MANAGED SERVICE PROVIDERS: WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA AND HOW DO I USE IT FOR MY BUSINESS
Because I am asked the questions almost every day, I know the confusion that people have with social media sites and what social media is. What is its purpose? How will it help my business? How do I manage it effectively? I am going to answer those questions for you but first I want to do a little mental exercise. Pretend for a moment you are surfing the recent twitter posts on your page.
While you are sifting through the many that offer irrelevant details of what they had for breakfast, you happen to notice one who has posted what looks to be an interesting article on how to grow tulips for the spring. You immediately are curious since you have wanted to plant tulips for quite some time so you click on it. After reading through the informative article you have a couple questions still and decide to ask the author/tulip expert using the comment form provided at the end of the article. After all, he is the tulip expert?
In the example above you can see just how easy it is to become an “expert” in your field by simply posting an article. This is the idea that “social media” is built upon. Social Media, unlike other forms of marketing, is the process of drawing your audience to you via content that is posted in various forms on the internet. In more traditional forms of marketing the process involves sending material directly to a demographic or individuals with whom fit the criteria. As such, it is viewed as junk mail or an annoying waste of natural resources and usually lands in the garbage. Perhaps the greatest feature of social media is being able to speak your message without it being viewed as a “pitch”, in fact quite the opposite. If you are posting articles about wine on a regular basis, you become a “wine conessiuer” without any additional effort other than simply posting articles about wine.
From these articles you open up and welcome conversation amongst your audience and become a knowledgeable expert in your field. In some ways it is similar to offline sales in that you will share dialogue with them most of the time before they become an actual customer. Social Media will not magically convert your audience into a sale for you although it does happen.
Once they have asked you a question, the hardest part of the sale, (convincing them you are a knowledgeable, trustworthy professional) is done. All that’s left now is your charm and wit to do the work of converting them into a customer. The way I see it, social media is a salespersons dream come true since it could effectively replace their cold calling efforts with article writing. If you’re anything like me, you might prefer eating insects to cold calling.
Now I am going to tell you something that may really surprise you! While writing content has the additional benefit of driving traffic to your site via the link that takes them to your site, It doesn’t have to be your own articles. If that seems totally absurd to you let me give you a hint. It’s more about “who’s talking about it” than “who wrote it” Let’s say for example someone unknown to you posts an article of interest on twitter and after reading what you declare as an informative and well written article, you thank him/her for sharing and make a mental note to keep an eye out for their posts, since you now associate this person as a relevant source of information.
Retweeting as it is known on twitter is sharing other people’s previously tweeted content. Besides Twitter however, it is also a widely used and accepted form of information exchange all over the internet such as the case with news feeds. From this widespread sharing of information we refer to content as “viral”. It is human nature to place someone who is sharing information about a particular subject, as an expert within that field, simply because they are talking about it. The details like, whether or not they actually wrote the article become less important even irrelevant.
Besides Twitter there are literally thousands of content sharing sites that can be affective at spreading your message. While positioning yourself as an expert in your field can be done by sharing other people’s content, actually promoting your own business is better done by posting your own content. A combination of both is a worthwhile consideration.