the fact that I am a) in the Pittsburgh business community and had some mutual friends b) a college student (part of his company's target demographic). During winter break, I was looking for interesting internships to apply to, and scanned his profile.

    Long story short, they had an internship position, I sent my resume over (via email, no less) and landed an interview.

    Just subscribed to your PB101's RSS… looking forward to reading it.

  12. 12
    Cassie Wallace

    @Ryan The guy had friended me on FB, randomly I suppose based on the fact that I am a) in the Pittsburgh business community and had some mutual friends b) a college student (part of his company's target demographic). During winter break, I was looking for interesting internships to apply to, and scanned his profile.

    Long story short, they had an internship position, I sent my resume over (via email, no less) and landed an interview.

    Just subscribed to your PB101's RSS… looking forward to reading it.

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