My recent blog post, ‘Does social media bring you clients?’ resulted in some really interesting discussions within may of my networking groups which was just what I’d hoped for! I was keen for small business owners to see the results of the survey
carried out by eMarketer, http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007956 which showed that more than 70% of the small businesses surveyed are either losing money or at best just breaking even on their investment in social media. I wanted to get people thinking about their marketing strategy and where they spent their time and money on marketing and to see if small business owners were actually monitoring the results of their marketing strategies.
This is something that I find many people fail to do. There are people who throw a lot of time and money against the latest marketing strategies and then just keep their fingers crossed that something works and never monitor where their clients are coming from.
Despite what the survey said and depending on the industry you are in, I do believe that if used correctly, social media can bring you clients and the great comments I received from Anne Ergos of Zest and Zen International confirm this. The reason that these companies in the survey are losing money is because they are using social media as an advertising forum rather than what it was
originally meant for i.e. social networking. Networking is the most efficient and effective way of building leads that will convert to clients. As with all networking, it is all about entering into discussions with people, building a rapport, giving information freely, responding to other peoples information, developing trust, being open and honest and being seen as an expert in your field – this is what will bring you clients and referrals and this is where it does play a part in your overall marketing plan. Although I spend on average between 1 and 2 hours per day on social media, I still believe that nothing can beat talking face to face or over the phone as this is far more personal and will therefore produce the best results.
I think it is important that you consider how much time you are prepared to spend on building relationships through social media. In order to build the best relationships, you have to be prepared to put the time into commenting on other people’s information in order to start a discussion and provide helpful information. It is not about collected a huge list of followers who only want you to follow them in order to boost their numbers rather than ever actually reading your posts. Google Analytics is a great free tool that monitors, amongst other things, how long people stay on your website or blog after clicking onto it so you can tell if you are reaching people who are genuinely interested in your content. Please use your time on your computer efficiently!
I like hearing success stories so please feel free to tell me where social media has worked for you and keep a look out for my ‘top 7 tips of how to use social media as an effective networking tool’ coming soon!