Client Relations through Social Networking

It’s incredible how quickly social networking has become so integrated in our lives, but a majority of people do not use it to its full potential.  Using social networking to help grow your business and allow you to be successful is pretty simple and inexpensive compared to other forms of reaching out and advertising.

There are many benefits to using social networking to reach out to current and potential clients.  Since computers and automated systems have taken over a majority of the customer service process within companies, it’s a major benefit to show that you are still a REAL PERSON working with your customers.  Social networking is a superb way to let your clients know that you are a real person and to interact with them.

Interacting with clients through social networking allows them to feel that they are getting quality one-on-one attention.  Psychologically, people want to feel that their needs are being met and they are valued by others around them.  With social networking, you can build those relationships with your clients and are able to show that they are worth your time and energy.

Many people are on Facebook and Twitter (and other social networking sites), so take advantage of that.  Don’t rebuild the wheel; use the networks that already exist.  Inserting your name and your business into a network that already exists and functions successfully will save you a lot of frustration and energy.

Another major advantage is that you are able to just post a status (or even a tweet, which is 160 characters) to reach out to your entire network at once.  A lot of people even have their social networks connected on their phones, so you will be able to reach them at any moment in time, no matter where they are.  With a website, you will have to have someone who understands HTML coding/Wordpress (or something similar) and it takes a lot of time to update every time there is a change.  It doesn’t take much time at all to write a sentence or two and send it to your entire network at once.

There are so many types of social networking and so many ways to use them.  I have already talked about Facebook and Twitter, which are the more popular forms of social networking.  Another way to incorporate social networking is to make a blog page.  You can write articles relating to your business and/or industry that would be beneficial to your potential and current customers.  It is a great way to show up in search engines and spread your name to more people.

You can also link your different social networking outlets to each other, so people are able to just click on a link and go from your Twitter account to your Facebook to your blog to your website, etc.  A blog is a great way to compliment your website.  Websites tend to stay the same because it takes a lot of time and effort to change them.  It is not cost-effective to be changing it on a daily or weekly basis.  Having a blog gives you the opportunity to give a current update on different things you are doing or share your thoughts on particular issues relating to your business/industry.

Since so many people already use social networking, use it to your advantage!  Take the time to initially set up your different outlets and to update them regularly.  Putting in that little extra effort will help to set you apart and allow you to stand out to potential clients.

30 Days to Successful Networking

You have spent a lot of money and energy to advertise your business, but nothing seems to build your client base or reputation within the community!  You want to scream at the top of your lungs from the tallest building or pull your hair out from frustration (or maybe you already have).  The problem with those particular options is that it still won’t build your client base or reputation.  🙂

However, I have a 30 day solution that will help solve those problems, and it only takes a few minutes of your time every day!

You’ll either want to print this out so you can refer to it daily over the next 30 days, or else go through the next 30 days and note each one in your daily schedule.  Either way, just jump in and follow the 30 day plan outlined below, and you’ll be well on your way!

Day 1. Introduce yourself to three new people today.

Day 2. Send an email to two people in your network to keep building that relationship.  Ask about a common interest, their family, etc.  Make sure it’s genuine.

Day 3. Ask a family member or friend about their day, and be genuinely interested and actively listen to their response.

Day 4. Make a list of five things you have to offer others.

Day 5. Listen to someone tell you a story/talk about their day without interrupting or giving advice.  JUST LISTEN!

Day 6. Find two things you have in common with another person.

Day 7. Write down the top ten things you want to gain for yourself/your business through networking.

Day 8. Today, introduce two people to each other (either because of a common interest or you feel there is a benefit to them knowing each other).  Connecting people is a great shortcut to growing your network more quickly, because you soon become known as the person who knows everyone, and who everyone knows! This builds your credibility and authority big time!

Day 9. Smile at five people today.  You can then introduce yourself and begin a conversation, when appropriate. Do it again tomorrow. Make it a habit.

Day 10. Go to a networking event.  Your goal should be to meet and get to know at least three new people.  This allows your network to grow by three (and you gain access to their networks as well).

Day 11. Put seven to ten business cards in your wallet or purse.  It’s a good idea to always carry at least seven business cards with you EVERYWHERE! You never know when you will want to hand one out.

Day 12. Look up one article related to your business every day.  If it would benefit someone else in your network, share it with them as well that day.  This opens the opportunity for them to send you an article that may be very beneficial.

