You have to earn the right to speak into people’s lives; even your customers these days. People have options like never before. You have to take them through the “Know, Like & Trust” process to make a healthy business.
There’s been a lot of talk lately in my circles around whether social media really works for business or not. I have heard the questions being asked. I want my clients asking these tough questions. I want them to understand what they are committing themselves to.
Social media, like any part of business, takes work. Social media is not shake and bake for 15 minutes each day… and you’re done. Social media takes real work and time. You can be smart in how you do your social media. Whether you are a small, medium or large business, social media takes effort. After all, there’s a real customer on the other end. Customers are a privilege, not a right.
The only question you should be asking is this…”Will you be wasting your time with social media?” That depends. You have to ask yourself a few keep questions before you ever start social media:
- Who is going to do social media for the business?
- What will the goals and objectives be when using social media?
- What will success look like if you use social media?
The problem that I believe that is coming forth is this… people have not assessed the road ahead using social media. They really do not know what they really should be doing. Let me try to illuminate the road ahead with a few thoughts.
- Social media is going to take some time to be successful at. It’s going to take time to build momentum; unless you are Justin Beiber. Then it will happen for you over night. You need to have a goal that you are committed to; and head towards it. Everything you do and take on has to fit with that goal. If your goal is not clear, you are going to wander all over the place. What could be a clear goal? How about doing better on Google? That is a clear goal.
- Social media is about people and not numbers. I know that people are impressed with numbers and how many you have. But in business, people count. Every contact and conversation builds on the next. People need to feel valued. You have to create a “Cheers” like environment for your customer…”Where everyone knows your name”. Social media is about saying “Hi”, not because you have to, but because you are having a moment with a friend.
- Social media is about doing the things that others are too lazy to do. That’s why there are top producers in any industry; they keep on going till the job is done. There’s always one more contact to be made before the day is out. Real business owners know the value of hard smart work. Automating your social media too much is a bad thing. It takes the human touch away. Work your social media like you do the rest of your business.
- Social media is in the “Real World”. The skills that you have developed over time do count. The older you are, the more conversations you have had. That counts on social media. You have to be smart in how you conduct yourself. Just because it’s over the Internet, don’t think you can get away with foolishness. Don’t be stupid. Treat others with respect; as you would face to face.
- Don’t always be looking for shortcuts. Now, I am not saying not to work smart. You have to be really smart in how you work now a days. What I am saying is don’t cheapen your customer experience. If a customer reaches out to you, they expect you to answer back; just like on the phone. You have to be there. Remember when everyone thought that the automated phone attendant was a good idea? Many businesses have already switched back to having real people answer the phones. Make sure you count the cost of commitment when you think about using social media for your business.
- Just because you are using social media does not necessarily mean that the cash will roll in. Social media is meant to enhance a good business model. It will help create some visibility for “What” you are already doing. You still need to do the other business things. Social media is meant to enhance, not replace. The lure of quick cash has been the downfall of many a person. You need to work smart.
- There is a process with social media. It’s called “Know, Like and Trust”. First people get exposed to you. Then you create some like. And then you build trust. This trust keeps them on as customers and brings referrals. You create advocates for your business.
- Social media is like marriage. You have to commit to it. Results take time and effort. So does a marriage. It looks bad if you quit either one.
- Don’t try to be a slick salesman on social media. Social media is not really about selling, as I is a means to listen to what your customers wants. Sure, you can ask for business and you should. But social media is tacky when all you do is ask…”Wanna buy something?” You are trying to build trust here. You are trying to help your customers. Don’t try for the fast buck. People will see that you are only out for yourself. That will hurt you.
I hope this has gotten you thinking about what you are doing? If you run your social media in a haphazard kind of way; that’s what you will get for results. If you are smart and run your social media to enhance your hard work, you will see better results.
So what’s our walk-a-way for today? Get some understanding on social media. It will help for the road ahead. Add it to the hard work you are already doing. Get some training if you need it. And don’t forget to ask lots of questions. The people in the social media community are very helpful. After all, you are dealing with real people, right? You have to earn the right to speak into your customer’s life. That takes time and commitment. Prepare yourself for the road ahead.