Social networking is a common time trap for many small business owners. Although we recognize the importance of getting out and meeting people and networking, you do have to be mindful of the real purpose of networking – to put you in close or closer proximity to your ideal clients. Don't be discouraged by your lack of social media skills and don't be presumptuous in thinking social media is a cure-all. Here are some important myths to keep in mind when it comes to incorporating social media into your marketing efforts:
- I don’t want my private information out there. Many business owners who are unfamiliar with how to actually use social media are concerned about their personal information being available for all to see. The truth is, you can limit what information you post to your profile. More people do themselves harm, by posting unfiltered comments and photos.
- That’s for kids and “young folk.” Social Media is not a “trend,” it’s a vital and necessary business tool for all businesses. You simply cannot deny the fact that every day technology advances. It allows us to do things quicker, access information and resources in seconds and connect with people from across the world. The truth is, the “young” may simply adapt to the use of technology faster. The longer you take to adapt to the continuous growth of technology and social media, the bigger the gap will be between you and your clients.
- My business doesn’t need it. Regardless of what business you are in, social media has a purpose for EVERY business. It can be used to solicit, engage, communicate, sell, announce, inform, educate, contact, manage, maintain, provide and more. All of which are important to the purpose of a business. You always want to have more clients in your pipeline than you can service and more people interested in your product than you can supply. The truth is, the sole purpose of being in business is to provide a quality product or service that meets the need of a designated target market. To effectively do this, you need to be able to reach your target market from a variety of platforms and that includes social media.
- Posting your product or services will automatically generate clients. Social Media is not a “cure all.” It is a supplement to traditional networking and marketing techniques. You cannot replace personal touch with technology. People buy from people and businesses they trust. To build trust, you have to engage people in dialogue, be accessible and keep the lines of communication open. The truth is, you have to have a strategy to social media. Who are you trying to connect with? How do they want to be communicated with? What are their needs? Where do they look when they need your product or services? Why should they choose your product or services?
- More contacts means more business. Just because you have 100 people following you or connected to you doesn’t mean they need what you are selling. Your product or service needs to be relevant to meeting your target market needs. Having a lot of contacts is merely a means to “spread the word.” The truth is, have more contacts simply provides you with an opportunity to share your information with more people. That’s it. Whether or not they “purchase” from you takes much more and requires a carefully planned strategy.
- Online financial transactions are not safe. We’ve all heard tragic stories of people making online purchases only to be defrauded or have their identity stolen. The truth is, you can take precautions that will dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, the occurrence of fraud or theft. For instance, when you make online purchases, look for trusted symbols like Verisign, Trustee and Better Business Bureau. DO NOT respond directly to emails from your bank, PayPal® or other financial institutions. ALWAYS log-in from the official financial institution’s home page from the search menu or your saved file. Also, carefully examine the return email address. For example: (SPAM) email@example.com (REAL) firstname.lastname@example.org DO NOT use links found in your email, log-in separately online. Spammers have been known to send fraudulent messages wanting you to verify your personal information. NEVER verify personal information for a financial institute online. ALWAYS call the 800# found on your card.
Check out this fascinating video about the reach and effect of social media: Social Media Revolution http://youtu.be/sIFYPQjYhv8
There should be a method and purpose behind your social networking efforts. Know what it is you want to accomplish (i.e. meet a decision maker, meet potential collaborative partners, ask questions for market research, connect with others in your industry, etc.). Your goal should not be to simply hand out 20 business cards.
Need help getting started with simple and easy social media skills that work for YOU? Be sure to check out Micro Business Therapy for additional information and support or ask about a customized Micro Business Plan for social media. Don’t forget… I want to hear from you. Share your comments and questions below! To address your specific concerns, Skype me: amichelleblakeley or email me at email@example.com Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to Simplicity Mastered RSS and never miss a post!
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For over 18 years, Simplicity Mastered™ founder and CEO A. Michelle Blakeley has owned or managed small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Expert in her field, Blakeley personally guides her clients out of their Business Brain Freeze™ to streamline operations, increase return on investment, and attain quantifiable results. Forbes.com and FinancialPost.com each recommended her as one of 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter, joining the experts who know that Blakeley is a master at growing small businesses … and doing it with “Simplicity.”