What is your Social Media IQ? If you’re like most people, it’s pretty low. Test yourself and find out! Recently, I conducted a marketing workshop for small business owners and entrepreneurs. It amazed me how little those people knew about the power of the social media to “spread” the word.
We all know about traditional means to market our products. We know about advertising, branding, finding our niche. What we do not yet understand is the power of the social media in all this. Social media give us new tools for doing much of the same thing. This is what Evan Williams said in a recent interview with University of Nebraska journalism students. He said we must figure out what we can offer people that’s valuable instead of trying to get in front of people. He said intrusive advertising as we know it is dying out. How do we figure out what we can offer people that is valuable to them?
How many of you notice the ads on Facebook? How many of you see the billboards leading into your town? If, however, you are looking for a hotel, you read the billboards carefully, right?
People in my workshop wanted to shrug off the social media as the latest fad that will die. With 500 million people now on Facebook, we cannot call social media a fad. It’s a new and revolutionary way to communicate. My workshop participants kept saying, “I don’t get it.” What’s the point of connecting with college and high school friends? What’s the point of it all? The point is to sell without appearing to sell. In reality, how many people will buy from someone they don’t know exists? The social media provide tools for you to get out there, whether in your own community or globally. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others give you a way for people to find you. Here are some tips for using the social media to help you sell without “selling.”
1. The more people you have relationships with the more information you can get for yourself. When your friends tell you about something they like, it’s much better than you having to do your own Google search. According to the WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association), word of mouth is the most honest form of marketing because it builds on people’s natural desire to share their experiences with families, friends and colleagues. As you connect with others on the social media, you learn and become the most knowledgeable. If you create quality content people will want to share your stuff. You share theirs; they share yours.
2. If it were not for Facebook, many of those college and high school friends would disappear into oblivion. You would have lost touch with them and perhaps never thought of them again. You now have an opportunity to stay connected to people. Connections build relationships, which build trust, which builds identity, which builds getting found. You create sustained relationships with people, not simply a fleeting pat on the back. Before long, certain blogs become your favorites and they enter your inbox every day.
3. The more people you connect with, the greater the chances that what you like and what you do will be noticed by others. If you only connect with people you “know,” you’ll lose out. Shih told us in her book, Facebook Era, that people on the social media have many distant connections and a few close ones. She says it’s how we cultivate those distant connections that builds relationships that will eventually pay off.
4. Communication channels are changing. Broadcast communication that broadcasts to lots and lots of people hoping to capture that one person looking for a hotel is dying out. Instead a new term, netcasting, is emerging. By netcasting, you cast your net where you know the fish are. You reach out to your connections, your friends, your followers. The more people in your net, the better your chances, whether you are marketing a product or asking a question.
5. Selling happens discreetly. As you build a relationship and become knowledgeable around a certain product, service or industry, people will come to you. People buy from people they know, like and trust. You become that person. Social media give you an opportunity to build that kind of lasting connection with people. It makes them want to find you and want to hit that purchase button.