For the past three years I have been actively engaged in social media as it applies to business. I began with Twitter because it is so dynamic. Information travels so quickly on it- one can catch a glimpse of how influence in business and communications works. Today, I am fully engaged in the Social Media Networking Game called Empire Avenue which measures the value you or your business brings to social networks.
1. Ground Zero
Ground Zero for all business is connecting with a potential client. Before switching my focus entirely online I would spend time going out to network at events but I soon realized that it was not going to help me build a business as a Social Media Consultant and Coach to Canadian Businesses. To aquire “social proof” that I knew how to assist a business online I needed to be online and active as a business myself!
Ground Zero for most Canadian businesses when it comes to Social Media is still “thinking about Social Media” or getting a Facebook page up then forgetting about the reason they did so…or worse not realizing that what they have “created” is not a print ad, or radio commerical or TV spot with a bunch of bought eyeballs either looking at it or trying to ignore it. A Facebook page requires regular maintenance. For that to happen and your fresh daily content to be seen and shared you would have to dig into your marketing budget and allocate funds to it or dedicate a good chunk of your own time daily to maintain a high level of interaction. Its called Social Media and it’s a new way to communicate. What are you communicating?
2. Above the Crowd
With the addition of good quality content you begin to rise above the fray of most businesses online when you curate, create and share good content. Most Canadian businesses still refer to their the dusty website as their online marketing efforts. Even if they were to update it to a snazzy Web 2.0 site – did they remember to allocate funds to SEO or Social Media so they could be found? Even with an old website – once you begin to communicate daily – or hire someone to do it for you — your social media efforts will finally get off the ground and begin to float…
3. Up to the Clouds
Up in the clouds the social media services and networks are numerous and you will have to step up your understanding of how social media works in order to create a game plan or a strategy as to how you will connect with your potential audience, who, by the way– are already online. If they are not one has to wonder about their ability to survive the great re-set, the full on shift into the “information age”. For the most part these folks will become crash test dummies on what was called the “information highway” decades ago. It was not as though these consumers of western culture have not been forewarned. Having sold websites back in 1998 I sometimes experience deja vu when it comes to tring to educate a small business owner on this stuff. Think about it — if your customer has no computer or mobile phone do you really think they are going to be able to afford your products or services right now or in the future? And if they are connected through an electronic device do you really want to wait to bump into them on the street or in the supermarket, elevator or friend’s party to start a “relationship” and attempt to pitch them on your new products or servcies? How long is that going to take? Have you measured the time vs sales outcome for this kind of relationship lately? Who has the time to take the time to bump into people?
4. Breathing Rarifed Air takes TIME
It takes time to access the benefits of your social media stategy. Give it at least one year! Ironically when it comes to time is just like old school marketing. I remember when selling business cards and postcards – direct mail pieces we would say give it time, you have to distribute these things first before you are going to see results. It is the same with Social Media except you now have to figure out how to build a network online, curate and create good content, distribute it and have others share it, establish yourself as an expert, establish trust and credibility before you are going to get the true ROI. It takes TIME and Money to make Social Media work, small business owner! Time and Money. What value do you place on your time?
5. A Mile up on your Competition
What happens when you are a mile up on your competition with respect to your social media? conversations that lead to sales, referrals and the ability to leverage the networks you built. Suddenly you realize that you have a great referral base to tap into and a multitude of relationships that you can work on to strengthen in your sales funnel. What you have is sustainable. Again TIME is the key factor. Any good sales person knows this. That is why the best sales people do not like the one off accounts where they get the biz, get paid and then have to move on to find new potential clients, qualify them and go through the entire process all over again…they prefer accounts that are ongoing…where a REAL relationship can be build and value added! A Win Win scenario.
With social media, if you build your networks right from the start – and there are no shortcuts – you will reap the benefits down the line. Social media is not a one off ad – it is a network of qualified leads that can be measured as being a mile high — once your klout score reaches 100. Now that is a target to aim for!