You hear the hubbub about how social media is revolutionizing marketing, sales, retail, healthcare, journalism, etc., and you’ve been receiving an uncomfortable amount of needling from your friends and colleagues to connect with them online. So, hesitantly, and ever-so-cautiously, you dip your toe in the water; you succumb to the professional pressure and create a LinkedIn profile. And perhaps – just to prove that you’re not afraid of technology – you even go so far as to register a Twitter handle.
So why, then, having taken such bold steps in the direction of full web disclosure, do you still feel invisible? Your profiles have yet to generate any new business and you’re not even engaging with your existing clients (that is, if they’ve managed to find you out there). At this point you’re wondering with a good deal of frustration, “what am I missing? how does this social media thing work?”
Social media is a fairly easy concept to grasp if you think about it in terms of a social gathering like a cocktail party. The etiquette you adhere to at a cocktail party is the same etiquette you abide by within social media channels: be yourself (casual, witty, interesting) and above all show interest in who you’re talking to (in other words, don’t talk about yourself too much; ask questions instead!). The difference is that your cocktail party is offline.
The truth is social media isn’t a replacement for the marketing and communication efforts you already have going with your company or yourself. People still do business with people and not with profiles. However, Twitter and LinkedIn are two valuable tools you can use to identify and connect with potential partners, customers and vendors, and get you to that ever-important first meeting. You just have to know how to effectively engage your targeted audience using these social media networks.
As highlighted in the following presentation, one must first understand how to engage people on social channels and then the rest is fairly easy.