Most small business owners see all the fuss about facebook or twitter and think to themselves... "That's just a time waster, it cant make me money". Well, while it is true that social networking is a time waster, it can also be a very lucrative source of advertizing. In our previous blog post we talked about how explosive social networking has become so we wont rehash it here. Suffice it to say that a vast majority of your past, current, and future clients are on social networking sites somewhere. All you have to do is connect the activity of social networking with the way it makes you money. I think of it as a three step process...
Step 1 - The Cocktail Party
Just like when you attend a cocktail party or other social event, you spend most of the time introducing yourself. After a few words about the weather you move on and so does your conversant. You do this over and over again... this is analogous your social networking efforts on facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc. But remember, just like at a cocktail party, nobody likes to talk to the guy who only trys to sell you stuff. Don't just constantly pitch your company
Step 2 - The Dinner
Every now and again you meet someone a couple of different times at these social events and decide to ask them over to dinner. Its a bit more intimate, definately more personal, and a chance to get to know someone a little bit more. This is your blog. Your blog is a chance for those folks who know you from social networking sites to know you a bit better. Blog about your personal and family life, your dog, your kids, your grandmas cookie recepe... dont be afraid, it is okay if people find out you are the owner of your company and that you are a human being.
If you start looking you will notice that even huge companies such as Exxon or Haliburton have employees who blog, facebook, and tweet as employees of Exxon or Haliburton or whoever. This is because people do business with people, not companies. These larger corporations are tapping into that fact by presenting a more human face to their prospective customers than ever before.
Step 3 - The back porch
If you are anything like me, whenever you have a couple come to dinner at your place, one of the first things that happens is the women shoo the men to the back porch to "mind the grill". That, of course, is code for the women wanna talk without men around. Call me sexist if you will, but women are more social than men. So when this happens we men go stand on the back porch to stare at the grill while holding a beer in complete silence. Of course that eventually leads to the inevitable question "so... what do you do for a living?".
This is your website and ultimately how you generate leads. If folks funnel through your social networking efforts, to your blog, then to your website, you have a chance at making money off of them. Maybe they dont need a website (or whatever service your company provides) right away or ever, but odds are they know someone or lots of people who do and when that someone or people are in a conversation about how hard it is to find a good webmaster these days... well, you can fill in the blanks. We all know that repeat and referral business is the best business there is