Does social networking improve our business?
Though I have been building a lot like minded people into my professional network, I rarely get inquiries from my contacts related to business. Am I missing something? Should I make more efforts to build my business using these contacts?
Yes it can help you and/or your business exponentially. You mention both social networking and your professional network, first you need to define your goal and what you hope to accomplish with the people you have in your network of influence.
The purpose of a professional network like LinkedIn is to share information typically through group memberships, establish a reputation, and possibly find opportunities for career advancement. You may even find a few “sales” type opportunities there if that is what you are looking for and are in a business that caters to your professional network. The best way to do this is to scan your groups for questions about your “Widget” or “Skill Set” and become the expert in your field that is everyone’s GO TO person when they have a problem or question.
Facebook and the other true “Social” type networks are much easier to get the word out about whatever it is you do. When you do a post to your timeline everyone that is a friend or follower can read that post. Don’t get so advertising oriented that you have people get upset with the number of posts you create.
What you really want to do is create a “BUZZ” about your product or service that includes past customers; nothing makes a sale like a testimonial.
In addition to just postings you should also have your own blog and post to it regularly. Post not only ads and sale prices but give out useful information people can use. I personally know of an appliance repairman in my area that posts videos on YouTube on how to change belts on dryers and fix certain things on other appliances. He also very low key has a link from the video to his website, which includes a forum where he also answers questions but also books appointments for service and sells parts mail order. He has a thriving business that he worked hard to create a “Social Buzz” and it works for him.
Other major companies do similar things, take Lego for example. There are numerous Lego forums where extreme enthusiasts talk about products. You can be sure a Lego employee is a member and is contributing and also explaining any bad press they may get, even if it is something so simple as “We at Lego, are aware of this problem and are working hard to resolve it.”
So make sure you are in on the “Buzz” about your company. Good or bad you can’t help the situation if you are not aware of it and communicating with your customers.
So what do we do?
1. Define your social networking goal
2. Start using all the social networks out there just to begin creating your “Buzz”, especially the current top 4 or 5.
3. Start a website or modify your website so it doesn’t only sell products but also puts out great information that your customers and potential customers can use. Post to it helpful articles 3 or 4 times a week.
4. Use the search engines to find websites where you are mentioned and how. If they are places that allow postings then jump right in and introduce yourself and start talking. I was doing some consulting for a very large connivance store chain and they were amazed that there were hundreds of thousands of mentions of their stores listed in one of the main search engines. As I investigated further I found that the vast majority were just using their locations to give people directions. “Look for an XYZ store on the left and make the next right.” The company was extremely happy, their name was getting our everywhere.
5. Don’t just start blasting emails to all your contacts, but do set up an e-mailing list and ask people to join. Once again like YouTube and the content providers asking for you to please to add their channel, ask your contacts to join your newsletter.
6. This last point is a wait and see if I am correct statement, but…. Plan your sites to be primarily mobile in the very near future. Have a normal web presence, however if you have to devote money to one or the other choose mobile.
I hope this helps someone. I do seminars on social networking and search engines, this is just a tiny portion of what I go ever during the seminar.
I have to say you are not missing anything but it is all about timing and follow up. I had found out awhile back my friend’s son had gone into business for himself but I was not sure what he was doing. He connected with me on LinkedIn, and he is doing web development and starting to branch out into analytics and advertising. He reached out to me because he had heard what I was doing and he needs my help. In turn, I have been looking for a reliable web developer that I can refer work to that I do not handle. We are trying to set up time to sit down and talk over lunch.
Do people know what you do? You say you are connecting with "like minded" people, but that does not mean they actually know or understand what you do. It also means they may not have a need for what you do. For example a web host would not need the services of another web host, unless there were specific differences (one is a consumer web host, the other a business web host. each targeting a different audience and can refer business to each other).
Make sure your message is clear. But do not spam your connections. Don't start emailing them saying "I do this, do you need my business". It is better to start your conversations with "What do you do? How can I refer business to you?" Offer to help first...It can take time, but your willingness to share and refer business will come back to you.
Be prepared with a 30 second elevator pitch. And have one written down that you can copy and paste when people ask you what you do. Again, make sure your message is clear. If you are a doctor, what kind? Do you specialize? Is there a type of patient that you prefer helping?