Day 13. When you hand out your business card to at least 3 new people today, hand each of them two or three cards. When they say “Oops, you gave me an extra one (or two)” just smile and say “Yep, you can share that one with a friend who could use it.” 🙂

Day 14. Call three people you know today, chat with them, find out how things are going in their world, and towards the end of the conversation say something along the lines of “I don’t know if you can help me out or not, but who do you know that …” and fill it in with what kind of referrals you’re looking for.

First off, people love to be able to “help you out” and secondly, using the phrase “Who do you know…” rather than “Do you know anyone who…” puts their brain into a different gear. When you say “Do you know anyone who…” their brain searches for an answer quickly, and the answer to the question is either yes or no. Most typically the answer is “No, I don’t know anyone who…”   However, when you say “Who do you know?” their brain goes into a different search mode, looking for the answer to the question “Who?” rather than the immediate Yes vs. No, so they’re more likely to come up with an answer.

Day 15. Today create a calendar of holidays that you want to send out professional greeting cards to your friends and associates. Include at least one different and obscure holiday that would be unexpected.  http://holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/index.htm

Include more than one during the year if that’s your personality. For example, in September there’s “Talk like a Pirate” Day. J Be sure to include any holidays that relate to your business – like Sept 16 is Working Parents Day and January is National Hobby Month and June 4th is Hug Your Cat Day.

Day 16. Today make a plan to mail out 5 Thank You or Gratitude or Thinking of You cards per week.  That’s only one per workday.

People love real mail that’s not bills. It will make you stand out because people don’t receive letters or notes or cards anymore now that email and texting is so prevalent. And it will reposition you at the top of their mind again.

Day 17. On your computer, create a simple card for your obscure holiday(s), or better yet, have your teenager do it for you. 🙂

Day 18. Buy a box of business appropriate cards for the next holiday that’s coming up within the next month or two. Maybe Halloween/Thanksgiving/Valentine’s Day/Easter/Fourth of July/Cinco de Mayo/etc.

When you are preparing your 5 thank you/thinking of you cards per week, go ahead and prepare and address the next upcoming holiday card as well as the obscure holiday. Keep them each in a separate stack. This way, the week before the holiday, you have a stack of cards that you can just stick a stamp on, and mail out.

People will be pleasantly surprised, because they don’t expect to receive a card. They’re impressed that you thought of them, and you stay at the forefront of their mind. This system will set it up so that at least 3 times a year they are getting an unexpected card from you when other people aren’t sending out cards to them. (1st the Thank You/Thinking of You card, 2nd the next upcoming holiday, 3rd the obscure holiday.)

Day 19. Instead of sending Christmas cards, send Thanksgiving cards. They don’t get lost in the pile of other holiday cards that the recipient gets, it stands out, and it comes before any of the others start showing up in December.

Day 20. If it’s too late for Thanksgiving cards, send out Happy New Year’s cards. Again, it’s different; you stand out. It doesn’t come in the sea of other cards…And it impresses them that you took the time and energy and that you’re thinking of them.

Day 21. Start your own group around your interests and business. If you’re a caterer, you could start an “Simple Entertaining at Home” group that meets once or twice a month whereby you talk about easy ways to entertain, have parties or get-togethers, and/or simple entertaining food ideas that make you look like you spent a fortune and slaved away in the kitchen. Since people who entertain a lot are your ideal audience, becoming visible and developing credibility in that circle of people will help build your business and allow you to network with potential clients and give you an instant referral network that can tell people how great you are at what you do.

Day 22. Make a daily/weekly plan.  Write it down!  It only takes 10-15 minutes to write down your plan for the week, but it holds you accountable to get those things done.  Pick one of these tips for each day, and write down which one you are going to do for the week.

Day 23. Write down 5 goals for your business that you want to accomplish by this time next year.  That gives you 365 days to reach those 5 goals.  Pin them to your bulletin board; tape it on your mirror; write them in your planner; keep them where you will see them every day.

Day 24. Take your 5 goals and write down a couple things you can do to reach those goals or use networking to your advantage.  Again, writing it all down helps you put your plan into action!

Day 25. Use 5 new peoples’ names today.  For example, if you run into one of the parents of your kid’s friends, start the conversation with their name.  You meet so many people throughout your day that you may not remember every single person you meet.

Remembering someone’s name shows that you have taken an interest in them.  They will feel like you listen and have paid attention to them, and you will form a stronger networking bond with that individual.

