I recently participated in a roundtable discussion at the Cabarrus County Chamber of Commerce. The focus was the changing face of social media, and the conversation was eye-opening. Due to working in the marketing industry, I take a lot for granted; what I quickly understood is that most small businesses have no idea how to generate business through social networking.
We all seem to know how to generate business from face-to-face networking – just not on the internet. Therefore, I’ll take the risk of repeating what so many others in the marketing industry are saying, as it will either be new to you or a good refresher.
Here are a few of the questions we discussed, and their answers:
I can't be on all the social networks – how do I know which one(s) to focus on?
You don’t have to be on all the social networks, just the ones your ideal clients are on. You’ll exhaust yourself trying to interact on every network, and you won’t see positive results because you’re not reaching the right people.
How do I know where to find the right people?
Spend some time on LinkedIn and Facebook looking for your existing clients. What groups are they participating in? Consider joining some of those.
What do I say?
Start by “listening” to the group discussions and find a way to add value to those discussions. Every social networking site has its own way of interacting, and it’s important to go with the flow of the group. DO NOT jump in and tell them why they should buy from you or talk about a sale you’re having – the goal is to help, educate, and build trust.
You’ll quickly learn which topics are interesting to the group members, and that will indicate the education they need/want. When you know that, you can create the kind of content that will interest people. You want to offer premium content that educates – like your blog or an eBook – to the group and your followers.
You should also share content that you find interesting and helpful that’s not yours. That way, you aren’t just promoting yourself – you’re helpful, too.
How do I know if my efforts are worth it?
For a very long time – 5 to 7 years, which is an eternity online – people believed that all they needed were a lot of connections on LinkedIn and followers on Facebook. They believed that that meant their effort were producing results; the problem is that random connections/followers don’t convert. You need them to visit your website, read your blog, and download a piece of content. So the real metric is how many new names come to your database through social media – if you’re getting new names, your social networking is successful.
If you’re doing it right, social media takes time every day; a question at the meeting was whether or not you should hire someone or outsource this task to an expert. I was delighted to hear that the consensus was an outside expert – because that’s what we do! We have packages to help small businesses with social networking and creating content to get them noticed.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Leading Results can help, schedule a call with Laura.
If you’re not ready to talk, this educational content on social networking will prove helpful.