In business circles I often hear complaints about Social Media. "It takes too much energy. It's a waste of time." They often ask, "Have you gotten any jobs through Twitter or LinkedIn?"
Can I point to specific projects my clients have received as a result of Social Networking? Yes, I can.
But like any other form of marketing, it's often impossible to say which spark ignites the fire. "You've heard the expression: "Half my advertising works, I just don't know which half."
The more marketing activity you participate in, the more awareness you create. The more raving fans you inspire, the more product you sell, and the more consulting assignments you receive. It's about being visible. It's that simple.
If a tweet inspires someone to follow a link to an article you've authored or to check out your website, that's a competitive advantage.
They're now on your turf. They've become a willing participant and you're no longer talking into a void. You've engaged them in a dialogue, motivated them to take action. That's a buying signal.
Now that they have bought you, how can you motivate them to take the next step?
And if you are to meet a prospect and take the time to review their personal LinkedIn profile – you've taken an interest in them as a person. Doesn't that give you an advantage in selling to them?
If you pose a question which engenders discussion, you receive valuable information and perhaps leads directly from your customers. Before Social Media you had no way to obtain this insight without expensive market research campaigns.
Like any other form of networking, business follows when you follow through. Getting people to know, like and trust you. Educating them in your area of expertise.
Be creative, individual and strategic in using Social Media. Create a Social Media plan. The money will follow.