Social media is not my business. Over the past six months, however, social media has radically changed how I do business.
I’ve become a solid practitioner of this craft. No I don’t have 10,000 followers on Twitter but if that’s what I wanted, I could accomplish it within a month or less. Instead I have pursued the following strategy.
I spend my marketing time focused on inbound marketing. Time that I used to spend on traditional sales activities like outbound calls to potential customers (we call them suspects in the sales game) is now spent creating a magnet of information for those who should be interested in what I do. My tool of choice so far has been the universe called social media.
My social media mix includes this blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook (to some extent), my permission based email list, and public speaking opportunities. These are just the tools. The trick with social media is to find your unique voice. I strive to have the personality I project primarily through blogging and Twitter be me. The same real, authentic and sustainable me you would meet in real life. From both a business and personal integrity point of view, I can’t afford to have it be any other way.
Social media is the tool you use to communicate with your community. Think about the neighborhood you live in. I’m fortunate to have lived in the same cul-de-sac for 15 years. We have some of the coolest neighbors on the planet. I like these people. Keeping that in mind and remembering what our Mom’s taught us (treat others as you would like to be treated), I wouldn’t even think of barging into one of their houses and trying to sell them something.
The single biggest “secret” in social media is to give in order to get. As my friend Adam Dewitz told me long ago, give the information away for free on your blog. When they are ready to implement a business solution with that information, you prepare an engagement proposal to charge for your time and expertise.
On Twitter I focus on doing 2.5 things;
1. Providing useful information in the form of links to articles I believe my followers will find interesting.
2. I engage with my followers and those I follow. I answer questions they ask when I can, and ask questions I am looking for the answers to.
2.5. Yes, I will sometimes even tell you what I am having for breakfast or what I am doing at the moment, but numbers 1 and 2 above are more important in the end. 2.5 Just gives you some perspective on my personality and who I am.
Four months of outbound marketing is paying off as my sales begin to steadily increase. It’s always more fun to speak with a potential client who has come to you already knowing you are capable of solving their problem. On the less tangible side of the equation, while working on this post I was contacted by Nani Paape who will be soon be interviewing me for her blog. This opportunity to reach a new community would have never been possible without the game changing, field leveling tools that make up the social media universe.
Do you use social media to run your business? Are you achieving the kind of success I am? Please share your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to know what you think!