Did you know that the best way to get new clients is by getting a personal referral?
That’s right. It isn’t some giant billboard on Madison Avenue, a Super Bowl commercial, or even being the top-ranked business for a particular search term on Google – it’s having someone say, “Hey, I know a great _____.” But how do you get those personal referrals?
Word of mouth used to literally be that – friends would tell each other about good experiences over dinner or while talking on the phone and this would lead to an increase in business for companies that really impressed people. Obviously, that kind of thing still happens, but more and more “word of mouth” is referring to what people are “Liking,” “Friending,” “Following,” and posting about on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re not a tech-savvy person, hearing that might scare you a little bit, but it really shouldn’t. Social media sites are an opportunity to reach more people and tear down barriers between customers and companies that can get people more invested in your business and your success. How? Read on!
Immediacy. By having someone dedicated to managing your Twitter or Facebook account full time, you can create an online dialogue with customers in real time and truly make people feel like they are being heard and that your company cares about them. And because Twitter is also a public tool, it’s also possible to publish many of these messages to your entire audience, creating a de-facto FAQ section so that other followers can answer many of their questions on their own time.
Expertise. In the past, much of the written interaction between businesses and customers has been fairly overtly salesy, but that’s the exact wrong way to go on with social media. Instead, the medium gives you the opportunity to set yourself up as an expert who can provide your followers with valuable information that helps them with their questions and maybe ever so slightly points them in the direction of your company and your products. But you should never forget that your goal is to provide information so that people will want to keep listening to you and come to trust you.
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Personalization. Twitter and Facebook are not sales tools – or at least they weren’t initially – so the vast majority of users have no interest in following an account that’s just a way to get people to buy things. The good thing about this is that it allows you to be incredibly creative and throw in some personality on your tweets. People are interested in feeling like their dealing with a human being with real thoughts and opinions, not a company mouthpiece.
Sharing and retweeting. Not only can you use social media to show people your own expertise, you can help to promote the messages of people you follow and those who follow you by sharing and retweeting them. This can earn you lots of brownie points with people, further encouraging them to see you as a regular person as well as share your posts and talk you up to friends.
Get recommended. Coming back full circle, the ultimate breakdown between the personal and professional on social media as far as businesses are concerned is that it allows people to recommend you and even specific products and services of yours by telling their friends about them. The difference is that instead of two people talking about vacuums over coffee, it’s one person telling 500 friends that your vacuum is the best. Even if only two or three people decide to buy based on that recommendation, that’s a great way to build out your business – especially if those people each recommend you to 500 of their friends.