So what are these things listed above and what is “Social Media” anyway and more importantly why should I care? If these social media platforms are not on your radar, you may be ignoring a dynamic and exciting trend that can have a profound impact on growing you business, leads, sales and ability to influence change.
Social Media is a term that is increasingly being used to describe conversations that are taking place on-line. Wikipedia.org defines the term Social Media as: an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, audio, pictures and videos. And while that sounds pretty impressive, when it is all said and done Social Media is really nothing more than people have a conversation on-line.
So how do you manage it? You don’t!
For years, traditional marketing involved a one-way communication effort. Through public relations and advertising campaigns, companies put forth value propositions to generate market appeal, attract and retain customers and drive sales. However, in this day and age with the rise of Social Media platforms such as Blogs, online forums, and social networks like LinkedIn®, Facebook®, Myspace®, and Fastpitchnetworking®, the voice of the consumer is quickly drowning out those carefully crafted company messages and “staying on message” is becoming unmanageable. And with over 3.5 million conversations taking place online daily in the U.S. alone, companies are realizing that that the marketing to todays technology-driven, or “Digital Natives”, means engaging in a two-way communication and being increasingly transparent.
And even before the rise of Social media, the internet had already begun to give us transparency of information. If you have a question all you need to do is “Google it”. So today with the rise of social media, the transparency of information is increasing and companies are not able to hide behind their branding “gurus” any longer. And in fact we see that the successful companies of today are establishing a sense of community with their customers, listen to their concerns, and get them involved in the company or organization. In fact the companies that leverage these tools will show their customers, and the marketplace, that they are not just giving lip service to putting the customer first, by blogging, facebooking or just Linking In, these organizations will be demonstrating that they have a real interest in their customers.
So now your question might be that’s great information but how does that help me and “How do I use this to grow my business?” Great question and glad you asked. As a sales performance consultant I study sales and the buying process to better work with my clients. And I will put forth to you that at the core of any Sales process is “superb communication” or really good conversations, which would include getting information, giving information and ultimately getting commitment. The platforms of social media, per the definition out of Wikipedia, are great tools for having conversations online and in fact are emerging as being great platforms for “superb communication”.
And as “superb communication” is at the core of the sales process we can begin to see how social media can be a great tool for enhancing communication i.e. giving information, getting information and gaining commitment.
In fact we are seeing forward-thinking companies leveraging blogs to open communication lines between product developers and end users. Almost like a virtual water cooler, these blogs become a meeting point for troubleshooting, improvement ideas, and just giving feedback all of which can result in products and services becoming more relevant. Additionally, end users that feel they are part of the company’s process become much more engaged with a brand almost to the point of becoming evangelistic for the brand.
So now that social media has blown the concept of “staying on message” out of the water, spending more money on attracting people to a brand doesn’t make sense. But what does make sense is figuring out how to add value to the existing conversations that are taking place online about your brand or industry. And trust me those conversations are happening online, right now, about your business, industry, and perhaps even about you specifically, so to demonstrate your commitment to your customers, get involved in the conversation. Do a Google search on your company name, your name or industry. See who is saying what about you, your company or your industry and get involved in the conversation.
Add value to the discussion out there in cyberspace, it will only pay dividends to you and your organization in the long run, and the ‘long run’ in Internet time is next month, so get LinkedIn® try a little Fastpitching and get “bloggy with it” just get involved and have fun. And remember this isn’t like “running with scissors” you really can’t get hurt with social media but you are sure to be surprised in one way or another.
And remember playing with Social Media isn’t like “running with scissors” you really can’t get hurt with Social Media. But you are sure to be surprised in one way or another. So get on LinkedIn to start things off and start building a network on Linkedin. A large network on Linkedin will pay dividends in your Sales and Marketing efforts beyond your wildest expectations. And here’s a Bonus: Strat growing your network by inviting me to your network on Linkedin Click on this Link http://www.linkedin.com/in/stephencadley and then click on Add Steve Cadley to your network.
Remember have fun. Social Media is really just a new medium for people to have conversations and you know how to talk to people already so now just go have a conversation in the Social Mesh, have fun and get Social.
“This article is brought to you by Gus Woltmann”.