If you are having difficulty forming relationships in your market that result in new business or increased revenues–with prospects, new clients, and referral partners–social media is not going to save you. Here are two quotes from one of my trusted social media pundits, Alexander Bloom, which affirms everything I believe about this bold, new world:
Social media is not new, it is a new medium.
“Engage. Form Relationships. Share content. Social is the new currency. Social Media is the answer. There has been a fundamental shift in how we communicate.
I’m sick of hearing it. This is not new information. How we communicate now is how great communicators have always worked their trade. Word of Mouth has always been powerful. Social Media may be a new term but the theories and fundamentals are not.
My argument is that excluding the new term, social media is nothing new.” ~ Alexander Bloom
Social media is about business conversions not attraction.
“Ask them what they do. The answer: I engage people, I create relationships, I add a layer of transparency. They may as well talk about ponies, rainbows and unicorns. Now, my friends, is when we run screaming. I can put glass dividers in an office and add transparency. Engaging people is useless without anchoring it to a brand and a business goal.” ~ Alexander Bloom
Here is what you need to take away from the above quotes:
- Know what your specific and measurable business goals are. If one of them is not a specific revenue figure, rethink your goals. One of the advantages of these new media tools is the opportunity to track and measure activity, responses, results, and impact. Leverage these advantages by incorporating a specific and measurable financial objective to your social media strategy. If you don’t, how will you know it is working?
- Identify what is keeping you from meeting those financial goals right now. One of the bigger fallacies or mistaken assumptions about new media marketing is that it will help a business overcome their prospecting or client acquisition challenges. Nothing is further from the truth. New media tools offer the potential to bring people to your door; however, if your process, your product offering, or their experience is not that good, they still won’t buy from you. Fix what is really broken first before you invest in a social media solution.
- If it is more customers, more prospects, more qualified leads (hint: good answer), ask yourself what are some of the tools and tactics you have not deployed or need to change to help you. Simply putting a new coat of paint on the old barn does not make it a new barn. It simply provides a fresh look to an ongoing problem. Many businesses look to social media tools as a simpler, more effective way to avoid doing some of the heavy lifting. News flash–some of the hard work will always need to be done.
- Define what you need to do to be more effective in all aspects of your business development activities. Are you closing real opportunities? Are you getting in front of the right people? Are you effectively focusing on a very specific target? Are you building business relationships or selling relationships? Have you made serious and real business connections? If the answer is no, ask yourself why. Address and fix these issues within your organization first.
- If you are struggling to answer these questions, wake up! Interactive media programs will only potentially introduce you to more people. If you cannot connect, communicate, qualify, and close the ones you have met with so far, what makes you think more is better?
- Ask your social media guru how their services are specifically going to result in more customers and increased revenues. If they can guarantee more revenues, consider hiring them, after they articulate their relationship building and conversion process. Simply being on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and having a blog is NOT a strategy or the answer. Your activities need to be part of a strategic process that builds relationships, translates into trusted connections resulting in increases and improvements in customers and revenues.
Do you know how to engage, follow-up, build trust, establish credibility, and leverage your existing connections to grow your business? If you don’t, interactive digital media programs is not the answer. You have several other fundamental components to focus on first.