Whether you and your business are more old-school — the Kiwanis and Lion’s Clubs and Chamber of Commerce type of networking — or new age — using social media marketing — there’s one thing both generations have in common, connecting with people. However, if you are not employing the use of social marketing, you’re doing your business a substantial disservice (and the same can’t necessarily be said about skipping out on that Kiwanis Club lunch meet-and-greet).
With social marketing, you are able to connect with people on a level of speed and accuracy that is just not feasible in the physical world with face-to-face networking. Not to say that Chamber meetings and the Lions’ Club isn’t relevant, it’s just not as efficient anymore in a world that offers social marketing.
The harsh truth? You cannot afford NOT to be using social media for your business.
Social media marketing, brilliantly explained by Michael Hyatt in this podcast interview with Rick Mulready, better expresses and leverages your voice than any other contact building opportunities could — it is the new way of networking. People EXPECT websites with links to your Twitter and Facebook spaces. Consumers aren’t looking for you in the yellow pages anymore, and generally speaking, most customers don’t want to call you; they want to email you with their comments, concerns or questions. Tweeting is the new word-of-mouth, so you must be online to be a part of the conversation (because it’s happening whether or not you’re there to contribute — and trust us, you want to be have a voice in your conversation).
With social media marketing, your business:
- Builds trust and therefore relationships
- Allows you to be the authority in your industry
- Creates opportunities for conversion
- Shapes thought leadership
You want to build relationships with consumers, so they’ll visit your website or social platforms. The more they visit, the more they trust you and your company, and the more trust is built, the more likely these consumers become actual customers. In this increasingly dependent digital age, social media is invaluable to building your success.
One more thing …
Before you break into a cold sweat and rush off to create Twitter handles and Facebook pages, this is one element you must arrange for your business BEFORE you become a social media maven:
Build a home base, a place where you can send everyone and refer consumers, an area you own and control where you create and display your expertise in your industry so you can develop your authority.