You’ve tweeted. You’ve friended. You’ve accepted LinkedIn invitations from people you’ve never heard of, and you still don’t have any business to show for it. No wonder you’re on the fence about the usefulness of social media.
If you were Pepsi, you could tweet a coupon to your 3 million followers and generate sales. But you’re not Pepsi. You’re not even Tab. You’re a service professional. And your clients don’t make their buying decisions based on micro-blogs or hyperlinks.
But as a marketing tool, it’s the most useful invention since the megaphone. Take this blog, for example. I touch almost ten thousand readers with every post. I email the blog to my mail list, I post it to my Facebook page, I post it to LinkedIn, and I tweet it to my Twitter followers. Yes, some posts are read more than others, and some of my “readers” send me to the SPAM folder, but the impact is there. I know this because whenever I attend a networking function, I invariably run into a stranger who tells me they’ve read my blog. New clients often tell me they checked out the blog as part of their due diligence before engaging my firm. And I’ve received countless speaking engagements from readers who have resonated with these posts.
Before social media, if you'd wanted to market yourself to ten thousand people, you would have had to rent a billboard or take out an ad in the local paper or buy airtime on cable television. And there was no guarantee that your target audience would see it. Today, we have highly leveraged forums for targeted marketing. And they’re all free.
So yes, social media may be a waste of sales time. But it’s some of the smartest marketing time you can spend. Use it to develop a following, build your brand, and generate interest in your services. Because when they’ve “heard of you,” they’re much more likely to do business with you.