Like it or not, social media is here to stay.
Although, many skeptics marked it as a passing fad when it first appeared, the connectivity and networking opportunities created by social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have forever changed the way we communicate and do business.
For small business owners or service providers, these tools offer significant advantages and disadvantages over traditional methods of marketing, namely in the potential benefits offered by connecting to global communities and, in terms of disadvantages, the absolute necessity to engage in social media due to the “everybody else is doing it – so should I” mentality.
Fortunately, we’ve come up with a few ideas to ensure that you can generate the business leads you desire using social media platforms.
Helpful Hint No. 1: Be Persistent
For many businesses and organizations, social media is strikingly similar to New Year’s Eve resolutions; what starts out as a great plan gets swept under the rug by existing time commitments and responsibilities.
In order for social media to pay off, it has be undertaken on a serious, daily routine.
If you’re a small business owner, the chances are good that you reach out to potential clients on a daily basis anyway.
Advertising your services through a daily Twitter posting or Facebook update won’t be too much of a hassle.
This level of commitment on your part will help to inspire interest and – most importantly – confidence in your clients.
Helpful Hint No. 2: Be Interesting
If you’re using Facebook to help generate business leads, you have at your disposal a wide range of tools, ranging from customizable banners to video uploads.
If you’re smart, you’ll find a creative way to inform and educate your audience using all of these methods.
Although brief status updates can let your customers know you’re still alive, they won’t do much else to excite them.
Pictures and video uploads can catch the eye of new and old audiences and help to educate them about your services.
Helpful Hint No. 3: Be Responsive
If you’re managing a Twitter account, there’s a good chance that, at some point, someone will respond to one of your posts.
When this happens, the best possible thing you can do to convert a casual observer into an active client is to converse with them.
If Twitter is a virtual doorstep, you are the virtual door-to-door salesman.
As soon as your customer opens the door, it’s up to you to make the sale. Customers enjoy feeling a connection with the businesses they frequent.
The more you can do to instill a sense of community in your audience, the more leads you will generate.
Helpful Hint No. 4: Be Honest
There’s a fine line between advertising and propaganda.
If you make overt, bold, over-the-top statements about your products or services, be prepared to defend them.
The extreme “connectedness” of the online marketplace can catalyze your demise if you fail to live up to the expectations you have established.
In order to nurture leads and future growth, set realistic expectations and live up to them. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, both online and offline.
Like any business practice, a commitment to quality and honesty can work miracles over social networking.
If you can forge a positive balance between business practice and business promotion, social media will definitely work in your favor. Sincerity and charm work wonders for generating online leads.
Getting Out There: Generating Leads With Social Media by Freddy Gandarilla Cabrera