When Facebook first came along I was adamant it wasn’t for me. I had a close circle of friends who I kept in touch with via phone, email and by regularly meeting up. Why did I need to sign up to a ‘social networking’ site and spend time reading mundane status updates about the weather and what someone had had for their breakfast? I was oblivious to its potential in influencing and enhancing businesses and becoming much more than just a place to show off your latest holiday snaps!
How things have developed! Both Facebook and Twitter are now huge marketing tools for businesses across the globe. Having recently set up my talent management agency, JP Talent, I have come to realise their power more than ever. I make a conscious effort to check my Twitter daily. I find it an invaluable tool for keeping up to date with the media and entertainment industries. I follow television networks, publications, publicists, popular media personalities and anyone else relevant to my company or clients. This means I am on top of any trends in the industry - news tends to travel a lot quicker over the web than it does via television or print media.
It’s also incredible to see the effect Twitter and Facebook have had on the popularity of bloggers. It was not long ago that a ‘blogger’ was viewed as the angsty, social pariah who only left his or her bedroom to get a quick photo of Kerry Catona at the local Iceland (or Asda). Whereas now the bloggers themselves are becoming celebrities. I think this is a lot to do with the fact that we have now all become bloggers to a certain extent and therefore we take the ‘proper’ bloggers more seriously.
Social networking sites have also enabled high profile media talent to reach millions of their fans through a single tweet or status update. Fearne Cotton can promote who will be up next in the live lounge on her Radio 1 show to her 3 million plus Twitter followers. Piers Morgan can push his ‘Life Stories’ show by giving an exclusive snippet from an interview to his 2 million. Whereas Lady Gaga now has so many followers (over 21m) that she is about to launch her own social networking site, ‘LittleMonsters’. However the ability to so readily splurge out information to the world is a also a dangerous thing. A quick tweet in a moment of anger/passion/drunkenness and you've just shared something that will be archived somewhere on the web for hundreds of years. So, careful what you say! Perhaps count to ten first..? As a talent manager this can also be a difficult thing to manage, especially if your client is a bit of a Twitter-holic. There's been more than one occasion where I've had to make a call along the lines of, "Would you do me a huge favour and remove that tweet you just posted that could potentially ruin your career. Many thanks."
Another negative aspect of social networking and the web in general is that it’s becoming a lot easier for people to become lazy. There’s no substitute for getting out of the office and having a face-to-face meeting. Often I will come away from a coffee meeting with a new contact having discussed business which neither of us had realised existed between us. This would never have come about by a few tweets or emails to each other. I was recently given some essential advice on the matter, ‘Don’t just network. Build and nurture relationships. You’ll find you get a lot more in return.’
In conclusion, clearly there will still remain those people who like to tell the world how many km they ran today or how cute their baby was this morning. Zzz. However, Twitter and Facebook when used correctly are undeniably an invaluable tool for businesses, especially in the media and entertainment industry. Just make sure you don’t neglect real-life relationships. If you’re having a meeting – put your phone in your pocket!
Written by Justin P. Girder founder and director of JP Talent. Follow Justin at Twitter: @JP_Talent