Why Facebook is Important to Your Business

  • Time: Friday, 06 February 2015 00:00

I could sit and preach to you about the value of social media to your business all day long, but I won 't. I can quote statistics to you, like it took radio 37 years to get 50 million listeners but it took Facebook only 9 months to reach 100,000,000 users, but I won 't bore you. A prospect just asked me What does all that mean to me? . Well, I 'll tell you

People say that Facebook is a phenomenon that has never been seen before. But that is not completely true. Granted the technology of the product is new and unique, but the concept isn 't. At the end of the day, Facebook is a gossip tool, efficient, electronic, and widespread. But it actually performs a social service. People bemoan the loss of personal interaction of our modern day society, but we still interact. It may not be over the clothes lines in the backyards or at the local watering hole after a 12 hour shift like our grandparents did. It may not be at the club or over the water cooler as our parents did. We do it electronically these days. People talk to each other on Facebook, not in contiguous, serial conversations, but in parallel, asynchronous stages. Messages are left, threads are joined, and information is passed back and forth without setting eyes on the other participants. What 's more, these conversations  hang out in cyberspace for some time and get reused and revisited very often by people that were not part of the original conversation. That 's the value of the channel, ideas and comments are no longer fleeting moments that are so quickly lost. Let 's take a look at a real world example and put yourself in the shoes of the business owner. Let 's say you sell jewelry to the newly engaged. A bride comes in with her entourage and they make a purchase. Great, you make some money and the bride is happy. Where does your next sale come from? Probably, it is the result of some marketing effort. Now what happens if you use social media marketing? That bride goes home and writes on her Facebook wall that she just bought your jewelry. Wouldn 't it be great if she became a fan of yours? With the wedding a year after the purchase, wouldn 't it be great if someone at the wedding saw the jewelry, looked at her wall and found your Facebook page? If she went home after the purchase and told all of her friends about it, how many friends would she tell, 5, 10, 15? How many would go out and buy the next day and how many would remember next year? The average Facebook user has 130 friends! When she touts your product, 130 people, on average, hear about it. Those 130 people, in turn, talk with 130 people each (we now have 16,900 people in that second degree network). That means there are 16,900 people who are a heartbeat away from being connected to you when someone hears about their friends are shopping for jewelry. Not only will that, of the original 130 people, most be in a similar demographic group as the original customer. They in turn will also have a similar demographic group.

Now, do you understand why Facebook is so important to your business?

For some more ideas, take a look around my website and give me a call to discuss how I might help you with your business.

Building a Facebook Following

  • Time: Monday, 02 February 2015 00:00

Why do you want a Facebook presence? After all, isn't that just for people with too much time on their hands? Actually, if that's what you think, you probably just don't get it. Don't look at it as a media for kids or entertainment only. The telephone (land line or cell) is used by your kids and for entertainment, but you use it for business. Think about it!

True, your kids are probably a lot more active on Facebook that you are, but they are doing something that your business needs, they are connecting with people that are interested in what they have to say. Now, if you get beyond the silly messages like who called for a date or where someone ate lunch, take a close look at what they are doing. They are connecting with people, without a face to face meeting and sometimes without really knowing who the other person is. They are making friends online through their groups of friends. In business terms, they are building relationships by leveraging existing relationships. In other words, they are networking. When you look at things from that perspective, there are some real marketing opportunities here. Interested? Here are a few ideas on how to get started.

First, you need your own Facebook account. I'm not going to go through the steps to set up your account; Facebook provides plenty of help in this area. Next, take the time to set up a Fan page for your business. It connects to your personal account but lets you post information about your business. After all, isn't this why you are doing this?

Now comes the fun part, finding people to talk to. Notice I didn't say prospecting or lead generation. You are looking for people that are talking about topics that interest you (a learning experience) or give you an opportunity to showcase what you know (educate others). It's not a good idea to push your product or service. One of the fastest ways to turn people off is to tempt them with something interesting and then deliver an advertisement. You are going to spend time here, finding people and talking to them but not selling. You are not at a trade show selling your products or services. Picture yourself at a cocktail party (minus the food and drink) trying to get to know people. Search out the various groups and join the ones you can contribute to. Your goal is not to join a group of people looking to buy from you today but rather groups that have the potential to become clients or will attract prospects. You need to do your homework here. Let's say that you are a real estate agent. One of the groups you might want to join is a group of community minded citizens in your area (assuming the group is interested in the general welfare of the community rather than a civic action group trying to stop the development of a parcel of land). Conversations around what is happening in your village or town will attract potential buyers. By conversing with the others in the group, you will be perceived as a great source of information. Buyers will find you. It takes time and effort but in the end, it's worth it.

What is important to remember here is that your conversation with the group is open to the world to see and hear, in their time and at their choosing. You will be searchable and the conversation remains around for a while. A word of caution about this double edged sword. It can be like making a fool of yourself by dancing around with a lampshade on your head and then finding your picture all over the local newspaper. You can't always control who sees what you said and what they do with it. What you say will always be connected with you. Make sure it is something of value.

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Getting Media Attention Through Social Media

  • Time: Monday, 02 February 2015 00:00

One of the best ways to get attention for your business is to get others to write about your business. While happy customers are great word of mouth networking sources, they don't compare to ratings a respected journalist brings. Compare a mention in a local flyer to an article in a national newspaper. The first is nice to have, the second one makes you money. It's the same on the Internet, get someone respected in the industry to write about you and the search engines will raise your ratings. "Great" you say, "but I don't know any journalists or influencers!" As the old adage goes, not having is no excuse for not getting. Here's a few ideas on how to find and talk to these people.
Before you go out to search the cyberworld, you need to understand a few things. Influencial people will not be very proactive in seaching you out. Few of them, if any, are actively searching for people to write about but most are listening for things, relevant things that their readers will find valuable. They have many people talking to them, so they can afford to be very selective. Now, how do you get them to listen to you? There are two key actions you need to take.
First, go out and find people that are writing about your industry or products right now. You can search Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn for people and group discussions that you can join. You can use sites such as Twitter Grader, Muck Ruck, Journalistic Tweets and others to help point you in the right direction. Spend some time on Technorati and Examiner.com to find blogs and articles on relevant subjects.
Once you have found the right people, you are ready for the step two. Reach out and follow the people you found. This is a journey not a destination. Most of them have a link to Twitter, FaceBook or some other way to stay in touch with them. Get in touch and stay in touch, develop a relationship with them. You will need to impress them with what you know in such a way that they will want to have you as a contact. This means that you will need to give them information of value for their readers. You do this by Tweeting or writing on their wall or commenting on their blog or whatever. Talk about their articles, maybe adding some details they weren't aware of. Tell them how you feel about a topic they wrote about, or suggest a new angle or topic. Remember, they won't listen to an advertisement about your business. Sometimes you might get lucky, the writer may be gathering thoughts and may be searching for material to write about. Here's is your opportunity to show what you know on the subject.
Your goal with all of this is to gain the respect and trust of the writer and not to sell them or their readers something. You don't build trust and relationships with a prospect with ads, you do it by providing them with something of value. When they have a problem or need, they will think of you as a solution provider, not a salesman. Good luck and good hunting!