How you you like more sales? How would you like to get more eMails or phone calls (obviously for business)? When I post that question to most people their eyes light up! That often becomes a short lived glee once they ask the ultimate question “HOW?”. What they were hoping for was this magic formula, that once I gave them a drink, they would see immediate and lasting results!
The reality is… Social Media and Social Networking for Business can be an effective part of your marketing tools, but it's gonna cost you… either time or money (usually a mixture of both).
Social Networking is that… Networking…. It's about relationships! Social Media is that… Media… that is networked socially. Effective marketing is accomplished by defining an audience who would be interested in your products or open to helping you sell, and then provide compelling content that people will to review, absorb, and act upon by either contacting your business or forwarding to someone who might!
Here are what I consider the three essential steps to an effective Social Networking Plan:
1) People Who Need People
It's about relationships! We all have friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers, vendors, clients and more. The more people you can add to your networks, the better chance you have that your messages will result in a connection that will ultimately result in a sale.
Some people confuse the tool with the relationship. Yes Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In are great tools, but they are not the result… creating relationships that can be sustained is. Then you cultivate those through meetings, networking groups, events, volunteering and more. Just gathering business cards and email blasting may work for some, but you have a better chance by maintaining face to face contact.
So the lesson here is cultivate and maintain an active network… And if you don't have the time… hire someone (or utilize your sales team) and create some tools that will help gather names for you (like a better website).
2) Content With You Content?
What do you have to say and why is it important? Nothing kills a relationship like selfishness. Constant selling is a sure way turn off a crowd! You have to think about the audience and create something of value to repay them for their time.
You have to provide content that is both helpful and sells. For some this is a blog, for others it's simple Tweets with links to useful website, or a Facebook post with a cool video or article. You also have to remember that the wider your audience, the more you may have to communicate, and mix it up to appeal to a broader range group.
The lesson here is you have to nourish the relationship with something of value… And if you don't have the time… hire someone (like us) to do it for you!
3) Publicize with Audience Action in Mind
Use traditional and new tools to generate interest. When I finish this blog, it is posted to Facebook, Linked-In and more. Then I use Twitter to say “The Blog is Done”. I also have an eMail list that I encourage people to read or subscribe via RSS feeds. I also give them a quick and easy way to opt out if they so choose (luckily that rarely happens).
The key thing is to make sure any of your messages gives your audience quick and easy access to your email or phone number, in case they have a question, a need or a referral.
The lesson here is to promote your communication with ultimately a referral or action in mind… And using broadcast email and social networking can help spread your messages faster and to a bigger audience!
Bonus of the Week…
Social Networking in Plain English (kinda like those UPS Commercials)! Enjoy…