Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to speak on Social Media and even been fortunate enough to help clients leverage it and make money. Anyone who has been in the field for a few years has seen social media go from a “No way this will work in business, my kid uses it” to a legitimate sales tool that generated three million dollars in sales.
Yes, we do live in exciting times! Media companies are merging, magazines are closing and the newspaper industry is in a fight for their life. Do I believe social media is the end all be all? In a word…NO! Do I think it is another way to connect with millions and millions of people who are either your target market or are your customers? Yes, I do.
If you have ever been to a networking function you know exactly what I am talking about. At a typical function, you can meet anywhere from 20 to 50 people through the course of the event. Not bad for a few hours of work and out of those contacts you may or may not find someone interested in your products or services. Note I said interested in your products or services. Your company still has to add this prospect to your sales funnel and work through your individual sales process.
Using social media is really like going to a networking event that is on steroids. Think about it. With social media you can connect with thousands or hundreds of thousands of people. The only limits you have are the limits to the number of people in the space. Like networking in person, there are still “best practices” to networking in the social media spaces. As is the case in any group, you can quickly alienate yourself in the social media spaces as easily as you can face-to-face.
The easiest way to avoid being ostracized in the social media world is have a strategy. Yes, a strategy. You have a twitter account, a Facebook account and a LinkedIn account, so how are you using them to connect with your target market? Better yet, why does your target market want to connect with you in these spaces? This is where strategy comes heavily in to play. Next, you need to have sound tactics. What message are you putting out and should it change depending upon the social media space?
Below you will find a chart (developed by our own Sean Nelson) that SONARconnects uses when we discuss social media with our clients.
I look forward to your comments and hearing how you are using social media in your business.