I think it was Dale Carnegie who said something like “The sweetest sound to someone is their own name.”

Day 26. Let another person “win” today.  We have all been in some sort of group setting where the answer to the problem seems so obvious, yet everyone is talking around it.  When they finally get to the answer and decide it’s the best option, they all want to claim that they came up with it.  Let them!  Enjoy the process and know that the end result is what matters.  People will think of you as a great asset to the group rather than the person who just brings negativity.

Day 27. Give someone a “compliment sandwich” today.  Knowing how to give feedback to people you associate with is sometimes very difficult, but it needs to be done.  Whether it is your professional or personal network, here is a great tip to get started.  Start with a compliment, but you must be sincere: “That video that you used really helped to make your point.”  Then, you give the feedback/criticism: “I think you could have been more interactive when speaking to the audience though.”  Finally, you end with another sincere compliment: “Overall, it was obvious that you love sharing your expertise about the topic.”

Day 28. Make a Facebook/Twitter page for your business.  Social networking is a free and easy way to start building a network quickly for your business.  If you already have one, look to see if any information needs to be updated.  All it takes is someone clicking the “Like” button on Facebook or the “Follow” button on Twitter, and you have access to that person.  You can post status updates and tweets about anything.  People are all about the Internet, but Facebook & Twitter are two sites that still allow that personal touch.  It allows people to still feel like they are doing business with another person rather than a computer.

Day 29. Start liking or following other pages.  Choose 5 new pages to like/follow today.  A friend of mine is a photographer, but she is just starting out.  She has “liked” some other local photographers’ pages, and she has gotten some great advice from them.  Also, if one photographer is booked or needs a second photographer to help out with a particular event, my friend has been able to take advantage of those opportunities.  This gives her experience and sample photos to display and build her reputation.

Day 30. Reorder your business cards, because by now, you should have given away nearly all the ones you had. Now’s the time to tweak it and make changes to it to add the oomph and power to your card that will allow it to be more effective for you.

Here is a bonus:

Day 31. Do it all over again for the next 30 days, starting with tip # 1 again!

I guarantee that if you follow this 30 day plan, by the end of a month you’ll have met a ton of new people, but more importantly – a lot of new people will know who you are and what you do.

If you’re ready to turn those everyday conversations into lifelong clients and referral sources, you’ll want to order my “Turn Conversations Into Clients” in-depth training program.  Check it out at

http://abetteryoucoach.com/products-services/c2c/ and see if it resonates with you!

Make it Great!

I’d love for you to leave a comment below sharing your most successful networking tips and stories with us. Can’t wait to hear – Please share!

Why is Networking Important?

While networking is a critical piece of the human experience, understanding why it’s important to you will help you benefit personally and professionally.  Growing your best business by developing your networking skills is vital as well.

So…Why Network?

Networking allows you to build connections with other people when you normally wouldn’t have a reason to know them.  You are able to go out of your comfort zone and meet people and grow your business.

For example, real estate agents rely on networking to grow their business.  Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions that a person will make in their lifetime.  Would you rather buy a house from John Smith on the internet that you know nothing about, or would you rather buy from Stacy Ray that you met at several open houses?  Because Stacy  took the time to step out of her comfort zone and attend those open houses and stayed in contact with you, she has now set herself up to become your first choice when deciding between two real estate agents.  Not only does reaching out and building a network benefit your business, it allows you to grow as a person and become more comfortable in a myriad of situations.

Think about your group of friends… How did you all meet each other?

Chances are that you had a couple friends (We will use Jane and Mandy for the sake of argument) that you knew from work or school or some other activity.  The next time you all got together, you brought a friend, Jane brought a friend, and Mandy brought a friend.  The size of your group of friends just doubled.

Now imagine that your business works that same way.

You have three customers that are very impressed with your services, so they each refer one of their friends to you (which happens all the time).  If all three of those friends become your customers, your client base has just doubled.

Building a network is like building a web that continues to branch out farther and farther when more and more people are involved.  If you have twenty satisfied customers reaching out to their friends and family, there are more possibilities for you to gain more potential customers.

Growing your network is directly linked to growing your business.  Taking the time to build a positive reputation and have satisfied customers (even if it is only just 3 or 4 to begin with) is essential.  Reaching out to people and growing your business through networking allows you to put your name and reputation out there in an unbiased way.  Basically, let your network speak for you!

