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Be honest with me and yourself – have you ever been asked this question or have you ever asked yourself this question in some form or another? I bet that you have. We could probably agree that different people would have different responses based on what their definition of the word “work” is because for some social media “works” to bring them new business and for others it “works” to bring them enjoyment or to provide them some form of a diary that they can look back on and see what they were doing at different times over the last few years. And for others they think it is a complete waste of time.

I would have to say that the most common question I get from people in regards to social media is, “What do I care about Joe Schmo updating me that he is getting a cup of coffee or whatever else he is doing?” I would agree with this comment if it weren’t for one thing – CONTEXT. That is the piece of the puzzle that many are missing. It is not just about content. It is ultimately about context.

The truth is that I don’t really care about a person walking into a small booth and putting an “x” on a piece of paper either. Unless, of course, they are putting an “x” next to a name in November and they are voting for who will be the next president of the United States. Now I care. Why – Because there is context now.

Take a look at a picture that I posted recently of my five year old son spending the day with me in the office. Do you notice anything that stands out?

You may have noticed that it has 706 likes and 507 comments. You would think that there was something amazingly different in this picture to gain it that kind of response but there isn’t. It is nothing but an adorable kid smiling and being his usual awesome self. So why did it get that kind of response? Because I make it a point to provide valuable content on a regular basis which in turn has created context. This wasn’t just some kid who was randomly photographed in his kindergarten class. This was MY kid.

This was the son of the person that my facebook friends had conversed with on a regular basis. This was the son of the kid that my facebook friends had watched the videos and read the blogs of. There is a difference because my content has created context with the people I am connected with in social media. In the same way that I feel when I see a picture of someone’s son or daughter on facebook or twitter that I feel a connection to. And just like marking a box with an “x” is not always marking a box with an “x”. Sometimes it means more to us because we now have context.

So my question to those of you that wonder if social media works is have you given enough content to your followers and friends to create proper context? Just because someone else is getting amazing results in something doesn’t mean you can step in day one and have the same results. But when you don’t get the results that they do is it really fair to announce to the world that you tried what they are doing and it is a waste of time? Think of it this way – if I tried to make a living playing the guitar right now I would fail miserably. That is not even a question. But when I did fail would it be fair for me to announce to the world that playing the guitar is not a viable career path? I would think that people like Eric Clapton and others would beg to differ…

What I have found from my time as a professional speaker and trainer is that for most people when something isn’t working, many times it is not the tool that is the issue. It is the implementation of the tool.

We live in a world of context on a regular basis. You may care about things that your niece or nephew do, that taken out of context, are just normal everyday things that kids do but you care because of the context of your relationship with them. This is no different than what I am talking about here if you were to take the time that is needed to create proper context with your social sphere.

Creating great content means putting information out there that makes people take notice of you. It means providing something that adds value to their life. The more you do this the more you will find that more people will care about what you are doing because, in context, they connect with you and your activities. When this happens, that is where you start to see social media work because when people are interested in you, they keep you in their thoughts, otherwise known as “top of mind,” and isn’t that where new business really comes from?

Jared James is the CEO and Founder of Jared James Enterprises, an internationally sought-after speaker and trainer. James built one of the fastest-growing real estate teams in the country, was inducted into the International Hall of Fame for one of the world’s largest real estate companies and wrote a best-selling book—all before the age of 28. As an acclaimed speaker, James keynotes events for major real estate organizations and conducts regular webinars and training for nationally known organizations like NAR, CRS, Yahoo Real Estate,Trulia and Zillow Academy and blogs regularly for RISMedia.

To stay in touch with Jared James, visit www.facebook.com/jaredjamestoday and www.twitter.com/jaredjamestoday or visit his website at www.jaredjamestoday.com.

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