Let’s all put away our megaphones and focus on building relationships. Remember that social networks are networks and you are in the networking business. Facebook is a star. It is a bona fide phenomenon that just keeps getting more and more phenomenal. With a recent growth curve that is nearly vertical, Facebook has rocketed into social orbit. Facebook was launched in 2004 and within two years had 12 million users. That’s pretty impressive. But it’s nothing compared to what has happened since. By the end of 2012, Facebook had grown to 1 billion users, an 83-fold increase in just six years! Is it any wonder that network marketers have jumped all over it? It’s free, it’s easy to use and hundreds of millions of people are using it! Unfortunately, the way that most of us in this business use Facebook and the other social media is largely ineffective. In fact, we may even be hurting ourselves. Most of the time, we log on and essentially holler about how great our opportunity is and how awesome our products are. NULL
And, while our opportunity is great and our products are awesome, when we pepper our Facebook page constantly with salesy updates, it just becomes noise. People tune it out. Take a look at the last 10 Facebook updates you made about your products or your business. How many people other than your fellow network marketers responded in some way? Moreover, how many of your last 100 updates brought you a new customer or a new distributor, or even a lead? Probably not many, if any. We need to understand that the social media—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, My Space and myriad others—are networks.
Many of us are members of our local chamber of commerce and other business groups. We wouldn’t go to one of these networking meetings, stand in the middle of the room and read press releases about our business, would we? Yet, that’s essentially what most of us are doing on the social media circuit.
Social media expert Mari Smith teaches her clients to use a strategy she calls relationship marketing. “It needs to be about the relationships,” she says. “We need to genuinely care about people and focus on connecting and building relationships.” And, says Smith, social media just happens to be the perfect venue for relationship building. “It’s an arena whereby a savvy marketer or savvy business person can establish themselves as an expert in health, finances or whatever it is they do,” she says. “As people get to know them better in the online world, they become more inquisitive. It often leads to What is it that you actually do? which leads to the opportunity to go further with them.”
It can be as simple as finding useful tips on the web and passing them along. “Being a quality curator is one of the best uses of social media,” says Smith. “You become a reliable source of quality information within your niche.”
For instance, you might use an inspiring quote, a news item or an amazing statistic in your Facebook status updates or Twitter tweets. Keep it short and to the point. Then, provide a link to your blog or Facebook fan page where you give more information related to the quote, news item or statistic you just referenced. And—this is very important—you should also have information available on your products and business opportunity. “You still do have to put business content in there, a call to action or at least letting people know what you do,” says Smith. “But, you can’t make it 100 percent that. That’s what makes it noise.”
So, fellow networkers, let’s all put away our megaphones and focus on building relationships. Remember that social networks are networks and you are in the networking business.
Use social media to position yourself as a helpful expert, connect to people and develop a throng of followers. In time, they will come to trust you, many will buy from you and some will even join you. (Learn more about using social media and the Internet in the new book, Build Your Team, Build Your Dream, available at http://mynetworkingbook.com)