It’s time to resurrect our “Bad Excuses” series – actually we only started it last year and I did one so far.  But if some group can launch their “First Annual Greased Pig Catching Contest”, I can launch a series on this blog with good intentions of continuing the series (not so sure the organizing committee of the pigfest really know enough to declare it an annual event).

In December, I shared a post called, “BAD EXCUSE #3: “I Don’t Have Time for Social Media” (click on photo below):

Meeting a client last year, I recall one of his statements that he made that very quickly downplayed the business ROI of social media (I think he was mainly referring to Facebook and “Tweeter” as he called it.  He still considered it a toy, a game, or thing that only young people do when they should be looking for something “productive” to do.  Pretty “old school” in his thought process.  And frankly, a poor excuse for not solidifying his business marketing on a platform of multiple channels, offline AND online.  I guess in his world, “online” means that he’s got a website.  Everything else is just a time-waster.

I admit that one of the reasons I enjoy social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, article marketing  . . . all of these have had this benefit for me) is that I socialize.  I network.  I connect with like-minded people, some non-like-minded people, and have learned a ton by reading THEIR articles, watching THEIR videos and learning from THEM.

Here’s how socializing on social media can lead to traffic to your website and people into your store  . . . and ultimately resulting in real sales:

  1. Friends Influence Friends – particularly evident on Facebook is a powerful word-of-mouth current that I see almost every day.  It starts as simple as “does anyone know a good (________)” or “I’m looking for (________), where do I get it?”  Within minutes, their friends start posting suggestions of their favorite store to pick up that unique gadget, or start referring their friends to their favorite landscape company or hair stylist.  On Facebook, think of the impact when a friend refers their 200 friends to your Facebook Page – and assume that happens with 20 of your friends.  20×200=4000 views – all for free!  I don’t think I have to quote a research study to convince you that referrals from friends carry alot more weight than your ad you place in the local newspaper.
  2. Experience is a Gift – when we go to buy a book on Amazon, almost always we’ll read the reviews first.  Or if we check out a hotel for our anniversary, won’t we at least peek and learn from the experience of previous guests of that establishment?  We check out reviews of restaurants, hotels, plumbers, dentists, mechanics . . . we trust the opinion of others.  And while we SAY that we form our own opinion, we put alot of stock in that business establishment based on what we read about online.  I have clients that can document that they made a new customer (and all the future dollars that has brought them since that customer has repeated with them over 5 years) simply because they checked out the online reviews. The real problem that we don’t want to face is that we don’t know how much money has been lost because an investigating prospect saw a negative online review and clicked away.  It happens, folks – don’t ignore it!
  3. Networking Has Always Been Profitable, Just Do It Online Now – Whether you follow Inc. magazine’s tips on making money on Twitter, you need to realize something simple:  what you are doing at those Chamber events, networking groups and alumni parties is hoping that your networking will lead to a new client.  That’s really why you’re there, isn’t it?  Some of you will say, “oh, no, I do that to network and help others.”  Sure, but you hope nice reciprocity leads to business for you, right?  To garner new leads or to link up with a strategic partner, we attend offline events, drink a few drinks, shake alot of hands and pass out more business cards than we ever do anywhere else.  With social media, think about social networking.  Use Twitter to connect with others in your industry from all over the country to get insights into trends, market research, and the latest product news.  That’ll make your next sale that much easier.  Share links to online articles you compose with friends, partners and clients to demonstrate experience and experience.  You can’t do that at the Chamber event (who wants to carry around a stack of paper articles and pass those out?!)  Use FB to driving people to your Fan Page where they opt-in to your drip marketing campaign of tips, news and information.  Eventually, because you are top-of-mind, they’ll turn into a customer.  Promise!

Those are just a few of the things you can do on social media that I guarantee you will turn into sales for your business.  At a minimum, I believe you’ll see an increase of traffic to your store, to your events and an increased awareness that you exist.  Why?  Because more and more, people are online, using Twitter, watching videos on YouTube and spending inordinate amounts of time on Facebook.  Be where THEY are and start seeing some sales right away!