Social media is new, so there is much to learn from it. It’s taken the world by surprise, it’s toppled governments, and it’s connected millions of people around the globe. It has also given business people an amazing opportunity to reach potential and existing customers in a very different way.
The challenge is, if you don’t truly understand its benefits, you may never really be able to glean from it, the results it can truly bring to you. In this article, I want to lay out 10 critical identifications that once made, can truly change the way you interact, as a business, with social technology. The social business by Salesforce offers social networking solutions for companies.
They Won’t Listen Unless You Build Substance
A lot of people think that they can sign up for a Twitter account, and start posting their messages right away. “The more followers I can get, the better exposure we can get for our company,” they think. But the problem with that is, this isn’t traditional media and if you’re not building substance (a couple online conversations, some smiley faces, or maybe even a real life interaction), you’re really just tuning more people out.
Your audiences, followers and friends will start paying attention to your tweets for business once you actually do the groundwork of establishing emotional connections with them. Now they won’t ignore your tweets and posts, and they’ll actually start listening to you.
Stream And Reply
I own a tech repair business. I repair computers, iPhones and other technologies. To this day, the single most effective social strategy for my company has been to find streams of information and reply to them. This could mean friending people on Facebook, going down their entire profile page, and replying to anything you find humoring, entertaining or conversation provoking.
For Twitter it means using a target market specific search to find people talking, within the area you do business. For example, if you wanted to get a stream of all conversations happening within 15 miles of Easton, PA, you would type: near:”Easton, PA” within:15mi in the search box, and let the stream come in. Then your mission becomes extremely simple: reply!
You’re Influencing Buying Decisions Through Social Experiences
Too many people are approaching social media, and the quest for ROI (return on investment), looking to get the dollar return right away. If the dollars don’t come in, people begin to question the efficacy of communicating with people on these channels.
The reality is, you’re not selling to people in social, they’re not there to be sold to. But what you do have a golden opportunity to do is influence them positively through a social experience. A conversation, a retweet of something they put a lot of time into, a good morning a couple times a week, the list goes on! Building social experiences with people binds you to their trust receptors. You’re building awareness in their minds, of your company, every time you do that. To me, someone in my target market feeling positively about my brand, is a very powerful thing. That influences buying decisions.
Engage In The Process Of Social Placement
Because trying to sell to people is going to turn them away, your mission really becomes placement. What you want to do is place yourself in their minds so that when they think of your product or service, they automatically think of you. This is called “free advertising!”
The brain has what’s called a “reference system” that it uses to call upon certain information to help you make decisions. If, by communicating, replying and being in the mix with the people in your target market, you put yourself right in the middle of their decision making processes, you’ll have a great chance of their brains referencing your company to do business with.
Having Conversations With Brands Excites People
If you would have told me, 10 years ago, that I could have an actual conversation, for free, with representatives of some of my favorite companies, both local and global, I would have thought you were stark raving mad. But now it’s a reality and that excites people.
The emotion of excitement, attached to your brand in your potential customer’s mind, is a very powerful thing. Reply with enthusiasm, spark exciting conversations and give people the experience of interfacing directly with your brand out there in social. The opportunity is massive!
Social Media Is A Lot Like Real Life Relationships
In life, when you “get to know someone,” you’re learning bits and pieces of their personalities as you continue to talk and be with them, and you’re building more points of comfort with them as well. However, that takes time, and it’s no different with social media.
The only way to approach social media for business is to roll your sleeves up, and prepare for a long ride. Have a six month outlook. Be looking to build results that will manifest themselves a year down the line and really start ingraining yourself into the minds and hearts of the people you want to reach. The single most troubling element in the psychology of people tinkering with social media is the need to get results right away. Despite what they think it’ll do, it does the opposite. When you try to get results now, what you’re actually doing is prolonging results. Treat every interaction like a real relationship, and cultivate it with care.
Now’s Your Chance To Beat Your Competitors
I always say this: if your competitors are out there building trust with your target market, they simply have the edge over you. Don’t let that happen. The opportunity to truly connect with people in your target market is so massive, that it gives you the immediate edge over all of your competitors, especially if they’re not taking advantage of it.
I have completely entrenched myself into the local Twitter community in my target area. I have conversations with the locals everyday. I’ve had coffee with some of them and I’m getting leads from Twitter, and doing business with people, weekly. If my competitors showed up on the scene and started talking to people, they’d be light years behind me and it would take a while to catch up. Not to mention, I already have a multitude of trust points built with my target territory. Social media is truly a powerful way to edge out your competition.
Volume Is King
Though you want to have depth in your interactions, the more people you reach, the better. The great part is, you can have the best of both worlds by striving to reach more people, and developing meaningful, in-depth relationships with each of them.
For any company, particularly one in the startup phase, awareness is your best friend. The more people you can get to know about your brand, and the services (or products) you provide, the better chance you have to receive leads on a consistent basis. Establish connections with people, deepen those connections, but don’t stop there! There are many more people to meet, and there is always more trust to be built.
The Effect Extends Past The Internet
Having an interesting, in-depth conversation with someone in your target market, may spawn a whole new conversation about that interaction, the next day when that person has breakfast with their 5 friends. Making positive impressions and delivering meaningful social experiences to people will get them to talk about you to others.
Everyone is looking for something interesting to talk about. We all want to scream and yell about the cool things going on in our lives and social media gives you a great opportunity to get right in there, and build those experiences with the people you’re targeting. It doesn’t end on the internet, it extends out into people’s everyday lives. Be prevalent in their minds as much as possible, and let the firestorm of word of mouth run its course for you.
Leads Do NOT Come When You Want Them To
We’d all like to believe the leads are going to start pouring in once we start interacting with people and getting out there. The truth is, just like in traditional marketing, leads often come when people need you not when you want them to call you.
Don’t get frustrated by the inability to be able to create leads fast, but rather, focus on maintaining a consistent flow of interactions with the people you’re trying to reach. You’ll begin to see that the more you stay consistent, the more the leads become consistent. You cannot control when people need your services, but you can control how prevalent you are in their minds. Keep at it, you’ll get the results.
In summation, the “art of social media” is really not an art at all. It’s about consistently doing the right things, over a long period of time. I hope this article has given you some insight into what those things are, and a closer, more detailed look into the psychology of creating ROI in social media.