I went to a 6 hour Social Media Seminar with only one question. Why is Social Media becoming such a big deal? When I emerged, I had the answer. Here it is. Social Media will cause your business name and a massive amount of your key words to be flying around the internet. This will cause your web page to gain ranking on Google and all the search engines. Your company will reap the benefits of this massive amount of buzz in the market.
The Social Media beginner, (that’s me and maybe you), worries that we will spend all our time sitting in front a computer trying to create this buzz. What I learned is that once you understand how it’s done it only takes about 20 minutes a day to post a few notes about how to do things that you do daily. Over time and FOR FREE your company gains recognition for being the company that’s “the right company to do business with” at a faster rate than has ever been possible before.
(See this attached video if you don’t do anything else.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpMZbT1tx2o&feature=youtube_gdata_player. The first thing they did in the seminar was to run this four minute video that completely opened my eyes to some statistics that indicate today, how we do business, naturally. We talk to each other. If you’re looking for an air conditioner, or a lawn mower, or a new employee, or the best deal on a truck, or what features you want on your truck… this is what we do. We ask each other to recommend things. It’s so natural for us we don’t even realize we do as much recommending as we do.
Traditional advertising seems to boil down to putting out a brand name so that the consumer has seen or heard of it before. This is still important, but when we actually get serious about purchasing, we ask friends or neighbors how they like the product or experience (especially durable goods) since they might have just recently experienced it.
Social Media is streamlining our messages to each other. You can get as much information on any subject as YOU want, quickly. From a business standpoint, here it is… IT’S THE LEAST EXPENSIVE WAY to offer peer to peer review, recommendations, options and just plain information on the subject. The conversation can be as brief as you want. Or, if you need to know every little secret, it’s probably being talked about on line. As a consumer you will find someone willing to talk to you in the media format in which you are most comfortable.
I’m not suggesting that we quit selling. It is more important now than ever to have the right smiling face there to close the deal. I am suggesting that your customers are going to get your name and a recommendation of your company from a simple online conversation that is now bouncing around their cyber neighborhood for sure, but quite possibly, in lots of other markets that you may want to penetrate in the future.
Personally, on Facebook for instance, we are discussing what we do with our daily lives. This includes what we did, who we did it with and what we were drinking when we did it. You can request a friendship with someone so that their conversations show up on your page. It makes your page more interesting for other friends of yours that are theirs, too, or you haven’t met, but can commune with, and also get to know. Ugh… it is almost controlled chaos.
On business Facebook pages, it doesn’t seem to be good etiquette to visit quite so personally. Instead, the conversation stays on the positive uses and sometimes interesting challenges that your friends, and customers, and friends of your customers are experiencing that surround the general topics of your product.
On the business page, the goal is to be “Liked”. All this really means is that someone is interested in following the conversations around your products. New ideas, extraordinary applications of your products, solutions to health issues as a result of using your company are all great news topics.
LinkedIn is another slightly different form of Social Media. Here, the media focuses more on the individual owner or operator conversing about new ideas and reminders to his customers and allies up and down the food chain. LinkedIn allows mass conversation to happen about a specific offering or opportunity. References and recommendations get bestowed on individuals by business associates so as to further each other’s opportunities in the market. As an example, strong support is offered when someone is looking for a new position and someone else has that position to fill.
Within the LinkedIn framework, the individual can join groups that are specific to products, services and trades that allow others to find specific answers to their business questions by peer to peer conversation, recommendations and referrals.
Twitter is another animal in the Social Media jungle. Please realize that I am learning for myself how these work, so I have not worked my way into a twitter conversation, yet. It appears that lots of quick conversations can be out into the market, like breaking news, good encounters with new products and bad encounters with products.
When we, as small business people, start and maintain a high quality open network, we will all benefit. Please go to our Facebook page below and “like” us so we can support each other’s businesses.