Socialize Like a Butterfly
What if I told you there was a way for your customers to tell you what they wanted to buy? Would you be interested? Imagine a technological future where consumers had direct access to producers and companies no longer had to run focus groups for various products. The world of tomorrow is here, my friends. Social media can grow your business.
Engage and Listen
This first section is obvious, right? I mean it’s called Social Media for a reason. The problem lies in the fact that people, particularly many business owners, and startups, are becoming less and less social. They see social marketing platforms instead of social media sites. Those profiles that follow your various accounts are not just eyeballs or wallets to exploit. You should be delivering content that doesn’t just sell but engages, entertains, informs, and unifies. Engaging content can be links or native posts to blogs, quotes, memes, videos, podcasts, or pictures of you wearing your new t-shirt design. Give people something to talk about and share. Awareness will spread organically.
Once you get people talking, then you can start listening. Listen to their problems and figure out ways to solve them. That’s what business is, right? Reverse engineering the customer to provide products or services tailored specifically to your customer’s needs is a basic tenant of business. If you know what your current or potential customers want, then you can provide products and services with confidence. You know your end consumer before the concept goes into a pilot.
How do you know what content to post or how to find the right people to target? Most social media platforms have an integrated search function that allows you to search for keywords or popular topics. You can also search for specific demographics or locations.
For example, let’s say you offer plumbing services. Go to Twitter, post a daily plumbing tip, and other content related to plumbing or skilled trades like how-tos and product reviews. If you don’t have a following or need new leads, then search for the top hashtags that pertain to your business such as: #plumber, #skilledtrade, #flood, or #waterdamage and find people looking for a plumber or talking about plumbing. Engage with them by providing helpful advice or encouragement. They may look to hire you only after you have established yourself as a trusted authority.
Follow the influencers in your market. The great thing about a platform like Twitter is that you can follow and interact with anyone. Follow leaders there. Retweet their posts and respond to them. Even if they don’t respond to you, you will get eyes on your content and profile by the other people who follow them, whether it is other influencers, fellow entrepreneurs, or potential customers.
There are also thousands of groups and networks online. These groups (like the PreBoot People group on Facebook) provide a way to connect with others in a more meaningful and intimate way than blasting people via timelines, hashtags and feeds.
Meetups in the Flesh
Social media is not the only place to be social. Your digital actions should translate to real life and to real people. More business deals occur on golf courses, over drinks, in coffee shops, and at dog parks than on a conference call or in an email thread. There is something special about looking someone in the eye, hearing their tone of voice, feeling confidence, and shaking their hand. Don’t believe me? Well, this guest post is because I took my own advice and was social in real life.
I met Eric at the Unpolished Conference at Crossroads in Cincinnati, Ohio. He gave one of the keynotes and was flooded with people after the presentations. At first, I was going to leave after the conference was over. However, despite all the introvert alarms going off inside my head, I stayed. I waited my turn to talk to Eric. I’m glad I did. You’re reading this because I met Eric in the flesh and told him how I enjoyed his talk.
There are great websites like Meetup where you can find other people interested in specific topics or industries in your area. Be social in real life. Who knows, you may get a guest column on a blog with a bigger audience than your own.
Sell Like a Bee
Sales does not have to be a dirty word. Selling is really just trying to connect the right people with the right product or service. Don’t be afraid to ask – just do it well. People do not want to do business with a logo who spams them every two hours, “Buy my book!” “Discounted ebook, get it now!” “Don’t miss out!” No thank you and unfollowed. People do business with people. They are not just doing business with Bernadette’s Butcher Shop and Bakery; they are doing business with you and they want you.
If you network and connect with people the right way, then be fearless in asking for business. As, Gary Vaynerchuk says in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, add value, add value, add value, and then ask for value in return. Too often we get this backwards. We are aggressive and shameless in how we network and market ourselves, but timid when trying to sell, and it drives people away.
In order to be effective, social media has to have two-way communication, like any good conversation. It may be a way for you to tell your followers what you’re selling, but it’s also a way for them to tell you what they will buy. Listen more than you speak and you will not have to worry if a product will sell. You know it will sell because it fulfills a specific need for a real customer. What you know matters less than who you know, because who you know will tell you want you need to know.
So socialize like a butterfly. Be present, engage, add value and most importantly listen. After that sell like a bee. Be to the point, unashamed, and purposeful. But do not get the two mixed up.