In your social media messages make 80% of what you post information you are sharing and the other 20% reminding people what you do and how you can help them.
I hope this helps you gain more business!
Hi Kalai -- That's a great question and my answer is: it depends. It depends on your intention and how you're using social media. My advice is to shift your thinking from wanting "followers" and "likes" to "networking" and "engagement". Having 600 followers on LinkedIn does absolutely nothing for you, unless you reach out, help others with your expertise, connect with folks, see how you can be of service to them. The more you can be a sharer of your knowledge and expertise, the more your Ideal Client (hopefully, who you are targeting on social media) will be drawn to you, sample your knowledge, reach out when they need help and finally, purchase from you and hopefully, refer you to others. The point of Twitter is to connect with those you DON'T know - as opposed to Facebook, which is your existing network. Twitter is a chance to connect with folks who are aligned with your mission to talk to similar clients - but you only have a common client - not a product in common. In other words, your compatible, not competitive. Making alliances and networking with those folks will allow you to expand your network (targeted network) exponentially. The key to social media (as with any marketing) is to be STRATEGIC.
I have one client who after training sessions with me and a solid marketing plan, in a couple of months got on the first page of Google. Read their story here...http://giselleaguiar.com/social-media-training/fix-my-rv-an-inbound-marketing-success-story/
Besides being social, you have to blog at least 3 times a week. It's about sharing not selling. Here's another article that might help: http://scorephoenix.org/2014/10/really-get-known-expert-field-write-linkedin/
It's takes a solid strategic plan, a tactical plan, persistence, perseverance and patience, but it works.
AZ Social Media Wiz
I think one of the issues you might be having is falling into the trap of networking with people who are "like minded". I guess that description could mean many things however are these people also you are connecting with also:
Clients of your clients?
By confining ourselves to just connecting on social media with people just like ourselves, we often only hear/find out what we already know, things about our industry etc. By expanding your connections into the people you sell to, who they sell to, and complementary contacts to your core business; you have the opportunity to have more influence or to get more insight into opportunities. If you are only connecting with the like minded, you might get bored by the sameness of it all, or miss what your clients are looking for.
Are using any specific lead generation strategies when communicating to your Social network.
Just having lots of people in your network is not enough. Social networking is a means to an end . NOT the end.
Sounds like you might just be focusing on "getting your name out there". If so this a marketing mistake.
You need a complete sales funnel. That starts with a specific lead generation offer.
Then a followup or conversion process.
Do you have an email database? Do you publish an email newsletter or Blog?
In marketing today , you need to become a creator and publisher of content that will inform, educate and entertain your target market. Help people SOLVE PROBLEMS.
Feel free to contact me for a free coaching session.
To your success,
the Marketing Coach"
I think what you may be missing is this is one of those questions looking for a one-size-fits-all answer that everyone can apply. Such a solution does not exist.
Social media, broadcast, print, outdoor, direct mail...all types of media improve business. Ranking which mediums are most effective for your particular business depends on many factors. Variables such as what you are selling, who you are selling it to, whether you are a local, regional, national or international company, whether it's a product or service, B2B or B2C, you are the category leader, number two or new entry, whether you are low priced, mid priced or have high end premium pricing, not to mention client demographics and psycho-graphics.
I have clients that get great ROI from social media and others that don't need it at all. I suggest you seek expertise from media experts, NOT social media experts. Just as a print sales person will sell print as the best solution for everyone, a social media specialist will do the same for their niche.
But remember though that social networking is one part of your marketing plan. Albeit an important part, but one part just the same.
When you start to investigate it you'll find there are several media to social networking, with each playing a separate role to reach out to prospects according to their interest.
My suggestion are:
1. Do a little bit of research into social media and understand how others use them. For example, Facebook is a useful marketing medium for lifestyle products, whereas LinkedIn is a useful brand building tool for professional services firms.
2. Based upon your research, develop a social media marketing plan. It doesn't have to be long. Perhaps a page or two. By having a plan you can benchmark your efforts
3. Get started. Don't create a task that is too difficult to maintain. Most entrepreneurs attempt to publish weekly and quickly run out of material and find the writing demands overwhelming. My suggestion is for you to publish as often as you feel comfortable to produce the material. Say an opinion every two weeks.
