By Terry L. Brock
What is going on with this social networking buzz? Well, for marketers and business people serious about making money a lot!
If you’re like the bottom-line focused businessperson that I am, you might have questions about this whole Social Networking rave. Yes, it is nice to see people connecting. And yes, it started with college kids sharing about things that normally don’t pass the So what? test in business.
But the world has changed.
It has changed in a big way. Social networking is a prime way to reach prospects, suppliers, vendors and colleagues today. Television isn’t what it used to be. Radio is not the same. Newspapers are laying off people right and left. The Net is growing and growing big time.
So how can you monetize this as a marketer? How can you get into the wave of social networking and use it for your advantage to contribute to the bottom line? Today’s businesspeople focus on what is working.
Here are some pointers to help get started as you move forward into this new wave of marketing and doing business:
- You Can’t Directly Measure It. I know this is hard for numbers-oriented people. Think of Social Networking like being part of a few key business groups. You can’t always have a direct connection between your involvement and immediate business. It is more like wearing appropriate clothing for your business. A good presence is necessary and expected while a bad presence can hurt you.
Use Social Networking To Build A Following. Gina Carr, President and CEO of Around Town Community Magazines in Woodstock, Georgia says she uses her activity on Twitter, LinkedIn and other networks to establish a presence. When people want to do business with you, they will check you out on LinkedIn, Twitter and other places, she said. This is part of the getting to know you and trust you process today. Gina Carr described it as establishing celebrity status.
Use Social Networking to Build Community. We all want to be part of a community. We want people who share a common interest and we consider part of our group. Done properly, a social network can be useful for this.
- Stay Updated. You can’t just join and forget it. Work it. Like any good Relationship Marketing model, you have to apply TME (Time, Money, Effort) to get the best results. Keep your listings updated. Stay in touch with people and connect with them during important events in their lives (birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, funerals, sicknesses, etc.). This is fundamental throughout history. Today we use Social Networking on the Net to do the same thing. Be willing to put forth the necessary TME to make it work.
- Don’t Forget it is about Social Networking. People want to get to know you first as a human being. Having done that, they are more inclined to deal with you in business. Focus on their needs as people and their interests. Find and foster common bonds.
Social Networking is a manifestation of the human need to connect with others. We’ve done it for centuries. Think of the old scene of the people sitting in rocking chairs at the General Store in a small country town. They were engaged in Social Networking. They listened to each other. They cared about each other. They even did business together.
Today it is the same principle. We do business with people we like and trust. We empower that relationship through technology; through the Internet.
Be involved in Social Networking. Grow with it as it grows and evolves. Don’t go overboard with too much Twittering but stay in touch where appropriate. Staying in touch with real people in real human ways is what makes for good business and a good life.
Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at [email protected] or through his website at www.terrybrock.com.