If your a bit old school like me, then perhaps you haven’t yet embraced the unlimited possibilities of marketing yourself, and your business, through online social networking.
Only a few months ago I succumbed to the hype and to my surprise, today I received business through Facebook. This week I want to share my journey with you and hopefully inspire you to get onboard this online phenomenon, now that I have measurable results testify with. This is just my account of what has worked for me and a few lessons I have learnt along the way.
With a thousand “friends” on Facebook, thousands of “followers” and “retweets” on Twitter, a network in the hundreds of thousands on LinkedIn and a loyal global following of this weekly blog, “Grant Herbert”, “The People Builder” and “People Builders” are steadily becoming well known names in business for the minimal investment of about an hour a week of my time. I had no idea what I started a few short months ago and still don’t really know what I am doing, but with a few simple boundaries Social Networking has become an integral component in my branding strategy.
This has been great for getting my message out to the world of who I am and what is important to me. Being real, relevant and light hearted has allowed me into the hearts and homes of people all around the globe that I may never meet face to face. I don’t play any of the games or do any of the surveys, I just tell people what I am up to on a daily basis and keep in contact with a few like minded people. Only last week someone on Facebook was looking for a business coach in my area and one of my friends saw it and recommended me. They checked me out online, gave me a call and today we started a business relationship together. I don’t even need to go on Facebook to “update my status”. My Twitter site is linked to my Facebook site so with one Tweet I can update several sites. The key to using Facebook, in my opinion, is to use it to brand yourself and develop a profile without “selling” anything.
Twitter is my control panel, so to speak, and the means by which I connect on a daily basis. I have an identity peoplebuilders for my business as well as Dads4Kids_FF for a charity I support and another for a business networking association I have founded in our local area. Each has a different purpose and are used strategically to direct potential inquiry to where it needs to go. How do I do this? I am glad you asked!
I find encouragement, praise, motivation and real life openness is the key to having people show an interest in you. The challenge is to keep them interested long enough to build a trust that says you are more about giving than receiving. Once that happens you will find your daily offerings are being forwarded and retweeted all over the place, exposing you to literally millions of potential future clients and centers of influence. I never try to sell anything and quickly “unfollow” anyone who is running an automated, repetitive campaign aimed at getting me into the latest online business or buy the latest gadget. Treating people with the respect you would want from them is the key to making Twitter work.
Writing a Blog
This has been an invaluable marketing tool for my business to date. It is a way I can get out a message, connect with others, develop strategic alliances and just have some fun. I am amazed at how many people read what I write and connect with me through my blog. Just this week I had a host of a business television show in the USA connect with me through my blog because he loved the content and delivery. I am not currently building a global business but it is certainly a part of my 5 year plan. Who knows what opportunities can come from these connections.
One of my greatest joys came a couple of months ago when a guy who I do not know somehow got connected to me on Facebook and Twitter and then started reading my blog. He wrote to me and thanked me for keeping him going through a rough patch in his life by the things I had been writing. He waited for my next update every day and found it encouraged him to keep going. How powerful is that! Did I plan that, not really, but by following the principle of giving, how many people can we touch in a positive way each day.
LinkedIn is a business networking site that allows you to promote a professional profile, post job advertisements, start niche focus groups and find potential business opportunities, strategically connecting with like businesses and target market segments. This is the one site I need to focus some more time on but even with the little I have done, I have made connections that has given me opportunities to write business.
Search Engine Optimisation
Using Social Networking has given me a huge boost in being found through Google searches on many topics. The more profiles you have, obviously the more chances you will be found. Cross marketing of your social networking sites and adding links to them on your website are simple keys that compound your success.
Whatever you decide to use, be real, be consistent and remember; once you put yourself out there, the whole world is potentially watching you. This can be a good or bad thing – how you use it will be the decider.
Have a great week. You deserve it!
The People Builder