Today’s rave is social media. Everyone thinks social media will create such a buzz for their business, that they won’t have to do anything else.
So, they create Facebook and Twitter pages. They open a Google+ account. They create boards on Pinterest, groups on LinkedIn, have a YouTube channel, and take Instagram photos of their efforts and then, nothing happens. They may have engagement but they don’t see their efforts paying off.
Why? Because they are not turning their online relationships into business potentials. Here are some key thoughts to consider to insure your online efforts are paying off:
For starters, I like to think that my past relationships, especially those I’ve lost touch with, could be potential referral sources. I ask myself the following questions:
• Who have I worked with at some of my past jobs?
• Who was my boss at the time?
• Where are they now?
Then I research my contacts on all my social networking sites. I figure at this point, everyone has a public persona and I should be able to find him or her. I begin with a Google search and typically; it sends me to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Then I reach out via those social networking sites. Nine times out of ten, I get an immediate response. These relationships are great to rekindle because these folks already know how you work – that you’re dedicated, smart and are work savyy – and they become great referral sources for your business.
Social “Cold Calls”
On many of the social networking sites I have a presence on, I also get a lot of random people reaching out to me that I don’t know. Before I friend, follow or join them, I like to vet the people who are following and engaging with me. Who are they? Why are they interested in me? What kinds of synergies are there?
If it makes sense to form a relationship, I make sure to engage with them on a social networking site that we both share and look at their page to see their interests. If we have any similarities, I’ll direct message and talk about a common hobby. Social networking makes this so much easier to do. You can relate to someone almost instantaneously.
After some time of interacting with them on a chosen social networking site, I tend to reach out and see if we can set up a time to meet. In the meantime, I am very conscience about not being salesy and being as genuine as possible. Once they know I don’t want to “sell” them all the time, getting an in-person meeting to take that relationship offline is a much easier feat. And from my experience, very effective. People like to do business with people they like and can relate to. They may have started as a stranger, but with the help of social networking, you have turned that person into a social “friend.” And once you meet face-to-face, that social friend most likely becomes a business connection.
Social Networking Groups
But that’s not all I do to build potential business for my practice. I also join lots of groups on both LinkedIn and Google+ to try to engage and/or create conversation. I recently started a running blog, www.ARunnersDiary.com, and joined various running groups on LinkedIn and Google+. By doing so, I started to engage with various people and develop relationships with the other group members. As a result, many are now guest blogging for me and some have even offered me opportunities to review their products or services on my blog. I tend to then nurture these relationships so that we both can come to a more financially rewarding relationship as well.
In addition to that, at HJMT Public Relations Inc., we utilize our website to garner leads. We have “call to action” buttons throughout the site. These buttons offer readers free e-Papers, videocasts, etc. on various subjects such as, “How to Get Publicity in this Digital World” and “How to Get on Top of the Facebook Newsfeed,” to “How to Use Inbound Marketing to Build Your Business” and “Tips on LinkedIn Success.”
We utilize the social networking sites we participate in to promote these e-Papers, videocasts and e-Books. This helps drive traffic to our website.
Once someone becomes intrigued, they click on the call to action and it takes them to a landing page. Before any information is giving out, it is mandatory that they fill out a form with their contact information. After that, the material is all theirs.
We have it set up on our website that once someone downloads information, their contact information goes into a database where we can further market to them via an email campaign.
To actually close a deal, the experts say that you need to touch your contacts seven times. So what we do at HJMT Public Relations is, we send out individual emails to 50 contacts a week. Each month, we send out 250 and each quarter, we send out an email to 5000 plus contacts. In addition to that, I also reach out personally to try to set up a time to have either a phone conversation or meet for coffee.
However, once I meet with them in person, I make sure to continue our online relationship (or at least I try).
The days of those superficial networking parties where you hand out a million business cards and get a million business cards in return, only to find that you actually met no one, are over. Today, we have an amazing opportunity to cultivate relationships online before we actually meet the contacts in person. So when you do meet them, you already have some commonalities and a budding relationship that you can use to close more business!