What could social media possibly have to do with the economy and your business? Pay attention, because the answer is enormously important. It is the perfect solution to the out-dated, over-priced marketing programs we see in this industry. Why is it perfect? Because it can conducted, very effectively, for free. Considering the state of the economy, free is a good thing.
That said, what does it take for you to start employing social media in your own marketing? In fact, let's not call it "marketing;" let's call it "communication." If you are a producer, you seek to improve your relationships with your target markets, your local communities of influence, and your clients. You seek to impress those people with your credibility (and the fact that you're a terrific person), so they will send their friends to you. How can you accomplish that?
If you are a large firm, you seek to influence your field force and attract and recruit new producers. You want to impress upon them that you are the best solution. How can you accomplish that? If you are a branch manager or regional VP, you seek to motivate and educate your producers or wholesalers. You want to raise the level of your people, and show them that you are the person they can trust. How can you accomplish that?
It's so simple.
Likeability and credibility
These three steps go back to the "Credibility Process" published in the book Axis of Influence
- The fist step is to show that you are safe to deal with, that you won't try to manipulate people.
- The second step is to demonstrate that you are likeable.
- The third step is to demonstrate that your expertise is relevant to whomever you're communicating with. This is the credibility step.
(Note: If you would like a white paper describing this process, contact me using the forum below.)
If you want to spend the least possible amount of money and still be highly effective at reaching your target market(s), doesn't it make sense that you would want to communicate to them all at once, taking them through the three steps mentioned above?
Where would you find a community or group of like-minded people, say all doctors or corporate executives or chiropractors or literally any other professional group? If you say the phone book, you're stuck in the Yellow Ages. They're on the Internet. They're on a Web site called Linked In. They are in specific groups inside Linked In. All you have to do is search for them, join the groups and start gently taking them through the three steps.
Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, it is.
This is called social media marketing (or communicating). The social part is the cluster of like-minded people. The media part is that they are not gathered in a hotel ballroom once a year, they're gathered online every day. The marketing/communicating part is that the people who get the most benefit from this aspect of business are the ones who step forward to post comments and start discussions.
You can find many lists of the various social media sites. They won't really do you much good if you don't know what the most relevant, appropriate and effective places to go are. You've probably heard about Twitter and Facebook. I suggest you do not spend time with either one of them. Go to where the action is -- go where your target markets are right now. That's Linked In. Focus on building your profile and learning how to manage multiple groups. Then, begin to contribute.
If you have the budget for it, hire someone to write your comments and posts. That person absolutely must be a proficient and prolific writer. If you can, hire someone to do that full time. If you would like the psych profile of the best person to hire, contact me using the forum below.
Social media communication is the future of your business. That's not a guess, it's simple fact, because it's effective, accurate and can be done for free. As soon as the industry realizes how powerful social media communication is, it will replace direct mail and newspaper ads. That's a guess, but a safe one.
*For further information, or to contact this author, please leave a comment and your e-mail address in the forum below.