Tuesday April 28, 2009
Social Media and You: Or - How I Doubled my Business in a Year
If you have been watching ABC, or bought shoes from Zappos! lately - then you've been touched by social media. You can't avoid it, don't even try. No doubt you've seen your kids "message", their fingers moving faster than the speed of light? And wasn't that guy who created facebookTM a young whippersnapper of 19 (now an aged 24 year old billionaire)? So one must ask oneself, "Seriously, how could a tool utilized in such crazy, time wasting ways be a useful form of communications?" If you think social media (facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, blogging, YouTube, etc.) is a waste of time, you are not alone.
But wait - there must be something to it when facebook is bigger than some countries (population wise) and worth more than GM and Chrysler put together. When twitter is so popular it grew 1400% just last year. Social media can be an extremely powerful tool. Many very successful businesses have used it to: connect with like minded others, let people know about their gifts, inform audiences of upcoming events, sell product, or just keep better in touch with friends.
So what is this social media thing? In its simplest definition, social media uses online and mobile tools to communicate user generated content. And why is this important? Well, its user driven. That means you, and your potential clients, can drive the conversation. And the result? Connections with people that generate better information, better ideas, more directed sharing and if you are in sales, better leads. We are telling corporations what we want (and your consumers can tell you what they want - saving you time and a lot of money).
What I like the most about social media is that it truly seems to reflect the authenticity and integrity of an individual or a business. Very simply, people who try and use social media in the old style of "sell, sell, sell" become irrelevant and ineffectual in this medium. It is self-policing too, so people trying to abuse the system are often caught out and shut down immediately. Those who operate within social mediums with authenticity, integrity, generosity and relevance begin to attract a large audience. If you have a service or product to sell, or even information to give away, this can be a very good thing indeed!
AS a social media speaker, I often say that social media "creates a false sense of familiarity". But this "false sense" can quickly turn into genuine friendship and powerful strategic business partnerships if you reach out beyond the screen. Social media is its most effective when we reach out via phone or phone to actually connect with those we are connected to online.
Say you have a holistic business. You know your stuff, you've been successful through referral marketing, but would like a little more exposure. Using the combination of blogging, twitter, facebook and some great downloadable e-material you generate, your business could explode into new markets and widen your influence base. If you have something valuable to share, let social media help you do it! Remember Marianne Williamson. Don't be afraid to shine. If you are not afraid to be and reflect your best, you will attract a network or potential clients to you.
Maybe you are contemplating moving somewhere new? Through social media you can reach out and create relationships: business mentors, partnerships, advisors, referrals - and even a clientele base, before you even step foot in your new city.
Do you have an event? Either a local workshop or global webinars or teleseminar? Social media can help widen your circle of influence so that you can touch a lot more hearts, minds and souls!
The ways to utilize social media are practically limitless. I have created "The Ten Be's of Social Media Success". Follow these and you will be successful no matter which platform you choose:
- Be relevant
- Be informative - give information away - a lot
- Be human - create relationships
- Be current
- Be substantial
- Be transparent (be able to back your claims up)
- Be in touch (pick up the phone!)
- Be clear on your brand
- Be clear on your keywords (OPTIMIZE)
- Be prolific
Just don't be pushy and sales-y.
Go ahead, dive in. There is a reason that most of the people who jump into social media stay in. Because it allows them to experience greater success, connection, increased business and simply better relationships.