Thursday, January 6, 2011

Think of Social Media as "Networking by Remote Control"

Despite the fact that Facebook recently surpassed Google in number of users, many business people are still reluctant to embrace social media. I believe that, for many, it is simply a case of unfamiliarity and a fear of the unknown. Others dismiss Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels as frivolous. After all, how serious could these tools be if a teenager can use them?

Let me try to frame this in a way that "slow to adapt" business professionals might understand.

Everybody knows that networking is an important part of marketing, particularly for those in professional services or sales occupations. You may not enjoy it, but you attend Chamber of Commerce meetings, participate in monthly lead sharing groups, show up for industry conferences and exhibit at trade shows; all in an attempt to connect with prospects and referral sources. You've probably developed a pretty good "30-second pitch," and always carry plenty of business cards.

Now imagine if you could do your networking from the comfort and safety of your office. If you could connect with colleagues, prospects and those all-important "key influencers" as often as you wanted. And if those connections could spread farther and faster than ever.

That's what social media allows you to do. Take LinkedIn, for example. A profile on LinkedIn is like your 30-second pitch, a brief overview of who you are, what you do, and what you are looking for. With very little effort, in the space of a few hours, you can quickly build a network of known colleagues, which can then spread farther and wider through shared connections. You've just "worked the room" with hundreds, even thousands, of people.

Facebook, Twitter and blogging offer similar possibilities, but with the added benefit of being able to share new and interesting information with your broad network of connections, all at the same time. And if you are smart about it, you'll take advantage of all social media channels and link them together, so that a new blog post instantly finds its way to all your LinkedIn connections.

Inexpensive. Instantaneous. Incredibly effective. What is not to love about social media marketing? Get with the program.

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