The Power of Social Networking

This topic is all the buzz lately. Everyone is interested in it. It is part of the reality of our new world order, and, like it or not, you cannot avoid or evade it.

In fact, my ASTD chapter's January 2009 meeting was all about Learning 2.0 - using the new web 2.0 tools for learning, and it was a smash success - we doubled our usual attendance!!

My colleague Jeremy Epstein, a prolific blogger and an expert in 'community driven marketing', had an excellent case study in his blog recently about an application value of using social media for business. Read his post here.

His client, Dan Pink, the famed writer and author of best sellers and great reads Free Agent NationA Whole New Mind and the recent The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, tapped into the distributed community driven marketing idea when he created a contest for the 7th principle for his Johnny Bunko manga comic book about career development. While the contest had limited success, things really took off when they announced the finalists and asked for readers to vote their favorite.

Here, the distributed part happened: the finalists became marketers, using all means available to garner the most votes - Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. The page hits tripled and sales of the book went up, up, up! The blog post even tells the story of how one contestant - ultimately the winner - contacted Seth Godin and got a blog mention and an endorsement which sealed the deal.

I've encouraged my Board of Directors (Metro DC ASTD) to think about this idea and how we can use this to drive member engagement up. In my business, I am making a concerted effort to strategically leverage my social networks to drive traffic and generate business leads. I'm sure I'll be blogging more about this here.

How are you harnessing the power of social networking to work for you? I'd love to read about your experience - please feel free to comment below with your thoughts.