Something I discuss quite a bit over on my consulting site is the importance of the conversation when it comes to social media networking.
Let’s look at some definitions:
Networking: a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest
Social: seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious
It’s About the Conversation
What many business owners fail to realize is that networking on Facebook, LinkedIn and other business networking sites, is that these sites are not just a venue to try and sell your wares. At these sites and “networks”, people are sharing information, having discussions, asking for advice — they are having a conversation!
Social media networking is purely and solely about the conversation. Quality conversations take each participant’s time and commitment. It is not about getting as many contacts or “friends” on your list that you do not know and then marketing to them.
If you only post blatantly commercial messages you quickly become a social media spammer. Folks don’t follow or remain “friends” with those who clearly in it only for the money.
Business is About Making Money
Yes, if you are on social media sites you are there to gain exposure for your business. Which then should/could/might translate into more sales/contacts/customers.
However, you need to participate, help, share, encourage and advise. By doing so the chances increase that those in your network will look to you when they need your product or service. You want to use each networking site’s features to your full advantage to add info, note your status, provided updates. That’s what networking (and proper technology use) is about!
Sales Pitchy Hype
In their zeal to get business, many who simply do not know any better yet, begin their sales pitchy “contributions” that do nothing but get them unfollowed/unfriended. Your ongoing habitual hype is of no interest to those who already are inundated with pitches.
The key is to share your experience and expertise then introduce your product or service within those parameters. The best scenario is that your posts and commentary encourage others to ask for more information.
What you don’t do is reply or post to the group in an overly hypey sales pitchy manner. Rather a courteous, concise and brief reply with a link to your site is sufficient. Remember, if anyone in your network wants to know what you do, they can visit your profile which has everything they want to know — including a link to your site.
The most ineffective thing you can do is be a social media spammer. Credibility lost. Concentrate on helping, mentoring and being part of the conversation — and the leads will follow.
Forget words like ‘hard sell’ and ‘soft sell.’ That will only confuse you. Just be sure your advertising is saying something with substance, something that will inform and serve the consumer, and be sure you’re saying it like it’s never been said before.
~ William Bernbach