02 Mar 2010
Social media is one of the new Buzz terms people use as if Social Media is a new innovation recently invented.
But it isn’t, only the implementation is new.
Five hundred years ago, if you were the local blacksmith, people came to your business because you were there. They knew you because you lived in the local community. You most likely went to every joust you could to display your swords and shields and talk to people. This helped you become better known.
Fifty years ago, if you have the local car repair business, people still came to you because you were there but now they could come from further away. If you wanted to expand your business, you went to local shows, sponsored prizes at car shows, joined the local car club etc and became more widely known.
Today, people still come to you because you are “there”. But depending on your product and what you are selling, they could be coming, via the internet, from the other side of the world.
Why would they come to you? Because:-
o They know you
o Someone has recommended you
o They saw your advertisement or
o They found you by chance
None of these reasons are any different from what they were 50 or even 500 years ago.
What is different, is the tools YOU can use to get yourself known. Five hundred years it was all verbal word-of-mouth stuff.
Fifty years ago it was verbal word-of-mouth plus printed media.
Now it is printed media, verbal AND virtual word-of-mouth.
In the past you became known by being out there physically, involved in clubs, shows, events etc.
Now you became known by being out there virtually (on the internet), involved in SOCIAL MEDIA – and you can do it from the comfort of your own home!
You would have all heard of the many social media virtual sites that exist now.
Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google Buzz and many more. If you have an interest in anything, no matter how obscure, someone else probably does as well and there will be a site somewhere devoted to it. If there isn’t you can make one!
These sites enable us all to both stay in contact with friends and family or to share a common interest, but they can also be used to enhance and build both your internet and main stream businesses.
So how can social media sites help with building business?
There are over 400 million FB users which clearly shows that today more and more people are going online to find their purchases, get help or information, or just “look around”.
Social media, in the broadest concept has opened the communication lines to enable us all to talk with family, friends, business associates and customers all over the world for very little cost. Think Skype – for the cost of your internet connection, you can talk with anyone else anywhere in the world – as long as they are on Skype.
Such interaction makes it extremely easy to make and maintain friendships with people you have never met in person – like electronic penfriends.
Social Media can help in making new business contacts. Being able to build a rapport with people, becoming a part of their lives, showing interest in what they doing, will build a trust that will in no time give you many more potential customers.
But remember that not everyone is on the Internet to do business. And no one wants to have your business link thrown in their faces every time you “talk” to them. People are looking to build relationships with people not with products or logos.
So correct etiquette is a must.
Also keep in mind that anything you type or post, may be visible to EVERYONE.
Some points to consider to ensure your social media doesn’t undermine your advertising program:
1. Get online and monitor your brands – Put together a profile. Then connect all of your social networks so your communication in other places automatically flows in harmony. Ensure people know that the name you use in social media is really you. It will help you protect your personal brand and helps include your posts in search results.
2. Find and follow your influencers – There are always people who influence the conversation more than others. Put together your list of traditional and social media influencers in your areas of interest and business and then look for them everywhere.
3. Engage by posting meaningful content – Produce meaningful content and then post it to all relevant sites. You’ll quickly get feedback and learn how to use this to increase your customer base.
4. 4. Make your Web site, videos, photos and content shareable – Social networks thrive on people sharing stuff with their friends. Studies show that people are more than three times more likely to share with their friends if you have easy-to-use sharing tools that push that content right into their social network of choice. Think how easy it is to share emails. Social sharing provides search engines with fresh and popular content when people are searching for your brand.