4. Analyse your results - ie number of openings, number of "likes". Based on this analysis, adapt your strategy to improve your results.
Contact me if you'd like to learn more.
yes, it does but if you use social networking in appropriate way and you know very well your sector speciality (B2B or B2C) and your target is for your special clients' audience
some practical advices =
1) facebook is for B2C sector
2) linkedin is for B2B
3) find your target audience but not like minded people bcs like minded people are the same as you but they are not your clients bcs your clients needs your products but they think as suppliers but not as producers
you should make more effort to build your business using only right contacts = find contacts of your potential clients
wish you and to your business good luck!
The answer is as simple as knowing your audience and knowing what they need to hear to chose you. Social Media is not a broadcast network. It is an interaction, a relationship and you are only one participant. Most people think that more is better in social media. Not so. Relevant information highlighting you as the expert, the thought leader as the go-to company, is.
Networking does indeed improve your business. Make it a priority. Although it seems like you're not getting a great ROI, you most definitely are. Networking develops relationships and relationships develop trust and trust develop business.
My clients have shared with me that seeing me at so many events indicated to them that I was serious about my business and dedicated to growing it.
Yes, make more efforts. it will pay off. Wishing you much success and prosperity.
Ms. Aguiar has given you the key. Not that everyone else's comments are not useful but Ms. Aguiar gives you the keys to the kingdom.
Why should anyone leave a social network to do business with you?
What reason did you give them?
What do you have in your portfolio that's useful, relevant, valuable and meaningful to THEM?
Your blog allows you to expand your topic about anything that attracts your audience away from the social platform and into your marketing funnel/pipeline. It's known in the world as a free social share with a purpose.
Yes, you begin with your blog but have a purpose, a point, a goal, a plan, a direction.
What you are missing is the art of attraction. Even if you are unemployed, you can attract an employer to you with the right social mix like creating a Revenue Generating Resume giving the audience something to hold onto.
I would check out Ms. Aguiar and learn the missing element and go from there.
Hope this helps.
No, you're not missing anything. A lot of those connections are caught up in the "Like" and "Follow" numbers game. You can distinguish yourself from them by reaching out to them.
You have the connections, use them. What's the worst that could happen? You lose a connection, it wasn't worth anything to you anyway. Start sending out blast emails and links to a final destination you want them to visit. Use your connections for what it really is and that is a network. Television networks have commercials, it's time for you to build your own commercials via email or message.
Social networking connection can give you business depending on how you relate to your connections. If you consistently offer value, your connection will find you as a " go to person". Invariably you might need to do paid advertizing of your social media, to accelerate results.
Social networking works if you are social and make an effort to connect with people. Just being on a site doesn't cut it. You need to personalize your approach to each site and help people get to know you. It's all about establishing trust, much like any other networking situation.
You need to create the need for what you do. Otherwise, you are just part of their network, but not offering anything they actually need.
In the other hand, the fact that you have a like-minded people network, that does not necessarily mean that they are your ideal market.
It would help for you to really clarify what your Value proposition is, and then determine who needs your VP the most, so that you can engage them by creating the need.
I built a tool to analyze social media engagement. I would say it depends on the type of brand and the services provided. One client of ours has fashion stores all over the region. They spend money to gain the right followers and they also invest in community management to ensure at least 20% active engagement which is showing very positively on sales.
I think you have to look at most social media as a route to connection and conversation,the best way of using some platforms such as twitter is to use a url link like bit.ly and link them back to a landing page on your website or blog where they can get more informationand make the buying decision.
Like many other respondents, I believe that social networking does improve business but, like any business relationship, contacts initiated through social media need to be proactively developed by you. In many ways it's like developing a sales lead. Typically you'll offer informative and helpful information in the early days. This shows you have a level of expertise in your chosen field and also that you're interested in solving problems and improving aspects that matter to your contacts (potential customers). Blogging is a useful activity in this regard, as others in this thread have noted. This builds a level of interest and confidence from your social media contacts who will then be more willing to engage with you on business development or sales conversations.