Even at this juncture I’m still asked by business managers if social media is helpful. My answer is always an emphatic yes with one caveat, you get out of it what you put in. One of the challenges I face is that as a consultant I only have so much control over the process when I’m helping clients. It’s different when I’m helping myself, I have complete control. When I have the control I need I can generate success. Here are two stories from my own experience that highlight how social media can help your business.
Like many people I use a variety of social tools including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This success story started on Twitter, moved to Facebook and ended on LinkedIn. It would seem that you need to use more than one tool for maximum effect. The end result for me was a small contract to help someone merge two domains without losing ranking. At first I noticed that someone was retweeting some of my posts. I sent a thank you tweet here and there. It continued like that for a while then one day I posted a slightly more personal comment about a rock band that I liked. This generated a response from my follower. We’d been interacting for a while and we clearly shared the same taste in music so I added this follower to my Facebook account. Our post, counter-post continued there until I noticed a plea for help. I offered my assistance and we started working together. The process of landing the gig was very short as we’d already built up trust and a rapport over social media. Subsequent to the conclusion of the work the client posted a recommendation on Linked In further reinforcing the value of social media.
The second success story does not have a sales component but it does demonstrate the ability to use social media to establish credibility and domain expertise. A couple of years ago Garmin decided to launch a service that competed head to head with a small company located in Seattle called Groundspeak. I already had a blog about geocaching and would post to it from time to time. One of my readers tipped me off to the impending launch of Garmin’s new site before it was launched. My site was one of the few that had early knowledge of the launch. I used Linked In to find a contact at Garmin so that I could verify that they were going to launch the site. It was confirmed and I started writing more about it and my audience grew. It was a very hot topic in the geocaching community. I was posting some of the better information which prompted a call from the PR person at Garmin. Credibility generates more credibility and I was soon talking with one of the co-founders of Groundspeak. I wasn’t really looking to sell anything to these companies so there wasn’t a real sales opportunity for me. I was able to leverage the relationships for some help in a related business endeavour.
These are two short success stories that highlight the tangible benefits of social media. You will get out of social media what you put in to it. Remember to be social, interact and share. That’s what it takes to get the most from social media.