While your product/service is phenomenal and you are honest and are sincere about everything you say, someone sharing their story about their experience with your business will outweigh what you advertise and tell people about your product/service.  Word of mouth is a lot more powerful than people give it credit for.

Feedback is very important to a business in knowing what needs to be changed or left alone.  Building a network around your business allows you to meet other people who are running a business (whether it is the same product/service as yours or not), potential customers, more referral sources, and people who have experience in your particular area that can benefit your business.  Use other people’s ideas!  After all, two heads (or many heads in this case) are better than one!

What’s your most impactful networking story? Did you get a great client or a chance to make a major impact because you stepped out and showcased yourself, even though it might have been outside of your comfort zone? Tell me about it – I’d love to hear your comments below!

 

Social Media: Marketing Yourself to the Masses

Social media networking sites have become HUGE over the last decade. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google + have gained MILLIONS of users and followers. Virtually everyone over the age of 16 is connected to the world through at least one network or another. As such, social media networking sites have become ESSENTIAL when it comes to marketing a business.      

What is so unique about social networking sites?

Social media has revolutionized the process of marketing your business. The main thing that makes social networking sites stand apart from other internet sites is the clear advantage in numbers. Facebook alone has hundreds of millions of members. These networking sites allow business owners to reach far more people than they could before, and through just ONE site.

Another huge advantage that social media has over other websites and web marketing strategies is that it really allows you to showcase your personality and focus on how you differ from the masses. In a human centric society like ours today, clients want to work with someone that they trust and someone that they feel can understand and relate to them. Social media sites are much more personal and often much less formal than specific business sites. Although both are essential to the success of your business, your social networking profiles should focus more on who you are and what you stand for and your business site should focus more on your services and your business. It is all about creating deeper connections and more credibility.

Social networking sites have many other advantages, including the facts that they are extremely simple to set up, very fast and easy to manage, require only very basic computer knowledge, hold a ton of information and are almost all 100% FREE. There is no other marketing strategy that can boast all of the same benefits. That being said, it is important to realize that social media networking is not the only means that you need to implement in order to create a successful business.

It is just ONE of the MANY important steps in marketing yourself and business.          

Top Four Sites you MUST Join:

Of course I’m never going to tell you that you’re absolutely required to do anything, because it’s your life, your business, your choice…but let’s call it a strong recommendation…

1.  Facebook Facebook is the top social media networking site in the whole World Wide Web at the moment. It has more followers and is visited more often than any other site.

It is unique in that it supports a number of pages and features that other sites don’t. There is an info page that allows you to write a little bit about yourself and introduce your business and vision behind that business. On your main page you can write and post different statuses and post links to pictures or articles that you like. You can add a profile picture and create separate picture albums that best represent you and your business. You can add an unlimited number of friends, and can gain an unlimited number of followers.

Now, you can subscribe to different RSS feeds and follow them through your Facebook page. There is a notes page where you can create posts that pertain to what you are about. Your homepage is complete with a news feed that allows you to view the most recent and most pertinent posts that your friends have made. There are thousands of apps that you can add to your profile. If you do not want to maintain a separate profile for your business, you have the options of creating a group or business page as well.

The options almost seem limitless, and are growing every day. If you are only going to join one social networking site, it should be this one.       

2.  Twitter:Twitter also allows you to create a personal profile complete with a section that introduces you and your life. Rather than collecting friends, your aim is to gain “followers.” These are people who have subscribed to your feed and who have found what you have to say interesting and engaging enough to want to come back on a regular basis.

Twitter is essentially a microblogging service that allows you to make short and frequent posts about whatever you would like in 140 character bursts. It is also extremely popular, and a great way to distribute your thoughts and ideas to the masses. It is less diverse than Facebook, but serves its own purpose very well.

3.  LinkedIn: LinkedIn is unique in that it is a social networking site that focuses specifically on business. Rather than using it for social networking in general, people us it mainly for professional networking.

It is used worldwide and has millions of subscribers. Rather than friends or followers, you maintain contact through “connections.” These are people that you know, invite, or that add you that have interest in your page. It also allows you to create or join interest groups.

You can use it to post or find jobs, people and business opportunities through mutual contacts and recommendations. You can add pictures and view others’ photos. Unlike the above sites, this one focuses less on personal information and should be used to really promote your business and set you apart by highlighting your differences, strengths and specialties. It is another important resource for marketing your business and getting your name out there.

