The biggest challenge we have right now with Social Media is just helping clients understand what it is. We tell them Internet marketing has to include social media, and their reaction is, “Why do I need Facebook?” Or they say, “Linked in? Twitter? What’s THAT?” If they have any familiarity with it at all, it’s probably on a personal level, and they really don’t see a marketing connection at all.
There’s a big difference between Social Media and “Search.” They’re related, but they’re different, and you need both. Look at it this way. Imagine you’re hungry, and you’re driving down the street. You see a bunch of restaurant signs. A big, well-lit sign catches your attention, so that’s how you decide where to stop and eat. That’s basically advertising, and it worked, because the signs were there and you happened to be hungry when you saw them. Social Media isn’t like that at all. Social Media is you’re having a conversation on an elevator, and it’s not even lunchtime yet, but a guy you work with tells you about this amazing sushi place. You may not go there for weeks, but when the day rolls around that you’re hungry for sushi, you’re gonna remember that a guy you work with recommended a place. You’re going to eat there, not because of the sign on the building, but because someone you know told you to. That’s Social Media.
When it’s done right, social Media can be really effective because it’s so targeted. Think about it, what do you want to do – go up and down the street knocking on every door in the hope of finding someone who wants to buy what you’re selling – or would it better to walk up to a group of people who are already talking about your industry and who are already giving each other advice and referrals about your line of work? Those groups are already out there on the Internet. Someone’s already talking about your industry, I guarantee it. You have to be part of that and use that.
When we talk about Social Media, we’re talking about finding a group of people online who represent your target audience. In simplest of terms, Social media is people who voluntarily joined some kind of online group based on a common denominator. People who…like cats. People who like movies. Or even more specific…people who like Siamese cats. People who like Kung Fu movies. Now, within these online groups, the members don’t know each other personally, outside of the Internet. They’ll probably never meet each other. But based on that common denominator, they have a bond that looks and functions like a relationship. They talk about things, they give advice, they ask questions, they share photos with each other. It isn’t real in the sense that it’s not taking place at a coffee shop, but it is real. If they want a recommendation on cat food or a kung fu movie, they will look to one another for that before they go anywhere else. There’s “weight” to these relationships because they didn’t pop up overnight. So what does this mean for you in terms of your business? It means there’s a group out there already talking about what you do. Social Media is finding that group, and joining that conversation. Or building that group, and starting the conversation.
Facebook is great way to start with Social Media. We will recommend that you have a Facebook page for your business. Then, we’re going to encourage everyone who does business with you and everyone who visits your website to go to this Facebook page of yours and indicate that they “Like” you. They click a button give you a thumbs up or they become your Facebook friend – they take some kind of action to indicate that they endorse your business.
These people who voluntarily connect with you on Facebook, may not have anything in common other than that they are all connected to you in some way. Next, you’re going to start interacting with your network. Not yelling “buy my stuff” because no one wants to be pitched to all day. You’re going to interact with them in a way that feels more like socializing. You can post pictures of an event that your company takes part in, or your CEO can comment on recent headlines and share his opinion, or you can suggest that your Facebook friends come read your blog on your website. When you do this, everyone in your network will see this activity and they get a little subtle reminder that you exist.
Now here’s where it gets interesting: when the people in your network respond to you, when they interact with you on Facebook ….let’s say you post a photo and someone in your network clicks on your photo…then suddenly it gets shared with that person’s network of Facebook friends. Did you see what just happened there? The people who “liked” you are sharing your messages, with their own friends. That’s just like the guy in the elevator who said he knew a great sushi place. It’s athirdparty endorsement that you didn’t ask for. You can’t buy that kind of endorsement. But social media can do that for you at 2 in the morning. While you’re asleep. Twitter is a platform that a lot of our clients are aware of, but they’re baffled by it. Or maybe they’re doing it wrong. They open a Twitter account and they start sending out
messages that say, “Buy my stuff!” And then a week later they post a message says, “My stuff is the best! Come buy my stuff!” And they get zero response and so they quit and they say Twitter is stupid and I hate it. Well, Twitter can get amazing results, but it does take patience.
Think of Twitter as a party that’s already in progress. You go to this party, and you see a group of people talking about sports, some people talking about the latest movies, and then there’s some people over there talking about cars. Well, let’s say I sell car parts. I’m going to ignore everyone at this party except the group who are already talking about cars. But even then, I can’t just interrupt. I have to be cool. I’m going to hang back a little…I’m going to slowly work my way into this group. I need to just listen for a while. Maybe comment on something someone else is saying as a way to build rapport. Maybe I need to ask some questions so that I give others an opportunity to shine, before I offer up my own comments. That’s the way you break into a group socially, and it’s the same with Twitter.
As a business, you build a presence on Twitter by seeking a targeted group and becoming part of it by interacting in a meaningful way. You don’t just say “buy my stuff.” You engage in dialogue and you share your expertise so that your authority and reputation grow and attract followers. To “follow” someone on Twitter means that you listen to them. If you say enough things on Twitter that are meaningful and relevant and interesting and helpful, people will begin to follow You. The result is a targeted audience that really pays attention to you. Again, you can’t buy that kind of influence. But Social Media is the way you build it.Share