Does social media matter? We get this question all the time. And more... Why should I write a blog - who's going to read it? My prospects aren't on twitter. The decision makers I deal with don't do Facebook. Have any of these phrases run through your head or come out of your mouth? Well, here are five good reasons to pay attention to social media.
1 - Get Found: Your blog, your company Facebook page, your twitter stream are not about this moment. They are about creating future points of information and context that will get indexed by the search engines and help you get found closer to the top of the listings - when someone goes looking for information that you have imparted
2 - Find: If you are a dry cleaner, would someone complaining on twitter about their current dry cleaner be a good lead? You bet it would. What are people complaining about - their cleaner; their accountant; their lawyer; their software? Regardless of what you sell or do, someone is complaining about their current vendor and that is an opportunity. (or maybe they are complaining about you and now you have the opportunity to address it)
3 - Interact: Speaking as a business owner, we can get very introspective at times. We forget to pick our head up and see what the rest of the world is talking about. Social media sites give us a way to interact - ask and answer questions, see what others are saying, see what others think is important. In today's economy it is important to really understand your customer and what they value. Social media is a great way to interact with current and potential customers to get that information.
4 - Show Personality: Your corporate website is well... corporate. People buy from people and you need to show some personality. Your blog posts, your twitter observations, your Facebook pictures, all add depth to your company. If you've ever said "if only that prospect would get to know us, they would love to work with us", then social media is an easy way to get that personality front and center.
5 - Establish Credibility: Telling stories about how you solved customer questions or challenges; answering publicly asked questions; offering no-strings-attached advice all create a record of your expertise on the social sites and in the search engines. Be the go-to-guy in your industry.
Yes, social media takes time. You have to learn new tools and make time for it. But all new tools take time and learning. If you've been around for a while, you had to learn how to use email, how to use the internet to your advantage, to use a sharepoint. Once you get through the learning curve the maintenance time is manageable for most.
Oh, and you're right... very few people will likely subscribe and read all your blog posts. Your prospects may not be on twitter (yet) and the decision makers aren't using Facebook - but the people they are asking to do research for them probably are. Make the time to look ahead, so you aren't behind playing catch-up.