I received a call asking me what social media packages I offered to small businesses. Then, I saw a LinkedIn message from someone selling social media packages to small businesses. It got me thinking … there are 2 approaches to using social media for marketing yourself or your business.
Create a Facebook account, a Twitter account and setup or have someone setup a website/blog for you. Hire someone to create and post x number of tweets, updates, etc per week. Join services that promise they will increase your number of fans, friends, followers, connections. Push out messages about your product, service or website/blog. The goal – to get as many followers, fans, connections as possible within a short period of time so you can get them to buy your service/product.
Create a Facebook account, a Twitter account and setup or have someone setup a website/blog of you. Comment on, share and retweet other people’s tweets, updates, blogs, etc. Tell all your real life buddies to follow you, friend you, become a connection and basically carry your relationships onto the web using social media tools. Don’t hire someone to do it for you. They can’t really be you. Learn to do it yourself. Reach out to people you don’t know, but want to get to know and ask them to follow, friend and/or connect with you. Don’t send out messages about your product, service or website/blog on a regular basis. Send out information which might help your network and have online conversations. The goal – to network with your online community of friends and business associates so you can establish and grow your network.
Approach 1 is a LOT easier to do because the whole thing can be automated and anyone can automate your social media activities. Approach 2 is harder and takes more time because although you can automate some social media activities, you really need to be there to have genuine relationships with people.
Both approaches have their pros and cons, but when someone asks me “What social media packages do you have for small businesses?”, I have to respond “I don’t have any packages.”. I think of my social media activities like any live networking event. Oh, I have some pat things that I say to people, but ultimately, I want to have conversations and share information which might be helpful to others. I know that when I show a genuine interest in others, they are more likely to think of me next time they need something or next time a friend of theirs or they want help, support or just a simple question answered. So how does that translate to my bottom line – make money, it doesn’t. That is not my goal. My goal is to have some real business friendships in real life (IRL) and online. I don’t know about you, but I want to do business with my friends and I often refer people to my friends because I know they are great.
Thus, Social Media is not about the numbers. It is about conversations and real relationships with people. Those relationships lead to increased revenue, but it takes a long time and real work just like any other life long relationship. I show my clients how to do what I do to establish those life long relationships for their business, brand and themselves.
First published August 11, 2011