The way we make decisions and get advice has changed drastically over the last ten years. These days we are more likely to go online and read reviews then we are to ask a friend or co-worker about a product or service. As we become more connected to the internet, more of our decision making has became internet based.
Since the rise of social media, our circle of influencers has changed. Social media allows us to connect with people who’s opinions we trust and vice-versa, even if we do not have an in-person connection with them. This has not only changed us, it has changed the way businesses need to reach people as well.
Deciding how to handle Social Media in your business is challenging because there is no single undisputed correct way to do it. I have been an early adopter of all social media platforms since I dialed into my first BBS (Bulletin Board System) to read posts about my Apple IIgs in the mid 80’s. Even though every social network has it’s distinguishing differences, the opinions of our friends and those whom we follow are typically the main focus. On Twitter, you can retweet something, on Facebook you can Like pretty much anything and on Google+ you can +1 to show you like something. All of these retweets, likes and +1’s are seen by our friends.
A couple of months ago, I clicked the Like button on a high school friend’s new startup business called KitchenBox. The other night, I get a Facebook email from another friend who asks if I had ever used KitchenBox because he is considering a kitchen remodel for his home. When I posted a photo of my new Fitbit Flex activity tracker wrist band, I received multiple comments back asking me what I thought about it from friends I rarely see in person and a few from people I have never met in person. A couple of times each week, I am asked by someone what I think about a product or service I expressed interest in one way or another on one of my social media profiles. Because I personally have done this, I am certain that there are people who simply observe and make decisions with out taking the time to ask about the product or service first.
The internet put perception on steroids. We used to look at our neighbors and think to ourselves, “they look happy, I need one of those too.” Now we watch our Facebook friends posts and likes and come to similar conclusions multiple times per day.
As a business, this means that you should be connected to these social networks in a way that will allow people to like, share and connect with your business, products and services. Businesses can be more personable online and your business should take the opportunity to do that. Create a Facebook page and post something that your type of customer might find interesting. Use social media to keep your customers or potential customers informed about issues related to your industry. Share photos that your customers post of them using your products. There are so many ways to create “likable” content for people to see on social media with out it taking much of your time.
If a Facebook Like turns into a new client, how much ROI is that over what you would have had to spend on traditional marketing? Not everything you post will turn into new business, but it can lead to new business. It’s all about scattering seeds, which could sprout anywhere. This is the Word of Like. It is not the typical conversation that we used to have but it accomplishes the same thing and it’s much more scalable.
Create content that people can share. Build trust by answering questions publicly on social networks. Showcase what your current customers and clients are doing with your products and services. Constantly look for ways you can be helpful with out being overly self-promoting.
If you are lost when it comes to Facebook, check out this free course I posted last year about Facebook Pages for Business: http://bit.ly/intro-to-facebook-pages