I’ll admit my opinion of social media has changed pretty dramatically over the past 12 months. What I never could quite figure out was, what was the application for experts marketing their services, or those in the b2b space?
I understood LinkedIn. That made sense. Lots of potential clients are there. But Facebook? Twitter? Come on, I really don’t see senior level people or business owners actually spending much (if any) time there.
But then I discovered that I was looking at the various social media platforms in the wrong way. Sure, it’s true that my prospect may not be active on Twitter, but that misses the point. Once I understood how social media is really being used, it made perfect sense for why we (and you) want to be involved.
Social media performs two important functions. The first, (which is the obvious one) is that it enables participants to communicate among themselves. With the possible exception of LinkedIn, that’s the less important role for experts, consultants, advisors and thought-leaders.
The more important role is how social media functions as a search engine. Sure, people still go to Google to search for things, but increasingly, when clients are seeking answers to their most vexing problems, they turn to social media.
Interesting fact. After Google, guess what the second most powerful search engine is? If you guessed, Bing, you’d be wrong. It’s YouTube.
When clients are trying to discover who the true thought-leaders are in a particular field, they turn to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as the tool for finding who’s at the forefront. Thus, if you’re not visible, you don’t make it on the short list of those who are viewed as experts, it’s increasingly unlikely you’ll be asked to the dance.
Which leads us to a sort of good news/bad news scenario. The good news is that most experts, consultants and advisors still think of social media as a place to primarily interact with others. They haven’t grasped the huge potential social media offers to break out of the pack and become a highly visible. Thus, for those who are aggressive now, there is a huge opportunity to capitalize on this huge benefit of social media, before others jump on the proverbial band wagon. I think this window will only stay open another 12-18 months, which by then it will be common knowledge.
The bad news (which is probably overstating it) is that being visible on social media requires a commitment. The benefit of what you do on Tuesday largely vanishes by Wednesday. In order to make this work, it requires a daily commitment. Our strategy is to send daily messages that drive audiences to the blog posts, which in turn, need to updated on a frequent basis. As much as I wish it was otherwise, this isn’t something that we can “set it up and forget about it.” Which is why anyone who is committed to this strategy should either consider hiring a full time or part time person to manage the process, or consider outsourcing it.
As I said in the beginning, it’s been only recently that my eyes have been opened to the true value of social media. As with anything new, only a very small percentage will take full advantage of the opportunity. However, for those that do, I believe the benefits to the bottom line will be considerable.
So here’s something you may find helpful…if using Social Media as a strategic marketing tool is high on your list of business growth objectives, allow me to offer you a complementary “best-practices” consultation with my two directors of social media. Hollie and Erin. I can guarantee you’ll put down the phone with a greater appreciation for how to leverage social media as a strategic resource.
To set up the call just send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll get it scheduled.
Mark Satterfield, Gentle Rain Marketing — Author , Marketing Consulting Expert, Lead Generation, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, Get More Clients, Social Media Marketing, Increase Revenue — Click here for his Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube