At this point in our series of articles we’ve touched on several areas of the online world and how they positively affect your business. Now we’ll turn to the big scary monster which is social media. I’m not exaggerating when I say scary because many people are extremely intimidated by this new model. Just like anything in life – like learning to drive, it takes practice, good observation, correcting errors and having your destination (goal) in mind. So pretend I’m your driving instructor and we’re inviting you to a free lesson. First, let’s take a look at your vehicle.
We won’t begin by boring you with endless statistics about the size and scope of the market. There’s way too many articles and information readily available out there for that. Just like you need to study the driving manual, you have to educate yourself. You have to know the rules of the road and what the signs mean. Where do the roads go? What you should do and when. Start educating yourself and see what other companies are doing right and see if you can replicate their successful roadmap. This includes the inside of the vehicle itself.
You also need to learn which apparatus achieves what function? How does LinkedIn and Facebook differ from Twitter and StumbleUpon? Which of these do you apply and when. It’s all in the practice. Once you get the hang of these functions get going. Don’t just sit in the car. Get it moving. The fear many have at this point is they think they have to drive cross country and that’s not the case. Take a little spin. First down the block, then around the corner. Start little test efforts and see what kind of results you get, who is interested in connecting your product or service and make it worthwhile for them to be connected to you. This could be offers, specials or even just information (like we’re providing you now … see!) As you get more comfortable you’ll take longer trips and become more daring in how far you go and how fast you go. Why? Because by now you’ll have a lot more confidence in your abilities. Soon you’ll be managing your social media efforts as leisurely as a driver steering with one hand.
But enough of the comparisons. What are the practical applications of what we’re speaking about?
Social media and your business are more linked than you realize. The game has changed. Many feel forever! That means you’ll have to adapt because there is no turning back. And just like the era when the horse was replaced with the auto, many who were screaming that they would never get rid of their horse eventually had to. The world had changed. The biggest point we can share with you is the following… You need to understand that people no longer choose a business because they saw an ad. People now choose a business because it was recommended and supported…by others who have already used the product or service! Let me be clear that ads still work but the advertising message they contain needs to reflect or promote the social media efforts of the company. Once you have a firm understanding of this and embrace it, things will go much smoother for you and your business. Remember those little test drives I mentioned before. Get your company’s page up and out with the social media space. If it’s already up, go further, how can it be refined and made better. Build your communication through sites like LinkedIn, post useful information in StumbleUpon, write blogs on your area of expertise, use Twitter as a customer service channel, build a referrer program and provide cool things from your business to get people to talk about you. (“Where were you today?” “I tried out this restaurant, it was fantastic! We must go there… I’ll send you the link on Facebook!”..again see!). Don’t treat this as a separate effort; this is seamlessly linked to the operation of your business.
Hopefully this helped in showing that there is no bogey man in the closet. Social media is a massive, universal gateway to consumers around the globe. There is an expression that many corporations have been using over the past few years which says, “Think global, act local”. That expression didn’t just pop out of nowhere. Social media, as an expression of the internet and connects your business to the entire world.
Language isn’t even a barrier anymore. The tourist who stopped in your business to shop can still order your product online and continue to order from you. And if your plan is working she’s sharing that great experience with others connected to her. So that was your first driving lesson… If you feel like you need more instruction before stepping out on your own don’t hesitate to reach out to me here at CBIL 360 at jrujano@cbil360.
You’ll be on the road in no time!!