4.  Google Profiles:Google profiles is an important part of Google + and extremely new in the social media network (it was launched in June of 2011). However, it is quickly gaining more and more popularity and members.

One thing unique to Google Profiles is that you can create your own profile, and in doing so you insure that your profile is displayed on the FIRST page of Google search results when someone searches you by first and last name. That in itself is a very strong incentive to become a member.

There are sections specifically designated to introducing yourself, listing your occupation and introducing your business, adding pictures, gaining friends and joining circles, and displaying links to sites that you support or like. You can attach a blog to your page, and/or post articles that you have written. And lastly, you can connect your profile page to other Google offshoots that you use; such as Google Buzz, Google Mail and Google Blogger.

By creating a Google + account, you can join and partake in hangouts (group video chats), use the messenger function that allows you to chat with other members of your circles via SMS like messages, create sparks which allows users identify topics that they are interested in sharing with others, and recommend specific site by clicking on the “+1” button. It is becoming an increasingly important resource for business marketing and is continuously being added to and improved.

Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Marketing:

DO create a profile for at least all five of the most popular social media networking sites. In order to reach the most people possible, it is important to join multiple networking sites. Just joining one will not be nearly as beneficial.

DO update them regularly. If you put the time and effort into creating a profile, and then do not maintain it, you will come off as lazy and as if you do not really care. You need to update each of your profiles on a regular basis. I’d recommend starting off with 30 to 60 minutes a week engaging with people on your social media profiles. If you have more time than that, great. But don’t feel like you have to put priority tasks on the back burner for multiple hours every week just to get your social on. J

DO encourage suggestions and conversation from your followers. By getting to know potential clients and how they think, you will better be able to relate to them and their needs and to use that information to better serve them. Along with that, DO be open to suggestions. Sometimes one of your followers will come up with a brilliant insight. None of us know everything, and getting an outside view or opinion could very well help you improve, especially since it’s easy to get myopic and stuck inside of our own frame.  

DO act professionally and DON’T write about inappropriate things or subjects that do not pertain at all to your business life. Your Facebook statuses should not focus on what you ate for dinner, but should announce business achievements or revelations.   

DO present your readers/followers with your passions and the vision behind what you do.

DON’T discuss controversial topics on your profile. Although it may help some people to relate to you, it will also cause many to discount what you have to say and to never look back

DON’T mix your personal life in with your business life. If you have a personal profile within a social networking site, make sure that it is both separate from your business profile and that your personal profile is private. As much credibility as you can create through a business profile, you can destroy it just as easily if negative elements of your personal life become public. Nobody wants to see pictures of the person that they have entrusted their money and life to drinking or making a fool of themselves. They also do not want to get pulled into personal drama or situations. 

In conclusion, I recommend that you join social networking sites to help improve your visibility and credibility. Just remember why you’re doing it. I promise you won’t regret it. Social Media is such an important and powerful tool to reach huge numbers of people and to gain substantially more clients. 

Tell us about the benefits you’ve seen from using social media. We’d love to get your perspective, and you can leave your comment by clicking the bubble icon on the top right hand side of this post.

Thanks, and make it a great week!

 

Social Media: Share your passion with the world

Social Media is on the rise, and my guess is that it’s going to continue to rise for quite awhile. So why not utilize it to its fullest? Social Networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter aren’t just a place for idle chit chat; these sites are great tools to share your passion with people while at the same time promoting your business.

It’s as easy as 1,2,3! Consider these questions…

What lead you to your passion? – Share it!

Are there ongoing discussions on message boards relating to your passion, gifts, skills and/or experience?  If so, join them. If not, why not start one?

What are you currently doing to share your talents with the world?  –  A simple status update could share this news with everybody.

By actively posting/talking about your passion through social networking sites you can not only build hype on the subject itself, but on your business as well. At a time when businesses are a dime a dozen, customers aren’t just looking for someone with the lowest price, they want to be engaged and they want to know the people they do business with.

By sharing not just your business/products through social networking but also sharing the passion behind it you are more likely to find your IDEAL CLIENTS. Because then your clients are no longer coming to you just for your service, they are coming to you for the relationship you have developed and the passion that translates into better products and better service.

So what are you waiting for? Get online and start sharing your passion today! But remember to stay honest, authentic and promote what you love.

Make it great!

Theresa